How Epicurism can alleviate Poverty

LONDON - OCTOBER 13:  A grim reaper figure hol...

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I just noticed that today is the blog action day for Poverty and I felt the need to participate. Although the people for whom this blog day is about will probably never read it, I’m hoping this post to perhaps give insight and ideas for people who are, or might be struggling with poverty.

Poverty is unfortunately a major problem in the world still. Even with the rise of technology to such a great degree and the amazing enhancements food production has undertaken, millions of people are without the basic things of life. Food and Shelter.

This is, incidentally,  the biggest failing of Capitalism. It is not that we do not have enough food to feed everyone in the world, it’s that we don’t know how to make a profit while doing so. How can you sell food to someone who does not have any money? Thus the invisible hand of the markets wipes itself of any responsibility and leaves the suffering to go unattended or alleviated through charities so that the companies can still make money.

In a our society, poverty is something expected and indeed I would argue, welcomed. You cannot have a perfect capitalist society just because poverty is something necessary. Not only does it force the impoverished people to do the worst jobs for the longest time within an unbreakable cycle, but as George Carlin famously said, it is the perfect tool to keep the middle class in line. What better way to be an obedient little worker, than to see everyday what awaits you if you dare to anger the powers that be?

I can’t really help the people who are impoverished, although I do have some ideas1 but what I can do is explain how all but the worst types of poverty need not be the end of life. The answer lies in what you need to live.

As a social human, most of us require three basic things to have a good life. Food, Shelter and Friendship. The rest is simply extravagance. When one has conditioned itself not to require anything other than these three to be happy it will take only the worst type of poverty to shake the foundations.

Food is generally cheap. Even if you cannot grow your own foo, one can easily find the food that is cheap and filling. When I was living with £100 per month for general & food expenses in London, I went on a diet of noodles and rice. While I not only learned to cook these simple things more interestingly, it also sustained me without ruining my organism as would eating junk-food have achieved.

Shelter is unfortunately at the moment quite expensive. Due to the concept of private property, land that could have very adequately sheltered people if put to use, now is just left unattended as the owner has no benefit in either using it, or letting others use it.

Fortunately, there are options available for the unfortunate ones. In a society who respects itself, there should be shelters for the poor. Not only are these necessary to protect the most unfortunate of us but they are a necessary stepping stone in making people a productive member of society again. It is amazingly difficult to find a job when you haven’t taken a bath for over month. Societies that do not have shelters for the homeless are especially criminal in this regard as they only keep this effect going.
Once someone has even a little money, options could include finding a cheaper place in a more remote area of the country (where the rent must be much cheaper) or along with a few others cohabitate, even if they may be a bit tight. At least that might help in the final necessity

Friends are (or should be) the final need of any human. Fortunately the good ones they are notoriously cheap to come by. Hell, all one needs is a bit of empathy and a non-toxic character and they come gratis. Not only do friends fill the basic social needs of all of us but good friends are the ones who will act as your own personal safety net when poverty is rearing its ugly head.

If one manages to be content with these three basic things, it will take the worst kind of abject poverty to put them down and even then, the way up is easier.

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  1. Which I’ve been consistently told will never work []

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