Yes They Can… But They Don’t Want To…

Some people are poor because they’ve made poor choices. But far more people live in poverty due to systemic issues and/or historical legacy than due to a pattern of financial misbehavior. Most poor people were born into poverty and don’t have the knowledge or resources to escape it – J D Roth, 2018.

I’ve been promising this post for the longest while now but my brain has been too lazy. On the one hand, I want to be detailed because there are those who are determined to invalidate the reality of systemic poverty. Some of those people benefit from it. Others aspire to be included in the 1% and so cling desperately to the constructs which perpetuate the status quo.

Poverty doesn’t need to exist. Anywhere. The main reason for the existence of poverty is greed. Greed breeds corruption and fuels capitalism. There’s a reason why one of the primary characteristics/personality traits of business tycoons and politicians is sociopathy. The behaviours attributed to sociopathy are both the foundation for building success (at all costs) and the reason why these persons should never be put in charge of the well-being of others. It’s a recipe for disaster and it plays out every single day in both our private and public sectors. I’ll try to keep this brief. I’m going to identify the areas of socio-economics, politics and culture that enable systemic poverty and highlight how the powers that be create and maintain inequities in those areas.


This is where it starts and where it eventually cycles back to. Our first interaction with the world outside of our families is usually schooling. Education should be standard and accessible. But it is not. The system should function in such a way that it prepares each of us for life – socially, mentally, emotionally and academically – because until we enter the working world, school is where we spend the bulk of our time and exerts the most influence on our psyche during our formative years. 

But it’s not standard and it certainly isn’t accessible. Ideally, the education system should be designed to identify individual strengths and weaknesses and place us in environments that address those weaknesses while developing the strengths. Students with developmental disabilities, be they academic or physical, should not be forced to participate in schooling where their needs cannot be met in such a way that they benefit fully from the curriculum. The key word is “forced”. Early observation and testing, standard and otherwise, can help to determine the environment in which they will function better, integrate more fully and learn at a comparable, equitous rate. 

Education CAN be standard and accessible. An educated population is an asset to society. It provides a consistent human resource that is trainable, employable, productive and stable. Literacy and numeracy are not just about being able to identify words and numbers on paper. It’s not just about sentence construction. It is about cognitive development, exposure to ideas, the development of deductive reasoning and the capacity to observe, understand, analyze and make decisions. 

So, why isn’t this the format for educating the population…?

Well… It doesn’t serve any purpose to the powers that be. And educated populations means that… 


There are fewer people who you can control with false narratives. There are more people who will have the capacity to read and understand a political manifesto and identify gaps. More people who will ask questions that challenge political tribalism. More people who cannot be manipulated by a meal and a handshake and the empty promises of their political representatives. Politicians would have to construct feasible plans that can stand up to the scrutiny of the masses rather than to the “articulate minority”. They would be required to work and make changes because more people would understand that the changes are in fact possible. They would have to exercise fiscal prudence because more people would understand the numbers being bandied about and realize that the spending does not equate to the changes being observed… And they do NOT want that. It takes money out of their pockets and forces them into a state of accountability and transparency that requires way more work than they intended to put in. 


The owners of the means of production would be mightily displeased. An educated population adds value to all entities both private and public sector. It provides a human resource that generates ideas, contributes to productivity and can increase the bottom line. But at what cost? How then would they justify the minimum wage? How would they get away with salaries that ensure that the majority of the working class lives hand-to-mouth, in fear of losing their job and willing to toe the line, no matter how ridiculous, so they will earn just enough to pay their bills and come to work for one more week, month or fortnight? If they have to pay for added value, it still ultimately detracts from their bottom lines, from their bonuses, from their status… Or does it? 

