So Capitalism Is Bad?

November 27, 2015


Coming home from work last night, I heard a preacher tell his congregation that we should be thankful for our finances even when we think there is not much to be thankful for in that area.

He then explained that poverty level in the US is considered making $11,200 dollars a year as an individual.  He also said that if that is what you made you were still in the top 15% of the world’s wealthiest people.

Having spent a year in Thailand, I can testify to real poverty.  A girl working in the rice fields all day at that time would have earned 50 stang (sp?) which was equal to 2.50 cents as a baht had 100 stang.  Little wonder so many women sold themselves as prostitutes for 100 baht or $5 for all night or short time.   Now that the bases have closed they are living off of what they saved or are in deep poverty and pain since they went so long without doing hard manual labor.  Don’t judge them.  If the hard times predicted for the US comes you do not know what you would do to feed your families and maintain life.

Even that is relative, because the cost of things for them is different than for the affluent traveler or perceived wealth of the GI.  I had to explain the difference between USAF stripes and Army stripes because I did not have super baht.  Hence, I learned how to read numbers in Thai so I could see what a Thai would pay for the same item and then we could haggle to a fair price.  Too often we look at a country’s system and compare it to ours and it is not a perfect apple to apple situation.

I have also seen many pictures of people in other countries in worse economic conditions.  I have seen the picture of a vulture near a young girl just waiting for her to die.  That is real poverty.  Our poor are fat and suffer all the diseases of obesity.  People here may not have all they might want, but most have far more than they need.  Are there people suffering here?  Yes, but many of those are doing so because of life choices, not lack of resources.  Many have the resources to get what they need, but instead use them for things they do not need.  Having worked in a rescue mission and a food pantry I can testify to that.  It does get hard to separate the truly needy from the scammers and those who choose to be in poverty.

Our system of welfare does not inspire getting off of it and indeed enables many to choose to stay on it who could get jobs and move on.   If they did that would free up more resources to help those who would work if they could, but cannot.   I think it is great that states are starting to require drug tests or even some requirement to do some work to get food stamps and other aid.  Work is a dirty word for some and so it will not be worth the effort to apply for the benefits.

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10  Note, it does not say he who cannot work, but he that will not work.

When I worked at the food bank, people came in better vehicles I was driving smelling of smoke and alcohol, the latest Iphone, blue tooth, tats and well dressed to get the $40 of food we supplied and to ask for rent and utility assistance.  I suspect many had a large screen TV and cable. We would ask for their income data and most put zero or very low incomes and we were not allowed to verify that income.  Bad policy, that is.

In the Old Testament, God required the owners of the field to let the poor glean the field after the owner harvested it.  They had to come into the field and actually work to get it.  It was not placed in baskets by the road for them to come by and get it or delivered to them.  They had to work and they had to be content with what was in the field.  They could not ask the owner to plant an acre or so of whatever crop they liked.  We had people come to the food bank with a shopping list and asking for name brand items and get upset if we did not have them.  That is not what is normally donated to the bank.  I was raised to be glad I got what I got and to not complain but be grateful.  It appears that has not been taught lately.

So, I guess Capitalism is not so bad. Our poorest are in the top 15% of the world’s wealthy.  They are fat with the corresponding health issues. We have enough resources to provide for the scammers and lazy.  We enable them to be that way rather than vetting them.  People are trying sneak in here, not break out of here.

The irony is that those who are multi-millionaires are condemning the system that got them to that wealth.  They claim to care about the poor but they would change the system that best provides for the poor and do little themselves with their wealth or power to fix the needs.  Instead, they support policies that would keep the poor in poverty and not lift them out it.  Go figure.  Capitalism is not perfect, but it is not the problem.  It’s naysayers are the problem. There is no better system.

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