I've touched on this before, and it really has nothing to do with the big, greedy corporations, or the existing societal power base. I've marvelled in recent years at how evil some segments of our society are made out to be. I could point a finger at the media, some teachers, and people in general. But I think the real culprit here is ignorance, itself, isn't it?
I mean, there are some neighborhoods here in Houston, for example, wherein folks you meet on the sidewalk would be all too happy to agree that their plight is due largely to corporate greed. They're poor, you see, and the corporations don't care. Right up the road is a major international conglomerate, and right here, almost in the shoadow of their skyscraper, people can barely afford to eat.
And there are some awesome blogs, and other sites, that address the issue of poverty. www.mayfairplace.blogspot.com comes to mind. www.tomorrowproject.net touches on poverty, immigration and other social issues. Some tend to focus on the causes of poverty, on whose fault it is, while others try to narrow in on what to do about it.
What do the people in that skyscraper think? I mean, the folks on the top floor, sitting in panelled offices and talking to each other via video-conferencing. What do you suppose they think about the folks down there on the sidewalk, the poor people? Do you think they care?
I really don't. But at the same time, I'm not really sure why they should. I mean, yes, they're fellow human beings, and yet everyone has some responsibility toward the human race as a whole, and I think they would care on that level, sure. But that's not the practical level. On the practical level, how do they see their responsibilities toward society?
Well, one thing I can say for sure, after some years of working around these ivory-tower types. There is no percieved responsibilty whatever, to pull people out of the gutter. Those who succeed, do so by their own volition - and the same is true of those who fail. Societal, and social, responsibility extends to one's family, of course, and to one's employees (but only to the extend that can be legally enforced, which is fair). But certainly not to the wino on the street. But how much of the responsibility is that of the individual? Doesn't each person have a vested interest in his or her own future?
So where do I stand? I'm honestly not sure. What can I expect a corporation to do about the poor folks living in the street? I mean, realistically, who am I to demand that someone else give anything, even if they're rich and "can afford it"? And how much of the difference between how people turn out in the end, right or poor, is due to societal limits? Who can't become rich in the long run? How are people being "held down"?
I believe, though, that if we as a society really wanted to band together as one people, and put a definititve end to poverty once and for all, then we'd have done it a long time ago. I think we're just not interested. Not as a society, anyway. Individually, sure - but that's clearly not enough.
So for me, I guess it comes down to a question of individual response. The poor remain poor. Welfare remains welfare, and their plight remains their plight. What are you and I going to do about it? Giving money doesn't do crap - I'm talking about societal change.
So, you tell me: What's the next step?