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-TW October 15, 2008 01:09 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty
Umm -- unlike sunlight, the money has to come from somewhere.

You're tying to apply the (impossible) napster model to the necessities in life.

What killed napster? -- "The money has to come from somewhere."

Why can't communism work? "The money has to come from somewhere."

I know you say you're not talking about communism -- but really you are, because, it seems you're forgetting, "The money has to come from somewhere."

It's not a zero-sum game, that's true. An economy can EXPAND. But only through more productivity + more transactions.

Money cannot come from 'nothing' or 'nowhere' -- the way sunlight does.

Even producing water takes money, and... "The money has to come from somewhere."

-- TW

Ankesh October 15, 2008 01:32 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty is a good bet. (No personal experience though - but have heard good things.)

Ankesh October 15, 2008 02:08 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty
Ok -- so where can the money / resources come from?

TW - asking how to get it done - even though it brings in unrealistic answers - is better then saying it can't be done. At least for the sake of this conversation. Brainstorming comes before playing devils advocate.

Mark Joyner explains it better than I can:
(I know some folks don't like Joyner - but I personally think he is very smart.)

Ok - lets talk technology:

Japan actually provides free internet to its people. And Japan is certainly not a communist country. Why do the Japanese provide free internet? Because free internet = higher productivity and more money in circulation. And the cost of providing free internet is miniscule.

1. Water: Its almost free in most developed nations. And low cost gadgets are available that can convert water vapour into water - which can be used in developing nations.

2. Electricity: I believe the price of electricity will be next to negligible within the next 20-30 years. Solar power will become very cheap.

Any ideas for food / clothing / shelter?

How much do geodesic homes cost these days? I remember reading something about a company creating houses that cost very little and can be installed within a day or so... but forgot the name...

Ankesh October 15, 2008 02:26 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty
Here is one very weird thought - for the question - where does money come from.

1. Everyone gets free basic necessities.
2. Every child that is born is already indebted to the society for the free necessities.
3. From the money he earns, the Govt gets 10% until his debt has been paid.
4. If something untoward happens and he dies before paying his debt - thats taken as bad debts.

How does that sound for paying for the basic necessities of life for everyone?

Too whacky? Too socialist or something?

-TW October 15, 2008 02:26 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty
How about -- you don't pay sales tax on things you agree to donate to [XYZ charity] when you're done with it -- like coats, shoes, etc. Maybe there's a number to call sewn into the clothes + shoes, for when the time comes.

-TW October 15, 2008 02:46 PM

But, then again...
Not paying the sales tax means THAT sales tax money is NOT going to where it WAS going to before -- "The money has to come from somewhere" strikes again.

PS: wi-fi IS like sunshine in a way -- one of the few things that is (radio is too).

MichaelRoss October 15, 2008 02:53 PM

Re: Define Poverty...

Thanks for Trying to define Poverty.


Poverty = when people can't afford the basic "survival" amenities of life. Roof over their head. Clean water to drink. Food to eat. Ability to pay their medical bills.

Are you talking a Developed nation - or - some third world dung whole full of tribal disputes, class structures which may be denied but which still persists, places run by dictators who live high on the hog at the purposeful expense of its people, places where people breed like rabbits with little to no food to start with and thus only exacerbate the problem.

Define "Roof over their head"
Define "clean water to drink"

And then explain what the hell Medical Bills have to do with a person being in Poverty or not. Because, a person can be earning quite well, live in a nice four bedder, drive a nice car, but have no Savings in the bank or Medical Insurance and a $30k medical bill can bankrupt them. So an ability to pay a medical bill is Not any kind of Necessity of life. And certainly no determination whether someone is in Poverty.

The Abos of Australia are a Classic Example of this Poverty of which you speak. You see, they are given Everything. Free housing. Free schooling. Free medical. Free education. Free money.

You know what they do with it all?

Spend the money on cigarettes, booze and drugs. Rip their homes apart and burn the bits for firewood. Defecate and urinate inside their own dwelling - then complain about the Squalor they live in. Molest their children (something like 80% of their kids under 5 have sexually transmitted diseases). And don't bother going to school to Better Themselves.

