Rethinking poverty

I have attempted to write this post several times, hoping to reveal some life-changing secret, but tonight, as I reflect on the passing of a friend to cancer, I am reminded of the precious nature of every fleeting moment, every imperfect thought, every … you get the point.  Hear me out, and apply/share as you see fit.

What is at the key to breaking the poverty cycle?  Is it effort, discipline, education, charity?

My less than academic survey of human history finds that poverty and lack of contextual knowledge are closely aligned.  I am careful to assert context is critical.  I think there are many “smart” people who ignore the prevailing winds of their ecosystem, and struggle, simply because the knowledge they have isn’t relevant.

Disclaimer…  I’m not saying being poor is a bad thing.   If however, you are interested in leveraging financial resources to amplify your positive impact on your community and the world, read on…

Because of where you were born/live, you are subject to economic and political systems that support and drive the nation you live in.  The more you know about and are positioned to contribute to the engines of that system, the harder it is to be poor.   You may not like or agree with that system, but it chugs along, with or without you, so learn and engage.

Enough rambling.  Context-aware observations found below:

1.  The most effective way to consistently make money is being involved in the process of helping others make money.  Check out recent data on where money is made in the U.S.

http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/04/25/five-takeaways-from-new-gdp-by-industry-report/

I have a longer list, but I am going to stop myself because this one concept is so loaded with power, it needs to resonate.  Maybe we need a slogan.  “I make money by helping you make money.”

Too often, the mass media magnifies the power of celebrity through sports and entertainment.  Notice how that is approximately 4% of the GDP.   I highlight this single example to show what I mean by contextual awareness.   Think about it 96% of the money made in America does not come from Arts and Entertainment.

If half the money in the U.S. flows through finance, government, manufacturing, and business services, at least half our efforts should be related to equipping those we aspire to help enter those spaces.  We may not be able to open a major bank in every community tomorrow, but we can start scaled, responsible micro-lending institutions.  We may not be able to open another automative manufacturing plant tomorrow, but as the U.S. has become more competitive with China recently, small focused manufacturers can emerge and employ people in communities were manufacturing once thrived.

I should have some clean tidy conclusion right about now, but I don’t.  I’m starting a conversation, hoping to challenge us to inform people who have not always known how large the pie really is to broaden their view and stop fighting over scraps.  There is a better way.

This post is going way longer than I planned…  I’m going to make myself stop.  I will likely revisit this one and revise it soon, but for now, I post.

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