Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the poor and the rich

Suggested Reading for today:  The Source of Their Riches, from SocialistWorker.org's Paul D'Amato.

Why are the poor poor?  Why are the rich rich?
From a Kingdom of God perspective, this should not be.  I'm not suggesting that everyone should have the same amount of money, but I am suggesting that no one should go hungry or thirsty, without clothes or shelter.  Check out Deuteronomy 15.

there should be no poor among you

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
I've heard people use the statement that there will always be poor people as an excuse to do nothing.  Apparently none of them read the rest of the verse.

1 comment:

Chops said...

From an economist's point of view, wealth inequality can originally stem from a variety of sources: lack of desire for wealth, impatience, fear of risk, or just plain uninsured bad luck.

Societal conditions can then aggravate a small amount of inequality; many models lead to feedback mechanisms where the rich get richer and poor get poorer asymptotically.

Personally, poverty doesn't bother me nearly as much as wealth does. People are, after all, born poor. The truly poor are in good company, and are, whatever their faults, close to their ancestors and the "state of nature".

Wealth, on the other hand, is very clearly a human invention. (I would, by the way, count >90% of the U.S. population as 'wealthy'). Wealth brings with it a host of difficult questions and leads to the abstract mindset of Ecclesiastes.

While no requirement that the poor be fed or clothed can arise from nature, a requirement that the wealthy share their abundance may be imposed by scripture or other moral laws.

The tricky part is knowing where to draw the line. Should the wealthy share 10% of their income with the poor? Or all their income above a certain threshold? Or does it matter with whom it is shared as long as it is given away?