Poverty as a Weapon of Mass Destruction and the Economic Policies That Loaded the Chamber

Flickr-poverty-overgraemeChristina Sarich, Staff Writer
Waking Times

80% of the entire world population lives on less than $10 a day. Even if you live in a country where a gallon of gasoline doesn’t cost around $3.50, and a McDonald’s ‘Happy’ Meal – one of the worst and most nutritionally deficient, but arguably, cheapest meals around – costs about $5, that leaves you $2 and some change to eat another meal, pay rent and medical expenses, or perhaps buy your seven year old a birthday present. That small amount of money might leave your pockets feeling a little empty – in truth it’s the recipe for poverty, and it hasn’t happened by accident. To the majority of people in the world, it was planned and executed with steely perfection by the 2% at the top of the corporate food chain.

Some top-down economists will blame the poor in the US, as if they are a class of their own, for being lazy, or that the single moms are to blame for having so many children out of wedlock that they have to apply for help from the state, draining tax payer funds. Still others will say that world populations are just used to being ‘working-class’ and aren’t intelligent enough to garner jobs which pay higher wages. You would think that with the invention of the Internet, someone in Bangladesh or Laos would be able to make what a middle manager in the US earns, as long as they had similar skills. This simply is not the case.

“Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization are global decisions, policies and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or formulated by the rich and powerful. These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors, such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people.

In the face of such enormous external influence, the governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.” (GlobalIssues.org)

This doesn’t even take into consideration the cost of wars, which are waged over illusory issues to control natural resources, and the poverty that ensues in countries that are damaged by war’s effects.

Global poverty is highlighted in our own country and explained well in the Senate-issued Levin–Coburn Report. It states that:

“The ’07/’08 [financial] crisis [which we are still recovering from] was not a natural disaster, but the result of high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; and the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.”

In 2007, more than 91% of AAA-rated mortgage securities were down-graded to junk status. This means an investment that was once thought to be right as rain was now as sound as a drunken night in Vegas at the roulette tables. This security went from AAA to –Z overnight. The sad truth is that the market makers knew they were ‘junk’ investments all along. Levin says, “Looking back, if any single event can be identified as the immediate trigger of the 2007 financial crisis, it would be the mass downgrades. . . those downgrades hit the market like a hammer, making it clear that [they] had been a colossal mistake.” Credit raters and banks knew all along those investments would tank. An interesting study from Stanford University on a Sovereign (National) Fiscal Responsibility Index collaborates Levin’s assertions, saying banks and brokers are “deliberately misrepresented by the players.”

The Stanford study compared 34 nations that belong to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the so-called ‘BRIC’ nations – the emerging financial powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Fiscal responsibility was measured in the study by various factors including revenue rules (tax law), international and national debt, and so forth. All 34 nations, as well as the BRIC nations, were shown to participate in the methodical stripping away of a middle class and the wide-spread creation of poverty.

What is even more disheartening is that the more a person struggles with poverty, the more they are often marginalized from society and given little voice or representation in larger political debates and the law-making that affect their state of wealth. This can make the ‘American dream’ the impossible hog-wash for many and, as far as international poverty standards are concerned, extraordinarily difficult to rise above the mayhem on less than $2 a day.

In the US, the more poor there are, the easier it is for lawmakers to pass bills that promote corporate greed and million dollar bonuses, while ignoring gross negligence when it comes to fiscal responsibility. The same is true in other nations. If a CEO gets paid an average of $7000 an hour, or 350 times his or her workers, it could be said that those running our corporations are more like slave owners than fair, contributing members of society. For example, the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt has a total annual compensation of just under $101 million, which breaks down to about $48,548 per hour, or about $809 per minute.

It isn’t laziness that has caused worldwide poverty, it is the disenfranchisement of millions through the perpetuation of corporate greed. Even the mega-corporation of Ben & Jerry’s, makers of the popular ice cream, once had a 5 to 1 board member ruling that the CEO would be limited to a 5 to 1 ratio of earnings over his lowest paid worker, but the company ditched this practice when they couldn’t find anyone to replace Ben Cohen, the CEO that worked for just $81,000 a year. At $2 a day, that’s still $80,270 more than billions of people earn every year, and only the poor die young.

“People who are lower on the socioeconomic ladder (indicated by their level of education, occupation, or income) have shorter and less healthy lives, on average, than those on higher rungs. Indeed, life expectancy at birth often varies by 5-10 years, depending on social and economic well-being, with poorer people spending 10-20 more years of life suffering from illness or disability than their wealthier counterparts.” (Project Syndicate)

Poverty is in fact, quite a weapon of mass destruction.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a musician, yogi, humanitarian and freelance writer who channels many hours of studying Lao TzuParamahansa YoganandaRob Brezny,  Miles Davis, and Tom Robbins into interesting tidbits to help you Wake up Your Sleepy Little Head, and See the Big Picture. Her blog is Yoga for the New World. Her latest book is Pharma Sutra: Healing the Body And Mind Through the Art of Yoga.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

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  • Wind Whispers


    ” Poverty is a very complex issue. It has existed as long as humanity itself, and so it always shall”

    No. It hasn’t, it has only existed as long as money has existed, people in communities worked together to help provide for each other. Today its called Barter.

    On a different note:


    “It is the artist who will bring balance to the world. It is the artist who will teach the wisdom within the truth of balance..or peace as I know it to be”

    Artists as I know them to be, have a great respect for what “just is”, the energy of life, the energy of love, and they pass that on through their art – wisdom – teachings.

    They have since the beginning of time. Including through rock paintings and Petroglyphs.

    HUGS to all, and more HUGS to those who want to argue (about anything, or just having a bad day).

