Poverty and Capitalism

I know that there will be those that will point out that there are those in poverty that take advantage of the system; or that for whatever reason they deserve to be there.  But, unless we’ve been in their shoes, we don’t really know what causes this or what their mentality is.  We say we give everyone the chance to succeed, but is that true?  Let’s not take an extreme attitude on this – yes, there is corruption and loopholes, and  yes, there are those that are invalids or in positions where they cannot take care of themselves at all.  Then, there’s the remaining majority that most likely need our help, too.


Poverty still persists today because we have lost the moral perspective as the polestar of public policy. Instead we follow the law of the jungle, content to abandon the poor to their own devices, demanding that they marshal resources they simply do not possess. And the reason we have moved in this direction, drifting away from the high ideals of the Great Society era, is because the vision and values of corporate capitalism have gained ascendency over those of human solidarity and mutual responsibility. To eliminate poverty, this trend must be reversed. The individualistic vision must give way to one that stresses our essential unity; competition must be balanced by mutual assistance and respect.

– Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, “The Price of Dignity”

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