Societies have never been even in the entirety of the history of the world. That’s not exactly a fun fact but it’s as true fact as there is. In every society, there are people who have more than others and are generally better off than others. We are lucky to live an age with veterans charities, charities for military families, organizations that pick up donations, donation pick up and charitable clothing donations in general. All of these programs help the disadvantaged but they didn’t always exist. For much of history and throughout many different cultures, there were no programs that existed to help the disadvantaged and the poor. Either the society in question didn’t care or it had insufficient resources to help those who needed more. This is all really depressing and it ought to be. It’s certainly no fun to consider all the people who don’t have enough and it can get overwhelming trying to think about what to do. But in that sadness lies the key to helping everyone that you can. Because as much as every society has had people who need that sort of help, there have always been people who have gone out of their way to help even if they didn’t have to. Just because there weren’t organizations who were willing to try and help doesn’t mean there weren’t individuals who were willing to try and help. Just because there weren’t always charities for military families doesn’t mean that there won’t always be. Because, of course, there are now. Put another way, just because a society isn’t perfect doesn’t mean we have to give up trying to perfect the one we have. So let’s take a closer look at poverty, how it starts and what we might be able to do about it.
- How poverty spreads and starts
It’s not always easy to understand how poverty starts and spreads because it’s different for each country. One country, such as the UK or Canada, is going to have a different spread of poverty and inequality than the United States which will be different than Japan or China or anyone else. The key for understanding poverty, then, is less an overall approach than it is to inspect the culture in that country and try to pinpoint some of the specific problems. Of course, there is a general pattern in how poverty is spread through industrialization and the spread of ideas from one place to another but that macro scale is difficult and complicated. As difficult and complicated as the micro approach but in a different way. It requires a look at several countries at once which we do not have. So let’s start by looking at the United States and go from there.
The United States and poverty
So how do the United States and poverty go together? Well that’s not always an easy question to answer. The very first settlers, or some of the very first settlers in the United States, were very poor and landed here with basically nothing. Gradually, as they worked the land and expanded, they took from the natives and rendered them destitute as well. A far cry from charities for military families, obviously, but history isn’t always pretty. Far from it. So from the very start in the United States there is a culture of less give and take and more take and take. There is a belief that taking is good as long as it benefits you or your group. Not specific or pretty, this is true, but that was and is a common belief in the United States. It’s important to understand this, too, because it’s out of this set of beliefs that another set of beliefs began to arise from the people who saw what was being done. It was a reaction to this increasing dehumanization that people formed charities for military families and other general clothing donation charities to combat it. People wanted to form a culture of giving that would counter the people who wanted to do nothing but take away and hoard for themselves. And this spirit lives on to this day and should continue to live on.