  • GM

    Why have THEY been expelled from 108 nations?

    They dont call them ‘Nation Wreckers’ for nothing…

    Is Madagascar or Birobijan humane? Or must we live with them?

  • Hairy Who Deeny

    I find this article rather shallow. Poverty is a very complex issue. It has existed as long as humanity itself, and so it always shall. I agree that “the system” has problems. But at the same time, anybody can become the next Eric Schmidt you referenced so narrowly. You mention nothing of how he started, nor of how much he gives to charity, mentoring programs and other worthy causes. In my opinion, that is very unfair. Governments in much of the world, in the REAL poverty centers, are corrupt, even more than our own. Here in America, we all still live in the land of opportunity. Hard work and intelligent choices generally result in success. Perhaps not billionaire “success”, but success nonetheless. Smart investments, instead of buying a new iPhone every year; saving for emergencies instead of going out for drinks and/or expensive meals twice a week; buying a car that gets better milage instead of something that cost more than some people’s homes…. choices people make are important. I know, personally, many people who never attended college, yet they earn a fair living and are financially comfortable. I know plenty of others who always have to have the latest gadgets, the latest fashions, more more more…. and they have a lot of debt and little or no savings. It is irresponsible living. And they all whine about how “the rich” are so evil. I have news for you: many rich people are GOOD people. Unfortunately, there are too many bad apples, and they get more attention in the media than the others. There are countless entrepreneurs in the world who worked years for little or nothing and risked everything they owned to build a business. Now they employ many people, and do a lot of good in the world. Not all, of course, but lots of them do a lot of good. Yet the hourly workers they employ complain endlessly about how unfair it is that the owner is successful. America has become a nation of far too much entitlement mentality. There are too many people who refuse to put in the effort to improve their own life. It is by their own choices that they remain trapped in poverty, in far too many cases. Don’t get me wrong…. I know some people have a genuinely tough time, and simply can not do better. And we should ALL be helping those people. But the level of dedication, honor and integrity in America has fallen. There are so many resources for people, that excuses are often lame. Education is available for free, if one looks and works at it. Mentors are available. Government and private funding is available. I know a young man who wanted to get into Carnegie-Mellon University, but his father had abandoned the family when he was very young, and his mother had many health issues, and consequently could never hold a full time job. But over the years he worked hard, studied, and when a junior in high school he began researching how to raise funds to go to college. He succeeded in 100% funding though grants and saving money from part time summer jobs. Zero student loans. He graduated near the top of his class a couple years ago. He has a very good job, and earns a high salary. Lots of people think it is unfair. I think he deserves every penny of it.

    • Anonymous

      You are quite clueless.

  • hp

    “When poverty knocks on the door,
    love flies out the window”

    – old Polish proverb

  • Jack Singularity

    billy jo, I don’t know how it is in Australia but around here in the US, the government has ‘zoning laws’ which prevent poor people from doing as you suggest. You don’t seem to understand that under a fascist dictatorship, the game is always rigged.

  • Anonymous


  • billy jo mama

    Oh yeah, someone forgot to tell this author that life is not fair. If it were, Jesus would be leading the entire world, and we would all want to do good to our fellow man just so Jesus would be proud of us. We wouldn’t have needs or wants, Jesus would provide them for us, just like his sermon on the mount when he broke bread and divided fish to feed the masses. Corporations aren’t Jesus. They are here to build profit for their shareholders. If a byproduct of that happens to be 80% of the world living on less than $10 a day,and you want to open my mind, which is clearly already opened, then you need to start a revolution and feed the tree of liberty some elitist blood. Complaining about it won’t get you anywhere.

    • jack herring

      billy jo….someone forgot to tell you ………….
      there is more than enough food, resources and power, energy etc etc etc infinite etc´s for everyone on this earth…it is just some very ugly, arrogant, selfish, greedy, ignorant parasites on wall street that see their lives as infinitely more important and chosen than everyone elses life.
      they live only to get more money and even more money when they already have almost all of it anyway…that is the whole thing….these parasites gamble on failure of crops and social objectives to gain even more money.
      with that money they buy people like you!
      people who are willing to trample on others with their ” darwinian ” survival of the fittest BS to justify their completely pathological need to control.
      people who are not forced to compete, live harmonious lives and rich constructive and creative lives as the universe wants us to live….these parasites in wall street will one day wake up to find out that they are being thrown out of yet another country….the worm turns is not an old saying for nothing!!!!!!!

    • steve

      Yes, just turn the guns around and carry on the class war – continue the violence and misery.
      You mentioned Jesus. He said “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”. Close enough to touch that is. The way to it costs nothing – needs no armies, no firing squads….Jesus did tell (and show) us the way – love one another.

  • Where is the solution? What is the problem?

    Questions I ponder as a sixty year old white male in America making less than 10 dollars a day yet feeling and knowing myself to be the world’s wealthiest person…the paradox of sanity vs insanity in today’s ‘culture’ is very interesting. It is the artist who will bring balance to the world. It is the artist who will teach the wisdom within the truth of balance..or peace as I know it to be.

    Thank you Christina for sharing your rich perspective on the truth of your wisdom…I look forward to experiencing and knowing all your geniusness. Blessings.

  • John Cook

    Well said, so true, so simple and so unjust and cruel.

    Where I live (Australia) they keep me poor by restricting access to land, Australia has Huge amounts of utterly unused land that is not suitable for conventional agriculture hence changes hands for only dollars per acre – but it’s only traded in lots of tens or hundreds of thousands of acres – I only need ten acres to live on and build a permaculture but it’s impossible to get.

    • billy jo mama

      John, I think you should start a website, build a society of one thousand families that have the same dream, and collectively buy 10,000 acres of land. Problem solved.

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