December 1, 2011

The Formula to Eradicate Poverty

I was so tempted to call it the SECRET formula to eradicate poverty.  Secrets are intriguing.  Secrets sell.  However, secrets can also be terribly disappointing as our imaginations start to conjure up things more magical and complex than they actually are.

Take the "Caramilk Secret" for example.  It's intriguing to think that Cadbury has a room full of rocket scientists who have denied the laws of nature to get the caramel into the bar.  Or, that they stumbled upon a stash of notes left by the aliens who built the pyramids.  To find out that it's a simple process of pouring the tops of the bars, flipping them over to be filled with dollops of caramel, and then covered with a layer of chocolate is . . . well . . . disappointing.  Sorry, I should have said "Spoiler Alert".

Similarly, the best-selling book called "The Secret" is so attractive to those who want change in their lives.  People are looking for a magical incantation that they can say and "POOF" their life will be different.  However, the power of positive thinking and envisioning results has been a mainstay in the world of psychology, motivational speaking, professional sports, business and many other arenas for quite some time.  To find out that "the secret" is something you already knew at some level is . . . well . . . a letdown.  Once again, sorry if I burst anyone's bubble.

I believe that poverty eradication is simple, and it is something that we already know intuitively.  There's no magic, no undue complexity, no alien wisdom . . . and it's certainly not rocket science.  For these reasons, it's integral that I do not describe the formula as secret.  In fact, far from being secret, I yearn for this formula to be shouted from mountain tops and taught to children in school.

"Oh, for crying out loud . . . WHAT is the formula to eradicate poverty???"  Thanks for asking! I wasn't sure how much longer I could drag it out.  The formula for eradication of poverty is . . .

We must open our eyes to see what is there. 
Then, open our hearts to show that we care.

That's it.  If you, me, the guy crossing the street, the woman wiping her child's nose, all of our family, friends, co-workers, and leaders applied this simple formula to our lives, work, and society there would be no poverty.  Done.  Kaput.  Finito.

Everything else - the details, logistics, planning, etc. - falls into place once we apply the formula.  Our priorities change.  Where we spend our time and money changes.  So much changes for the better once we've seen the need around us and have decided to do something compassionate about it . . . especially for those living in need.

The reason there is poverty is not because of lack of resources . . . we live in an abundant world.  The reason there is poverty is not because of lack of know how . . . we have the technology and smarts to change this world for the better many times over.  The reason there is poverty is not because of lack of hard work amongst the poor or economic hard times . . . these are fallacies or excuses that rationalize inaction on our parts.  The reason there is poverty IS because we close our eyes to that which we do not want to see, and we have not made poverty eradication a priority.  The reason there is poverty IS because we have not applied the formula to the extent that we can, or the extent that we should.

Each one of us acting on our own will do some good for others, and that is certainly to be encouraged.  However, to truly bring about sustainable change in the lives of billions of people and eradicate poverty, we must act together.  This means deciding collectively to make poverty eradication a priority . . . collectively opening our eyes and collectively caring.  This means applying as much energy as possible to spreading the word and encouraging the development of coordinated, integrated, non-partisan, and all-encompassing poverty elimination strategies.  Be open to it . . . talk about it . . . support it whenever you get the opportunity.

And finally, a word of comfort . . . we need not fear that eradicating poverty will somehow adversely affect our own lifestyle.  Eradication of poverty may involve a little more sharing of the proverbial pie, but mostly it is about using the pie a little differently and making the pie larger.  In other words, you don't need to give up your slice of the pie in order for others to have pie, too.

Don't keep it a secret!

Hey!! I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

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