It actually doesn’t. Revenue can increase such that there is simply more money in the economy overall. More educated employees means more small businesses, more staff that can add value to the organization, higher productivity and consequently, increased revenues. More money in the economy is just that, more money. More money in circulation, more taxes, more things can get done. But it also means that there are fewer people to exploit. Ideally, most companies want to hire a few high level staff, pay them significant amounts of money and keep the bulk of profits for themselves. The lower operating costs are, the more money a few people share at the end of each financial period. This means that there will always be a set of people at the top of the social ladder, simply because they believe that they deserve to be there and other people (usually based on race or skin colour) do not… 


This has always been an important one. Some people need to feel like they are better than others. They will tear down every social intervention program, block every initiative, threaten every government administration in order to ensure that as few people as possible make it up the social ladder. They need to believe that they are special, chosen, favoured. They cannot exist in a society based on equity. And so, an imbalance must be maintained. They construct societies divided by as many differences as possible. It’s hard to exploit your equal. And this exploitation is far from purely professional. It’s also sexual. How does a person extort sexual favours from someone who is financially self-sufficient. Imagine an environment where sex work was legal and sex workers were able to attain the highest level of eduaction possible. 

N.B. Do not argue with me; sex work can be a choice and no it would not suddenly disappear because there are more educated men and women. What would happen is that there would be more regulations and protection for sex workers, increased security for them to operate and greater autonomy for them to exercise their franchise. 

Social exploitation is a joy to many and they are not willing to give it up. They will engage in the most despicable machinations possible in order to ensure that there is a segment of the population who is always available for their “use”. 


I keep seeing people talking about the manner in which our local currency performs against its international and even its regional counterparts. FYI, it’s not as random as you think. It’s perfectly engineered because many of the decision makers in our society engage in business in foreign currency. They invest in foreign currency. They collect revenues (especially rental) in foreign currency. They charge foreign currency for their services. A stable dollar doesn’t benefit them. A fixed dollar, even less. Fluctuations allow them to buy, sell and shift currency in order to maximize their net worth. That’s never going to change. 

There is enough food in the world to feed everybody. But there are countries that would rather destroy than distribute food supplies, even in times of crisis. There is enough money to finance any program that is needed to fund education and social development. There are enough resources to ensure that every person is protected and provided for. But a set of people have decided that they can lay claim to those resources and mete them out according to who they think deserves them and who it benefits them to give those resources to. This is the foundation and the perpetuation of systemic poverty. The control of resources by a few in order to facilitate the exploitation of many. 

There is nothing that we need in this country that cannot be provided. The problem is, there will never be enough people demanding it, Why? Because systemic poverty ensures that the bulk of the working class population is never in a position to revolt and the rest don’t even realize that a change is necessary and possible because they have been denied the opportunity to develop the mental/intellectual acumen required to see the patterns in their situation. Enough people are comfortable (even though that comfort is largely an illusion, as we have seen during this pandemic) and the times in which that comfort is challenged, the focus is always elsewhere. It maintains the status quo by making sure that there are enough uneducated unemployed people to be desperate enough to take menial jobs at minimum wage and enough educated unemployed people always waiting to be hired when the people who take a stand and demand more leave their jobs or get fired. Systemic poverty ensures that there are enough boys and girls who are denied comprehensive sex education to make better family planning decisions. If they don’t understand how their bodies work and they don’t understand or have access to contraception, they will continue to reproduce, have children that they cannot provide an education or a safe, functional environment for and so, they can provide the powers that be with more ignorant voters, more minimum wage earners and more people who don’t see how their lives are being manipulated to maintain the status of a few. 

Until we prioritize, standardize and allow full access to education, nothing will change. Until we take steps to develop the whole person, ensuring that the system is facilitating and supporting the creation of functional, productive members of society, regardless of skin colour or address, then nothing will change. As it is, the focus is on ensuring that the circumstances of the 1% remain intact so they can exercise their social, financial and academic superiority over the rest of us. 


6 thoughts on “Yes They Can… But They Don’t Want To…

  1. Religion is also used to perpetuate the problem, Christianity teaches its followers to work hard and keep their heads down, give away their money because their reward is in heaven and that contraceptives and sex education are of the devil

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes!!! I dig up religion regularly in this blog. All these organized groups are tools of oppression. And it’s not that I don’t appreciate organizations and structure. But never when they are designed to exploit and oppress


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s