For those of you not already familiar with the Free Hugs Campaign, I recommend you watch the following YouTube video. I bet it will make you smile:
I love it! It is entertaining and pleasantly funny to watch this random long-haired guy walk around with a sign offering free hugs. More seriously, I feel even a small, mostly symbolic gesture such as giving away free hugs can help alleviate the “social disconnectivity” so common in our current society, which represents the first step in coming together and actually building a better world for all. Millions of people have seen that video, and I assume it has inspired almost all of them.
One of the organizers, Jim Wallis, said, “A whole generation of young evangelicals believes that Jesus would probably care more about the 30,000 children who died again today – as they did yesterday and they will tomorrow – from preventable disease than he would about passing a gay-marriage amendment in Ohio.”
I agree! I am not a religious person, but I agree with many of the secular teachings of Jesus. I also believe that Jesus and other caring people would worry much more about issues such as poverty, healthcare, education and the enviornment than about gay marriage.
Regardless of how they feel about gay marriage, I do not understand how anyone could think of it as more important to stop gays from marrying than to alleviate poverty and fix the healthcare crisis. Poverty kills children; gay marriage does not.
In the philosophy forums today, I made a post about how government-managed currency enables a minority to oppress the majority by using currency to claim ownership of more than their fair share of natural resources. Check it out and join the discussion: Government and Currency
Without oppression robbing them of the fruits of their labor, I believe the working class would have so much more wealth that the working class families currently in poverty or at risk of poverty would no longer be in poverty or at risk of poverty. Additionally, the working class people would have enough wealth to fix the problems affecting their communities such as poverty and lack of education.
The people of the world would benefit in many ways by reducing or eliminating global poverty and by increasing education levels.
I believe less poverty and more education would reduce violent crime and other forms of criminal victimization. Poor and uneducated people tend to turn to crime and anti-social behavior more often. The same happens to other people raised in poor and uneducated neighborhoods.
I believe less poverty and more education would reduce terrorism. Actual terrorists generally come from more affluent backgrounds because poor people have too many personal problems to get so actively involved in politics. However, anger and hatred over the perceived injustice of the existence of poverty and socioeconomic inequality helps create and empower terrorists. Additionally, lack of political rights does correlate with terrorism, and a less poor and better educated public often achieves more political rights and equality without as much violence. In other words, though terrorists may not be poor, I believe terrorism thrives in a world with poverty and lack of education. (Terrorism is never justified, in my opinion. Nonetheless, we need to counter the contributing factors if we wish to stop and prevent it.)
I believe less poverty and more education would lead to more wealth and happiness for all. Investing in saving children and communities from poverty helps create a more productive and wealthy society. Educated and working people living in a fair and free society not only benefit themselves but they benefit others. Well-educated and hard-working people will produce wealth in this cooperative system that we call a society. For example, how much better off would the rest of us be if poor, uneducated and homeless single mothers had received excellent education and now had a good job providing valuable services to others for great pay that kept them and their families out of poverty? How much wealthier would the entire world be if those starving Ethiopian children instead went to great schools and performed useful jobs keeping themselves out of poverty?
Breaking the poverty cycle will help us all! Do not look at poverty alleviation as charity. I doubt we will end poverty if we look at it as charity. Charity cannot end global poverty. We need to recognize that helping poor people help themselves not only helps them but it helps us too. To that end, we can find mutually beneficial social interactions and movements that alleviate poverty. Namely, I recommend investing heavily in small businesses and in education including both investing in organizations creating and running schools as well as investing in students with extensive student loans. We need to find ways to get better schools and better paying jobs into poor areas or ways to get poor children and unemployed people out of poor areas and into areas with great schools and great jobs for the educated.
I explained why I think we can prevent overpopulation by doing what we would want to do anyway–end world hunger, poverty, and socioeconomic inequality. I will re-post what I wrote here.
Currently, 18,000 children die every day from world hunger. Billions of people live in poverty. As far as I know, poverty exists in every nation in the world. For example, in the United States, millions of people in the United States live in poverty, including millions of working people and millions of college graduates.
However, the world currently has more than enough food to feed everyone. The world has more than enough resources to provide food, clean water, shelter, healthcare and education to all people.
But we choose not to do it. Partially it is because we are not behaving charitably enough, but I think it is more because some people have claimed much more than their fair share and much more than they need of the natural resources and the productive labor of others.
As a result, we see the problems that would be associated with overpopulation and a scarcity of resources, which includes not only world hunger and poverty as a direct result, but also war, violence, government corruption, and other examples of people fighting over natural resources and getting angry about not receiving their fair share.
Since we already have these problems, overpopulation would not be a significantly noticeable change. Because of that, the people in society probably will not notice the effects of overpopulation since those ‘effects’ will just be more of the same (e.g. war, violence, fighting over natural resources, socioeconomic inequality, etc.).
I believe the way to prevent overpopulation would be to fix the current political system that allows world hunger and poverty to happen now. Fixing the current problems are desirable to me and many people regardless of the fact that fixing them would prevent overpopulation, which is also desired.
Basically, our current system of distribution of wealth is so barbaric and unfair that for most people in the world it feels like the world is already overpopulated (because such people are receiving such an unfairly small share of the world’s wealth). So there is little incentive to stop overpopulation and little notice of the effects of increases in population.
If the people in the world found a more effective and fair way to share the world’s wealth such that world hunger, poverty and so forth were ended, and as a result there would be significantly less war, violence and corruption, then I believe that would prevent overpopulation based on three main points: Firstly, there would be direct consequences of increases in population on most people (since people would be receiving a fair share, which would be less when there is more people). Secondly, as a result of the first, there would be more of an incentive to fix overpopulation (since it would be creating a problem which wouldn’t already exist in a fair, povertyless society). Thirdly, there would be more social ability to address global threats and problems such as overpopulation (and global warming, etc.) because our ability to work together would not be so hindered by the war, fighting, and corruption of a world with poverty and socioeconomic inequality.
In short, I believe the way to prevent overpopulation is to fix those horrible qualities that our current world would have in common with an overpopulated world. Namely, these problems are world hunger, poverty and socioeconomic inequality.
I love that speech. I think speeches like that change the world more than elections and pieces of legislation. I post about the speech here because Obama’s speech addresses many fundamental issues that this blog addresses. Namely, he stresses the need for self-help, for social investment in healthcare and education, and for ensuring that all children receive equal opportunity of success. By coming together for those purposes, we can not only beat the fear and anger that causes racial divisiveness, but also we can end poverty.