A question of poverty and inequality 75



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I’ve been told by a reader that I should argue against ‘inequality’ and ‘poverty’ instead of being glad that Australia is a wonderful country to live in.  But I don’t agree…

Unfortunately, the more I think about those words the less I can see an answer to them, much as I would like to see both conditions cured. Especially as my wife and I are trying to exist on just the pension, in rented accommodation, in a small country town, where we live as much as anything because it’s much cheaper to exist here than in a large city like Melbourne. We also have the benefit of good friends here, something which can be a bit of a luxury in the big city!




I don’t believe inequality and poverty can ever be eradicated completely, even in the best of societies, not because of government inefficiencies alone, but as much as anything because we are all different.

This was the vital mistake made by those in power in Russia, China and Cuba, all so-called Communist States, where everyone was supposed to be equal. Unfortunately, as George Orwell said in his rather frightening novel ‘Animal Farm’, “Some are more equal than others!” Sadly this is very true, of all communities, not just the Communist ones.

The point here is that all of us are different. That is the beauty of the human race. Some of us are mathematical geniuses, some are great cooks, some are artists and some are politicians. One way or another, we all possess some sort of skill, though some may be unfortunate enough to never find out what theirs is in a whole lifetime. That skill has a price, depending on the requirements of the society one is living in, so to us here in Australia, a doctor is considered as being of greater value to the community than a nurse. This may or may not be true, but it is the way we assess such things. It’s all a question of supply and demand, in exactly the same way as the price of lettuce going down when every market garden in the country has fields full of them and there is a glut.

The Russians discovered a few years ago that equality cannot work and so Communism died there. China still clings to what it calls Communism, but that’s not really true today. There are very wealthy people in China, and I don’t mean just high-ranking party members; China is now more of a single party state than a Communist one, and they are developing one of the strongest economies in the world. Cuba is still devoutly Communist, and they are among some of the poorest countries in the world.

Sadly, I am afraid inequality is with us to stay, it is the only process that works, simply because we are all unequal, with differing IQ’s, ambitions and family structures. In fact it would be a pretty awful world to live in if we were all the same, there would be nothing for anyone to aim for and it wouldn’t be long before the human race died out completely!

For many of the reasons stated above, I believe we are, to a large extent stuck with poverty too, though this is one of the few areas where a good Government could alter the social structure so that a greater part of the country’s wealth could be guided towards the less well off. The problem here of course, is that the very people who need the extra money most are, for the most part, those who are the least fitted to look after it. Many have no idea about budgeting or proper planning, while others lack the will-power to make their money actually work for them; they enjoy it while they have it and then suffer until some more comes in. Maybe this is one of the areas where education could help. It would be so much more useful to learn through subjects aimed at teaching people how to use their money, instead of lessons in history for instance, a subject unlikely to be of much use to more than an intellectual few.

I’m only a poor old pensioner and I really have no answers, but I still feel a positive attitude is more use than a negative one, especially in a country as good as Australia.

 What do you think?  

Image: Shreyans Bhansali

Brian Lee

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