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nlavezzo 1305 days ago | link | parent

I'm sorry but I can't help but think that my ancestors (5 brothers that came over from Italy with almost nothing) who were poor from the start, had few if any social programs (other than help from other poor people in the community) to rely on, and were openly discriminated against as "Dirty WOPs" in the late 1800's / early 1900's, made it out of poverty and in the process helped make this country great. Generation 1 - low wage factory worker, Generation 2 - post man then small grocery owner, Generation 3 - first college educated one who started a body shop and then a neon sign business, Generation 4 - my dad, partner at a top CPA firm, Generation 5 - successful tech entrepreneur.

It just feels to me that the poor in first world countries have a victim mentality that keeps them from working with the kind of hard determination that not only gets people out of poverty, but builds up the nation in the process.

Do they need more help to develop that work ethic? Probably. Do they need more handouts? I think that is what's keeping them where they are.

neild 1305 days ago | link

Being poor is having the child of a partner at a top CPA firm tell you that you don't need more handouts.


jgwynn2901 1305 days ago | link

I think there's something to not giving handouts. I'd prefer a hand. The strange thing is that we look at the poor as if we are a meritocracy. the general distribution of talent, intelligence and ability is likely to be statistically the same for all classes. And since there are more poor people there should be more success stories. Under a meritocracy there would me more processes in place that reached out to the "underprivileged." But what we see is a war on drugs...


nlavezzo 1305 days ago | link

Sure is. STAYING poor is feeling like a victim of society and wallowing in that instead of taking a series of small steps in the right direction.


numeromancer 1305 days ago | link

<q> Do they need more handouts? I think that is what's keeping them where they are. </q>

Right. And staying where you are is exactly what you want to do when you're almost drowning.


msluyter 1305 days ago | link

There are lots of anecdotes like these, but one factor often overlooked is social capital. That's difficult to measure, but consider the difference between a fairly cohesive and inter-reliant sub-community on the one hand (Italian) vs. one riven by gang warefare and in which high grades may get you branded as "too white," on the other.

Not that that proves anything. Discussions like these are 90% a game of "re-enforce my confirmation bias," imho. Believe people are poor because they make bad moral choices? I'm sure you can find lots of great examples of that. Believe people are poor due to external societal forces? Ditto. A question I'd like to see more of in these types of discussions is "what would falsify my theory of poverty?"


EdiX 1305 days ago | link

I'm glad your family made it but you should realise that it could have gone wrong in a million ways outside of your ancestry's control.


kingofspain 1305 days ago | link

Oh I'm certainly not arguing for more handouts. As an other commenter pointed out, these tend to mainly go on keeping your head above water anyway. For true betterment I agree totally that it's up to that person to make it happen. They just maybe need a bit of help to get started.


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