Posted by: nmontague | September 4, 2010

Ending Poverty

I heard a sermon a month or so ago where the speaker mentioned how she was meeting with her local leader and he issued a call to her and her husband to find a way to end poverty in the area. The way that was phrased has had me thinking a lot. It’s a very bold initiative to end poverty. I’ve been pondering how that might be possible.

As a nation, the United States has been in a declared war with poverty since the 1960s and the “Great Society”. Ending poverty isn’t a new concept. It’s been around for countless generations.  Yet, can anyone name a society that has succeeded? Those that have, Enoch’s Zion, Melchesidek’s Salem, and any others have such sparce records that they are regarded by many as myths.

Let’s face it, it’s a difficult task. So how could we, in theory accomplish it?

More government programs?

Ultimately, I don’t think this helps. For some reason, government programs tend to do the exact opposite of what they intend. It’s the nature of government that things get worse. Look at the Great Society. We’ve spent and borrowed Trillions of dollars. Has there really been any success? People remain in poverty. In fact, some might argue they have an incentive to stay in poverty because the government handouts stop coming if they work themselves out.

In fact, Ben Franklin noticed that very thing:

 “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” (On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor (29 November 1766))

Ultimately, I don’t think the governmenet is going to be the solution to the issue of poverty. What could possibly end poverty then?

I think the answer is simple. Simple, but far from easy. If it was easy, it would have been done long ago and would still be done.

Individuals need to step up. Every individual. Every single person on the earth has to do his or her part to help support themselves and then help the people around them.

Simple, right? Definitely, not easy. Is it possible? Yes. Clearly it is. But we have alot of work ahead of us. We can’t outsource our charity. We have to do our part and step up to bless others.

I don’t see any other real solution. We do our part or we don’t.


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