Paul’s One Big Question for October 19, 2018

Is “absolute” poverty inevitable in a society?  By “absolute”, I mean that some people are impoverished to the point they do not have all the necessities for life, such as adequate food, clothing, or shelter.

6 thoughts on “Paul’s One Big Question for October 19, 2018”

  1. In our society, the way it is structured, I would say yes. But only because our society encourages the hoarding of resources. If resources are finite, and hoarding allowed, encouraged, promoted and rewarded, then naturally some will do very well, while others are completely shut out…

    In a society where resources are shared, and the “good of all” is encouraged, I think it much less likely to occur. The very nature of such tribalism ensures that every member has their basic needs met, or none do.


  2. Certainly not inevitable, because there are a great many societies in the world where this is a logical impossiblity. Take, for instance, food and shelter. If one lived in a traditional “longhouse” social network in pre-European Northwest US, among peoples such as the Haudenosaunee and Chonnonton, one simply wouldn’t ever be without a home, unless one had committed a very serious crime perhaps, because housing was communal and at scale. The dwellings were enormous, and anyone with an extended family connection had an unchallengeable right to use it under the Haudenosaunee constitution. And as for food, it hung from the rafters of said house, and anyone who shared a bed also shared a cookpot.

    Nor is this strange. Similar “longhouse”-style living arrangements have been used in many societies in the Americas, across the Pacific, and into Asia. I rather enjoyed an episode of Parts Unknown some years back where Bourdain found himself bemused but charmed by the utterly communal way of life practiced by the Iban nation of Borneo. Food was had, for sure.


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