The Nine Muses The Philosophy of the GOOD


The Effects of Poverty on the Understanding

[Note: To better understand this essay, I would advise the reader to read the essay on “What is truth?” before continuing.]

I have talked in the societal essays about the deleterious effects of capitalism on societies and governments such as democracy. In this essay I will discuss the most prevalent effect that capitalism has always produced on all societies which have used this economic system – poverty.

All societies create a union of its members that join them together not only as participants in the survival process, but also as sharers of all the various social institutions that go along with this. In this I mean that members of a society share more than just economic and governmental institutions, but also all the other social institutions societies build: family, moral values, customs, language, knowledge base and even the basic view of life itself. All or at least most of these things we group together under the heading of culture, or civilization. Even further, in the essay “What is truth?” I mentioned that all human meaning is created through the interpretation of the perception by the higher logical layers in the understanding, which creates the basic set of experiences or knowledge base that allows humans to interpret written word, and all other communications from other perceivers in society. Although all humans have perceptions, which are created similarly, the interpretations of these perceptions are filtered through the experiential knowledge base that the particular perceiver has built up over his lifetime. This must be because the human perceiver is locked within his mental world that for him is reality. So the outcome is that all facts even shared facts that are pure sensation are not perceived exactly the same way by different perceivers. In other words our past experiences in life always color our view of things. This is because the connotative part of every thing we perceive is a little different for each individual, since it is based on the perceiver’s own experiential knowledge base.

This is particularly important for a people who share a society and culture. It is of the utmost importance that those who share the society also share the same culture and overall outlook on life, otherwise differences in outlook will split the society at the most elementary level; that of outlook and viewpoint.

In particular the capitalistic economic system we now use has created problems in this very sphere of social unity, society so desperately needs. It accomplishes this through the divisions it creates through the fragmentation of society into various classes according to wealth. The existence of the institution of poverty is the very thing now causing all the developed societies of the world so much trouble. This institution that capitalism creates in all its societies, causes people to be isolated from the rest of society because they are denied the prosperity necessary to fully participate in all the various social functions of societies.

Children of the poor grow up deprived of the needed experiences that will allow them to build the essential knowledge base to function adequately at any social level in society. The overall result is a different viewpoint toward society and toward the moral and social attitudes needed to function in society. This is a deep-seated misinterpretation of society through a loss of the experiential truth sets that the rest of society uses to properly evaluate and judge the world. In effect their understandings are damaged to the point that they grow up with different overall pictures of the societal realities presented. This warped perspective leads to a warped moral system, which creates criminal tendencies, and introverted gang behaviors that we are presently seeing growing ever stronger in the deep inner cities of America and Europe today.

So the economic depravation of poverty has even effects on the overall processes of the understanding itself and leads to a subculture, which creates a whole segregated sub-society within society, with different meanings as to moral and societal functions and their effects. Because the school systems can’t really break this problem by integration into the higher socioeconomic classes, because the cities themselves are becoming the major hotbeds of poverty, these populations become segregated and alienated in their own inner city environments further aggravating the problem of alienation. Together with the breakdown and subsequent scattering of these families, due to the economic conditions, the growth of children who lack parental love causes further anti-social behavior.

Rehabilitation itself is even adversely affected because of the inability of the authorities in society to properly communicate with these people due to the differences in outlook and basic moral values. In effect it is like communicating with people who speak a different language and come from a different culture. The very meanings of words and sentences are changed, and the overall outlook toward life is different.

Further, the large influx of illegal aliens and immigrants who refuse to learn the language of the mother country, or through the poverty they experience, are forced to segregate themselves into alienated communities, allow these communities to create different values and cultures from the mother society, and in time form separate sub-societies. Most of this tendency today in America is due to the continual subjugation of these people, through sub-standard wages, for the benefit of the capitalists. Many of the problems in Europe in the twentieth century were probably at least partially due to this problem of language differences. America, until recently was able to overcome this because of the willingness of the European immigrants to learn the English language. Because of the segregation and discrimination against the large illegal Hispanic population this is not happening, and many of the inner city people are being further segregated through language differences.

As we can see the major ill effects of this stratification of society is the splintering of society into different hostile groups, which if the populations become large enough, and the continuance of poverty further alienates them, will opt out of society altogether, through violence. This is the usual tendency that past history shows. Integration is not only beneficial because of racial motives, but because segregation of large segments of society will eventually lead to the rupture in the bonds that hold all of society together, the customs and mores, or culture.

As I have shown in other essays, all of these affects are due to the capitalistic economic system, which continues to splinter society into classes that differ not only in wealth, but also in ideas, culture and all other social values. The unity of society is the most important factor, which must always outstrip any other factor, if society will not totally disintegrate. It took a civil war to finally end the other most prevalent institution of capitalism – slavery. But that was just an illusion. The institution of poverty that continues to exist in all capitalistic countries today is nothing but the continual existence of this same slavery, but in a more deceitful and even more pernicious form. The continual growth of the gap between the privileged classes and the subservient classes, or the haves and have-nots, shows that this trend in splintering society is growing to dangerous proportions in all developed countries of the world. The institution of poverty is not inevitable or even an institution, but a delusion that our economic system has foisted on us. We delivered ourselves from slavery and racial discrimination, now it is time for all free countries to deliver themselves from poverty and its sister institution charity. This is not a goal of society but the actual purpose of society.

The time for the elimination of socioeconomic class distinction on this earth is here. We must all realize that the function of societies is the provision for the survival and prosperity for all its members equally, not the promise of prosperity for some and the assurance of misery for others. We must understand that there is an intrinsic human dignity and value, which supercedes all other earthly considerations. If we want to ensure the elimination of wars for our coming generations, then we must eliminate the greed, which has become the synonym of freedom in this century. We must reinstate the equitable and responsible freedom of Democracy, and eliminate the license of capitalism. All of our futures depend on this.



Originally Published:

March 14, 2008


January 2, 2014