An Analogy of the Politics of World Poverty

Jan 31, 2009

In the discussion Food for Some, Not for All on the Philosophy Forums, I made this post. In that post, I argued that the problem in our society causing world hunger and poverty is that control over natural resources has been unfairly distributed through the use of deception and violence.

It is generally another rendition of the same point I often make on this blog in posts such as The Nature of the Current Food Crisis, Oppression, Capital and Poverty, and many of my other favorite posts.

But I do especially like the fun analogy I made:

Let’s say I claimed to own all the air in the world and threatened to imprison or kill anyone who breathed the air without my permission. I could get you guys to all work like slaves for me for barely anything because the desperation caused by your poverty would make you the equivalent of sweatshop workers. So I would gain control not only over the air in the world but also the labor. And I’m sure many people would die from lack of oxygen. I would benefit from keeping such a system, but everybody else would benefit from changing it. In that example, I represent the ruling class (a.k.a. the upper class or just the wealthy); my desperate workers represent the working class; those who die from lack of oxygen represent the poorest of us; and the air represents natural resources, namely land, water and the machinery passed down from previous generations.

Please do check out the whole forum post and join the forum discussion.

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Children suffering from Poverty