On page A6 of the Aug. 22 Journal, there was a very short article: Rich are richer; poor are worse off. A deeper look is necessary and can be very helpful, especially to the poor.
First of all, what is wealth and where does it come from? For our country’s natives and settlers, the land, water, minerals, plant and animal life weren’t wealth. With intelligence, hard work and perseverance, they were made into wealth by sacrifice and great effort.
Next, consider: Why do some achieve wealth while others can’t? There’s a very interesting and increasingly large body of research that looks at behavioral factors in school success.
Since we believe in the importance of education for success in life, it’s worthwhile to consider that those factors include perseverance (“grit”, tenacity, delayed gratification, self-discipline, self-control), specific “hard-work” strategies and social skills.
Perhaps by considering the absence or weakness of these within the root causes of poverty, we could realize that, by giving away money (merely the trading token of wealth), we serve no one’s best interest for developing wealth-creation.
Perhaps for anyone caught in cycles of poverty, careful reading of contemporary “rags-to-riches” stories would be inspiring and guiding for development of the attitudes, efforts and habits underlying the achievement of those riches.
It can also be sobering to consider “riches-to-rags stories.” Why do a large percentage of people who win lotteries, sweepstakes and major financial settlements end up worse off financially in the end?
Just as schools pledge to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes to help their students reach their full potential, so too must we structure support for those in poverty so they can gain the means to create wealth for themselves and their families.
Oftentimes, the experiences of hard work and perseverance create very rewarding, profound, new-found wealth beyond monetary measure.
Gov. Susana Martinez is on the right track in tying together financial support for those in poverty with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and self-respect available through the experience of wealth-creating work.