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Why do we NOT invest effectively in the poor and marginalized so they can participate in the global economy?

Nearly half of the world's population cannot effectively participate or contribute to the global economy. Basic economic theory holds that each 'participant' in the economy is a 'unit of productivity' providing a return on investment. In other words, it's more profitable to have people working and consuming than not. Yet nations continue to allow and accept that the poor and marginalized are - to borrow from another popular phrase - 'too big to succeed'.

In my view, the (relatively) small investment in infrastructure, education, and basic healthcare in the poor and marginalized will be more than made up by their increased productivity and spending. The rich think they're rich now, just imagine the wealth created by having 3 billion more people buying their stuff? I know there are obvious problems with this: corruption, unified effort, immediate ROI, etc. - but why is this such a 'tough sell' to national leadership? They're always looking for ways to increase the tax base.

3+ billion people now contribute to the world gross productivity. What if that were doubled? To me, this is the next threshold of economic growth -bringing in those who have been left out. Yet, we don't even talk about it. What do you think?

Topics: economics society

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    Nov 2 2012: I think there is a limiting factor in all things. If the ranks of the poor swell to unmanageable proportions, then the rich will find a way to reduce their numbers. When fuel was cheap and industry young and strong it was easy to do by starting a war. Now, wars cost money and few nations can afford them. War is becoming unfashionable as it becomes unaffordable, so to speak.

    If the ruling class can develop methods of preventing the poor resorting to crime to increase their lot, we would expect to see a decrease in crimes of theft, muggins, etc. even as the number of poor increase. This is exactly what we are seeing. The controlling class is utilizing the products of technology to deter crime and it is working. The more violent crimes, where people give up and explode, are increasing. This is a testament to the effectiveness of preventing lesser crimes.

    It's hard to judge, really. Humans are can become self-reliant pretty fast and they can organize easily if they are hungry enough. They can take simple tools and use them to their advantage. I've seen this in the way the Occupy movement dealt with the issue of lack of cell phones, cell towers being shut down and laws against load speakers being enforced.

    We can be sure of one thing. People will not simply sit around and watch each other die of hunger or disease. They will revolt. How the ruling class deals with this when it happens will be the guiding principle behind how the war between the rulers and the poor will unfold.

    As long as we are divided into camps of the haves and have nots, there will always be a revolution. What amazes me is that this can happen in our modern times. We expect to see this sort of thing when reading history about kings and queens and peasants, but to see it growing here in our modern times is amazing.
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      R H 20+

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      Nov 2 2012: Thanks John for responding. I too believe in incentive-based motivation as the most formidable. People will do what it takes for their own self-interests. This, to me, is what makes for effective change and improvement. Change the incentives and you change the results. In my opinion, the costs of NOT investing in the poor and marginalized (crime and the required judicial system investment, lack of productivity on a massive scale, multitudes of humanitarian relief and welfare, etc) have come to far outweigh the investment necessary to equalize opportunity (education, basic healthcare, basic infrastructure, etc). We seem to, and your examples point out, that we respond to adversity only to the point of an 'equilibrium', but never get to the point of evolution. Can we evolve our 'requirements' from "how do we eliminate our dangers" to "how do we create our ideals"?
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        Nov 2 2012: What you've said I've heard for over 50 years. The results are worse now then they were 50 years ago.

        How do you explain people not taking sound advice? If the trend is towards a bad situation, shouldn't those of us who are aware make preparations?

        Incentive based motivation presupposes you have incentives to offer. No incentives, no effective change and improvement.

        Idealize is not an obtainable goal. Realism is obtainable. I suggest we start by being real. First we access the problem (that has already been done many times over) then we get to the solution (that cost money and takes us away from our comfort zone) so not taking the solutions and applying them only exacerbates the problem and makes it grow larger (which it has).

        So, the solution becomes clear: First we form a coalition of people who favor solving the problem, not matter what it takes. Second, we determine the resources we need to accomplish the goal. We obtain the resources organize ourselves into a team and implement the course of action to solve the problem. Those who are not part of the solution become part of the problem and are lumped in with those who are the problem.

        We could do this on the large scale or piece at the time. It doesn't matter as long as our progression is towards the goal.

        If we reduced the population in the US. by 25 percent within 10 years, we wouldn't have a poverty problem because everyone would be employed. If at the same time we implemented population control by controlling the number of kids a couple can have, we will meet our goal.

        The question is how do we reduce the population. I'm sure those who rule the world are considering the very question as we write. What do you think some of their scenarios will be. I say "will be" because they will implement some sort of solution. Does anyone really think that they will take the money they got from everyone else and give it back? That would be foolish.
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          R H 20+

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          Nov 2 2012: Thanks again John. You had me until 'population control'. In your, and many other's, efforts to be realistic, popu control is viewed as an obvious solution - until the discussion turns to applying to their parents. Also the logic that a 25% reduction would lead to full employment must take into account a minimuml 25% reduction in purchasing which would lead to massive structural and income reductions in a contracting economy. Limiting citizen's ability to reproduce flies in the face of a free society and can cause various psychosis issues which are hugely expensive to the society. So although we are in agreement about the need to organize around the years of research that have been devoted to this subject and take action, I'm afraid I would disagree with your primary method of approach. All the best.

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