I’ve read several people recently claiming that “poverty is the natural state of human beings”, and I’m not sure if this is new bullshit or just old bullshit being rehashed, but I am sure it is bullshit … allow me to explain.
Humans are just another mammal, that’s all we are, and prior to the invention of the gun and the industrial revolution, lets have a look at what was going on with our various species of sentient mammalian cousins.
Well, there were herds of buffalo across the plains of North America that were numbered in total in the many millions of individual beasts … and while yes they might have struggled during times or drought, or occasionally suffered disease, the vast majority of the time, most of them were healthy enough to roam extremely long distances, run from predators, endure extremes of temperature without much shelter … and so on. Does that sound like poverty to you? It sounds to me like a completely non-technological cousin species was doing quite well.
So do we see the same thing elsewhere? Yes. We saw flocks of birds in the millions, bats, and schools of fish in the millions … everywhere you look, you see abundance. Even human beings had a total population in the millions.
So it doesn’t to me sound like poverty was at all “naturally occurring”, since we cannot find a single species suffering from it prior to the industrial revolution, except where disease, suffering and extinction ( forms of “poverty” ) have arisen due to extreme ( unusual ) circumstances – but the rest of the time, it was quite normal for every single species to be experincing simultaneous abundance and well-being.
Where then did poverty come from? We manufactured it. We wiped out species as part of genocide efforts – eg: destroying the buffalo populations to cause dependency of the indigenous peoples of North America, wiping out the coconut palms to cause dependency of the Islander nations – and by wiping out vast areas of wilderness and everything living in them through the carelessness and callousness of capitalism.
Poverty also comes from the fact that within capitalism, resource price increases with scarcity, and thus people are motivated to artificially create scarcity where none needs exist. Have we got enough land to give everyone their own land, and without reducing areas of biodiversity? Without question, yes we do – in fact we can do so while simultaneously increasing areas of biodiversity, by simply using low tech solutions to reforest and bring water to the deserts of the world, none of which is technologically difficult.
This is what I mean when I say 100% of poverty is manufactured.