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How to ‘tackle poverty’

As I have previously, ‘poverty’ is a measure of envy and class hatred Here are some measures that could make poverty worse or better.

One might imagine that importing wealthy people into a country would help reduce poverty: Bill Gates turning up in the United Kingdom with £40,000,000 would increase the average wealth of British inhabitants. In fact this makes “poverty” worse according to poverty-campaigner logic.

Let us imagine a country with nine inhabitants: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and i. If a, b, and c have incomes of 100 per year, d has 90, e and f have 50, h has 30 and i has 20, then total income is 540, average income is 60 and the poverty line is 30 if calculated as 50 per cent of average, or 36 if calculated as 60 per cent of average.

The next year Bill Gates arrives with an income of 500. He employs h and i for an extra 20 per year (more than they were getting before). The result is: Bill Gates 460, a, b and c 100 each, d has 90, e and f have 50, h now also has 50 and i has 40. So everyone is out of the poverty level of the year before.

But this is where relativism kicks in: the new poverty line is 52 or 57.2 (depending on the 50 or 60 percent definition). So Bill Gates has not only ‘failed’ to lift h and i out of poverty by giving them jobs that paid better, he has impoverished e and f, who were previously not poor, even though neither e nor f has lost any income.

This tells us the first lesson of tackling “poverty”: no wealthy immigrants must be allowed. In fact all inward investment is bad according to this reasoning. Now imagine that the 1,000 million poorest people in the world (average income 0.01) were to come and live in this country instead of Bill Gates. Also imagine that none of them become billionaires but remain objectively poor.

Total income becomes 10,000,540. Average income drops to 0.01000054 per year. So h with 30 and i with 20 are 3,000 and 2,000 times wealthier than the average, despite no increase in objective income. Also the billion paupers have incomes of 0.01 which is over 99.99 percent of the average, so none of them are “poor”, even though they can’t afford to buy a bread roll.

Note that if half of the billion paupers were to raise their income to the previous average (60), they would be “evil exploiters” of the poor, so would h and i, even if they were to lose 90 percent of their incomes (to 3 and 2 respectively). This means that immigrants who are below the poverty line must be kept there for the sake of “social justice”!

Therefore although all the billion immigrants will starve, they will not die in vain: they will have brought about social justice. A believer in immortal souls who suggested this policy, would be insane but sincere. The problem is that most socialists and social democrats are atheists…

In the British case executing all elderly people aged over 60 who live alone on less than average household incomes would statistically eliminate poverty: either they would be dead, or more likely they would choose to live in groups of two or three and therefore rise towards average household income levels. Executing all students would also have a similar effect. Slaughtering everyone who lives alone would be a guaranteed success in a “War on Want”.

This may appear insanely evil. Yet I have just described the policies of the Cambodian holocaust: Pol Pot really was ‘tackling poverty’.

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7 comments to How to ‘tackle poverty’

  • Perhaps a small alteration could be :

    If i is living on state benefits of 20, then by employing him at a salary of 40 Bill will have reduced unemployment but would have failed to remove poverty (plus freeing up resources from the fact that i is no longer on benefits)

    Therefore job creation schemes also increase poverty.

  • Mark Alger

    It gets worse. Remember that, in most economies, the government controls the currency. It would appear that almost any government action–including inaction–reduces the value of the currency, thus diminishing the wealth of individuals.

  • Julian Morrison

    Lefties love the poor. The more, the merrier. “Poor” people vote labour.

  • Bill Gates only has £40,000,000? I think you mean £40,000,000,000. 🙂

    You also failed to note how much g was originally earning.

    Other than that, though, top notch article and a great destruction of “relative poverty”, which has almost nothing to do with poverty.

  • John Daragon

    Though I really do agree with the *thrust* of this argument (i.e. that the measure of “poverty” is largely one of inequality of income or resource and is thus, of itself, largely irrelevant), I think that you’ve got the details wrong. The “average” you’ve been using is the arithmetic mean and the average that the poverty lobby uses is the median. If you use this statistic, importing Bill Gates has no effect at all on outcome.

  • I love the way some commentators use terms like ‘science’ as if images of science correspond to the history of science. It’s a strange state of affairs.

  • Alan

    I too agree with the thrust of the original argument and it has to be said that statistics is the perfect tool for the poverty lobby to spin a message. I’ve tried playing around with the numbers on a spreadsheet and there are times when it would be useful for them to use the arithmetic mean rather than the median. Won’t bore any of you with details – try it for yourself! Of course the people who rule our lives wouldn’t try to mislead us by manipulating the figures would they? 😉