But they have a roof over their head, clean water, food and medical taken care of. Would you say they are in Poverty? Because they reckon they are and that they are hard done by.

How about the bloke in England. Threw in his 80,000 quid a year job. Left his wife to move into a Caravan without power or running water. And now makes a few bob here and there by scavenging and beachcombing and selling his finds - such as driftwood - to whomever will buy his wears.

Does he fit your definition of Poverty? No clean water, cant pay his medical bills, has no money really so doesn't know where his next meal is coming from.

Should Ethiopia be helped from the outside while its own Govt stands by and does nothing - for example?

I am sure, going by your definition of Poverty, we could all find ways to be classified as living in Poverty. So what you want to achieve, is not achievable even in theory. Plus, you are trying to prevent a Symptom - a result - of some cause, without addressing the cause.

Richness is whatever you can convince people (and they believe) richness is.

Michael Ross

Ankesh October 15, 2008 03:09 PM

Re: Define Poverty...
Thanks Michael for showing me that I'm no good at creating definitions.

But lets not such technicalities stand in the way of making the world a better place.

The problem I have with poverty is the same problem I have with global warming. It hurts seeing people die - who otherwise shouldn't have.

I mentioned medical bills because of the thought in my mind... no person should die of Malaria just because they can't pay for a vaccine.

Maybe a better question for you is - how to make sure most people meet their peak performances?

Or can you come with better definitions?

Ankesh October 15, 2008 03:22 PM

Re: Define Poverty...

The Abos of Australia are a Classic Example of this Poverty of which you speak. You see, they are given Everything. Free housing. Free schooling. Free medical. Free education. Free money.

You know what they do with it all?

Spend the money on cigarettes, booze and drugs. Rip their homes apart and burn the bits for firewood.

I actually agree that giving special treatment to a group of people doesn't work well.

But - would it matter if the same treatment thats given to Aus Abos is given to *everyone*? Yes a few people would still piss on things. But would it really be unjust if *everyone* gets free food and water? Not just one group of people?

I don't know... would love your thoughts on it.

Steve MacLellan October 15, 2008 04:31 PM

Re: How To Eradicate Poverty

Originally Posted by Ankesh (Post 22659)
Today is Blog Action Day - where a few thousand bloggers will post their thoughts on poverty. (

What do you think needs to be done to eradicate poverty completely from this world? (Or do you think its an impossible task?)

I just build and maintain websites for a living and doubt I could come up with a global solution to stop poverty. I also live in Canada. We define poverty level as a single person who makes under $27,000 per year, or a family of four who live off $42,000 or less.

I see a lot of the world governments injecting billions of dollars into the financial sector to help bail out the banks and other financial institutes... maybe I don't understand.

I'm not sure what the population is in the US (maybe 560 million?) but if they define poverty similar to Canada, why couldn't the government offer a one time $1,000,000.00 to these families but make it a condition that in order to accept it they must receive counseling on their particular situation so they can be best advised how to spend it or invest it. People who don't abide by these stipulations are ineligible for this assistance program.

For example... I know a single mother of two children who works and makes $27,000 a year. By Canadian standards her family is below the poverty level. If she had the chance to stop working and still be able to maintain her families basic needs while she went back to school to learn how to better support her family, she would become a more productive member of society by earning an income she had to pay taxes on. This helps the country out and helps her out. It also gives the kids a better chance, by Mom having the money to round out their education with extracurricular activities that can improve the knowledge and experiences of the young.

OK, well maybe this is a crazy idea and you guys can all shoot some holes in it. But I can't help but think that if you have more families that are better educated with better jobs, the country is going to have more tax money and these people are going to have more money to spend and help reduce inflation.

Our federal election was yesterday. Last week while our prime minister was handing out billions to financial institutions and millions to corporations, they gave everyone on welfare a $4 per month increase.

I'm sure I don't have all the answers -- but there are some things that need fixin'.

Steve MacLellan

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