Poverty: Society's sickness should be treated with progressive policies, not intangible illusions

1 Jul 2014

They always claimed that ‘laughter is the best medicine’; that ‘time heals all’. Sipping my OJ, brimming with the miracle that is Vitamin C, my sceptical side rears its patronising head. Not one to be controversial, but I can’t shake the notion that medicine is the best medicine. I’ve never been prescribed ‘time’ or ‘laughter’ following a visit to the local GP, bone poking through skin or insides being eaten by antigens. Forget the niceties, when an issue is prevalent, some form of corrective medicine should be applied to the wound. After days, weeks of orally expelling meals would any person accept ‘time’ or ‘laughter’ as a prescribed cure to their evident issue?


Most wouldn’t, and with due reason. Time and laughter are potent forces, but certain things require more than positive vibes and the rotation of the Earth.

Take poverty for example. Arguably humanity’s greatest ill. Time has long been prescribed and has actually worked to reasonable effect. Feudal times witnessed a near universal peasantry, but as stats today show 1.8 billion people now belong to the ‘middle class’. Positive energy and laughter too has had its effect: many have escaped the predestined life of suffering. Those who haven’t console themselves through cultural messages of positivity and hope. But is that really sufficient when living past twenty-five, in some neighbourhoods of first world countries, is considered a genuine achievement? 

To many, poverty is just a political inconvenience; an unfortunate necessity; numbers on an economist’s page. Yet exposed needle pricks from Reagan’s crack epidemic still remain a common sight; economic impossibilities condemn more each day to a life of poverty; plights perennially furthered by the suction of ‘the projects’ and housing estates. I simply cannot fathom how one can watch ‘The Wire’ or listen to a Nas album and sit idle. Education is an impossibility, crack rock vials litter the streets and Reebok undersoles; if one can even luck themselves through adolescence, legitimate chances of making cream are limited to chopping up grams or, for the luckier, getting a minimum wage job in the hope that their children may have a slight advantage: a glimmer of hope in reaching the much sought after middle class lifestyle.

Why not prescribe some assistance? Forget numbers, these are humans. I dare you to explain why your life is worth more. 

Kanye West wasn’t far off with his controversial statement ‘George Bush doesn’t care about black people’. Bush a scapegoat, but the claim far from redundant: archaic and out of touch suits don’t give a damn about the ghettos. Ghetto populations don’t vote, even if they were registered, they wouldn’t, even if they did it wouldn’t be for the establishment. Politics is flawed but morality is not.

If progressives, innovators never took positions of power, we today would not be driving cars to offices littered with computers. Faster horses would be our mode of transport to filing cabinets of papers. How dare we stand still in a world plagued by so much evil, so much inequality. Progressivism is the driving force behind change, a force for good, the modern doctrine of morality. Progressivism is the modern day medicine for the ill that is poverty. The chisel crafting a truly meritocratic and just society. Why are we throwing money at researching iodine 131 in nuclear weapons, when we could be investing in its uses as a radiotherapy cure. It’s time for the government to stop with old wives tales of laughter, of time: and prescribe progressivism to the cancer of society.

By Adam Isaacs

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