Poverty isn’t a lack of character; it’s a lack of cash
Dutch historian Rutger Bregman introduced a version of that phrase in his 2017 Ted Talk, and it’s become a go-to mantra for advocates of basic income.
The core idea is that people who have fallen on hard times aren’t in those circumstances because they’ve somehow failed at life, and are therefore undeserving of basic necessities. Often, “falling on hard times” simply means being born into a life of poverty, as is the case for nearly 10% of the world’s population, or 770 million people, who are currently living on less than $1.90 a day.
Even in the US, one in seven children are born poor, and millions of Americans are just one paycheck or one unexpected hospital bill away from poverty. As Williams wrote in the new study’s impact statement, “While the economic impact of homelessness costs everyone, ultimately it is the human cost that is so devastating.”
As Bregman and other proponents argue, any solution to poverty ought to begin by addressing the circumstances in which poverty flourishes — not correcting the character of those experiencing it. Read More