The End Of Poverty And All That

It is a widespread assumption that the world’s poor could be fed and watered at a modest cost to the rest of us – the figure of USD 75 billion is bandied about, a tiny fraction of our weapons expenditure – if only we could organise the structures necessary for such a transfer. To which may be objected that the point is not for us to feed the hungry in distant countries, but to create a system in which they could feed themselves; and that this would probably involve our ceasing to do bad things rather than doing good ones.

All this is true; but a cogent objection may also be made from a quite different angle. There is no unified “we” to do any such thing, but only individuals and institutions, some of which might want to feed the hungry and others not. There are indeed rich people who do good, but for every Warren Buffet or Angelina Jolie there is another rich person, and probably a hundred rich people, who would not have the hungry fed even if they could do so merely by snapping their fingers. For most people, part of the satisfaction of being rich is that others are poor; no one can be truly rich if everybody is rich. It is not enough to succeed; others must fail.

Posted on April 12, 2012 at 09:34 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: THE ENSLAVING MAMMAL, "Who Is This 'We', White Man?"

Leave a Reply