Poverty isn’t just about money

Looking over someone’s shoulder on the train this morning (naughty, I know) I saw the Mirror make the predictable attack on Iain Duncan-Smith’s proposals about how we view poverty. IDS has said something which is sacrilegious to the left, that money isn’t the only solution to the problems of poverty. The Labour party’s Fleet Street mouthpiece has reminded their readers that IDS isn’t himself poor, and by extension has no right discussing these issues.

If all you want is some fuel for faux outrage you can stop reading here.

IDS has made the eradication of poverty and deprivation his mission. Notice I said eradication rather than alleviation, it’s an important difference. Labour believed that getting money to poor families was enough, it seemed simple, give poor people enough money and they stopped being poor. Yet it didn’t work.

They seemed to miss the point that poverty was often the symptom rather than the ailment. If the parents in a family are seriously addicted to drugs and alcohol throwing money at them will let them buy more deeply into their addiction. Lifting a child one pound over an arbetry line which we claim has “lifted them out of poverty” without addressing educational failures won’t keep them out of poverty for long or prevent their children following the same path. It isn’t really that new an idea, do you recall the old proverb, “give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach him to catch fish, feed him for life”?

IDS is right to challenge he childishly simplistic notion that more welfare = less poverty. He is genuinely trying to make poverty history rather than just a little bit less unpleasant.

3 responses to “Poverty isn’t just about money

  1. Very interesting and correct !
    However how do we as a nation address these problems ?

  2. The the big society idea would work as if we all took care of our own families and immediate neighbours then the country would be a lot better place . However when you see MP s and bankers bleeding this country dry for a quick buck you find the working class adopting the same attitude .
    Also when you have so many people from different countries that have no intention in staying or contributing to said society only taking . Financially it can never work either .
    Our once great services are mainly used by people who do not pay into the pot , so therefore ( like what is starting to happen ) the pot runs dry

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