Poverty

Last week while searching the many many pirated DVD’s around our house for something interesting, I came across Michael Moore’s movie where he sticks it to the man yet again. While I generally like his movies and agree with him that many corporations are greedy, evil institutions, there is one point that I would like to raise.
Michael Moore only concentrates on the good of America. This came to me when I saw some pictures of “welfare” housing and the occupants complaining that they lived in run down housing and somebody should do something about it. For the first time in my life I looked at them as greedy bastards. The people in question were extremely fat, sitting on nice carpet and it seemed they had plenty of furniture. I also do not doubt that they have air conditioning and cable television.
The problem with rich countries is that the “poor” are always thinking about what they do not have instead of what they do. In other words, people by nature always tend to look up, instead of down. I came to see them as greedy since I now live in Vietnam and “poverty” has taken on a whole new meaning for me. The poorest I’ve seen are people with no housing that sleep in the street and are emancipated as a pole. One step up is a shack made of wood out in the middle of terribly dusty countryside which has no running water at all and the people drink rain water.
So when Michael Moore talks about these evil corporations leaving America and going to another country, it’s something I actually support. Many people in Vietnam have absolutely nothing and if they were lucky enough to get a job in a sweat shop, it is better than the alternative which would be nothing at all. At least in the sweat shop they can earn a living. It’s true these sweat shops don’t pay much, but if they paid too much, then doctors, lawyers and such would leave their professions to go work in the sweat shop and it would create havoc. (Well, maybe no one would miss the lawyers as much.)
But seriously, it upset me to see the “poor” in America complaining so much about their three story “run down” apartments, when most people in the world can barely afford even a shack…..


I explained this to a Vietnamese girl I had dinner with this evening and she was baffled. When she grew up, her family couldn’t even afford shoes and drank rain water. The “poor” in Michael Moores video showed that the poor people’s kids wore Air Jordans and had nice clothing on.
I also didn’t appreciate it when welfare mothers went with Mr. Moore to a greedy governers office and started shouting “We wanna work,” and rambled on during a very loud diatribe. If they want to find work, I’m sure they have much better opportunity in America than in most places and at least the government is giving them something. If the people here in Vietnam got a handout from the government, there would be dancing in the streets.
This does not excuse most corporations from being greedy however. But under a capitalist system such as we have in America, the goal is to make as much money as possible and not make excuses for doing so. I’ve found that humans in general can only be motivated by either money or religion, and as education gets better, then money usually wins out. If Michael Moore really wanted to change things, he should stop attacking these companies individually and try to change the Capitalist system to socialism or possibly communism. Although, again, politicians are also driven by money and I do think it’s better to have at least two parties to fight against each other than only one, since corruption is going to happen anyway, at least two parties create a sort of balance and can keep a sort of check on the corruption.

Author: Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/

2 thoughts on “Poverty”

  1. Actually, I’d say that Moore only concentrates on his agenda – he doesn’t give a damn about the poor or anything else. He is probably one of the worst things to hit this country since, well, Carter (not that I don’t think Carter is a nice guy – he’s got the best intentions out there, however, he just screwed all sorts of things up). Moore doesn’t even make an attempt to see the other side of any arguement or situation. There’s his rather simplistic view (and it appears to be that conservatives are the devil) and there’s the wrong view. It’s this sort of duality that’s causing much of the problems that America’s facing.

  2. hmmm – should’ve read the whole post.
    I’ve got to agree with you – it’s not that hard to get a job here in the States. However, it is harder to get a plush job that doesn’t require much work – which tends to be what folks want. People don’t want to start at the bottom and work they’re way up. They feel entitled to something better.
    As for motivations of money and religion, I’d say that goes back to our instincts and power is the more fundamental drive – more power equals more ability to get food, ensure the propagation of your genes, etc.
    As for socialism and communism, they both tend to have a fundamental flaw – they go against human nature. Personally, I like the end-state of communism – it sounds very utopian and nice for everyone. However, it also tends to remove the desire to get ahead. Capitalism moves right along with that. To break it down to the basic level, a human (or any other animal) desires very few things – they need to be able to survive (basic needs such as water, food, shelter, some measure of safety), they need to be able to ensure their genes are passed along (thus the family unit and drive to mate). Given that basic, humans want to get as much food/water and have the basic safety for their family so they can ensure that their children live past them and continue the cycle. The more material things tend to equal a better chance at this end goal.
    Ex: If I’m living in a subsistence lifestyle, there is a much greater chance that any disruption in the food/water supply will endanger myself and my children. This decreases my chances of survival. If, on the other hand, I’m making good money and living in the USA, I’ve got a much better chance of surviving. In fact, the more money I make, the more successful I am. This gives me a better chance at finding a ‘higher quality’ mate with whom I can reproduce. Thus, this drive to accumulate more ‘things’. This dovetails nicely with capitalism. Socialism and communism remove, to an extent, this ability to better yourself through the normal/traditional channels. Since this goes against human nature, people rebel and fight the system.
    One last point to help illustrate this – consider immigration to the USA (because I believe you’re right in this regards – poor people in a very large portion of the world DO want to work – and would be very happy with any assistance, jobs, etc.). The actual immigrants themselves tend to be very hard-working individuals. They’ll do whatever, take whatever job, etc. – anything to improve their station, provide for their family, etc. Their children, then, as they are raised with this example, tend to be very educated and hard-working, but not quite as hard-working as their parents. This slow degradation of the work ethic continues until you have people who feel entitled to jobs/money/material things, etc. I think this is because, as a generalization, the more you have a child, the less you tend to learn the value of hard work. This conditions you to a life of hand-outs – thusly leading to the conditions that you refer to in your original post.
    Now – enough ranting. Time to scare up some chow.

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