You Can’t Have Everything: Redefining Poverty


English: A German Monopoly board in the middle...

In order to properly address any situation that requires action we must have an accurate diagnosis of the real issue. We traditionally look at poverty through a fairly narrow lens. It typically conjures up images of hunger, lack of proper shelter and the like. If we widen this lens to include all forms of imbalance we can then see the world through a lens that reveals vast amounts of poverty. If we explore imbalance honestly we see some search for more glittery expressions of conspicuous consumption while 16,000 children a day are focused on searching for their last breath before they die of starvation. Both of these are examples of poverty when viewed through a lens that holds poverty as imbalance. Excess wealth is as much an expression of poverty as lack of nourishment.

Real wealth is a matter of bi-directional sharing within the context of real needs. Think about a monopoly game as an analogy to understand the issue, the so-called winner of the monopoly game accumulates all the money and property in the game. What is often overlooked is that the game is killed at the moment a winner is declared. Without a flowing distribution of values throughout the board, the game is over. The fact that many revolutions and political upheavals come on the heels of social inequity is just another example the many expressions of poverty that follow the common theme; imbalance.

The point is we can’t have everything unless of course we’re willing to put it everywhere.

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2 responses to “You Can’t Have Everything: Redefining Poverty

  1. Interesting that we both came up with the analogy of Monopoly around the same time in our blogs. Same analogy, different conclusions. As Bertrant Russel put it nicely in his book “In Praise of Idleness”: Accumulating large amounts of money is like stealing from others. Money should be re-invested wisely, to keep the exchange between humans flowing.

  2. I really enjoyed your perspective as well. Thanks for sharing. – Joe

    http://balancedaction.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/playing-games-to-learn-for-life/ for those reading this later…

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