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Блог Зиновія Свереди

POVERTY AND PROSPERITY

20.06.2017, 19:55
motivation and solutions of the poverty and level of the prosperity

To build an effective state system and welfare, there is a need to analyze poverty and its causes, and why do we consider the present time as a crisis and a decay.

Conditionally we can divide the causes of poverty into external and internal ones. Internal causes define the person and his values (things that depend on a person), and external ones, including legislation and institutional system, promote or limit a person. 

What are the major consequences of poverty? Generally people believe that this is a shortage of money for basic needs, such as food, medicine, accommodation, the level of education, duration of life and so on. On the other hand, if we investigate every indicator of personal and social poverty, do they really depend on finances and income?

From the philosophical point of view, the causes of poverty depend mostly on the world outlook. Surprisingly, economics begins not with capital, but with values and world outlook of a person. Amartya Sen, a Noble Prize winner, said that we have to search for economics problems in culture, culture problems in ethics, and ethics problems in moral and spiritual values of a person and nation. Germany is a vivid example: after terrible ruin of the Second World War, in the 25-year period its people managed to completely rebuild the country and to become one of the seven most prosperous countries of the world. Ukraine, having gained its independence in 1991, notwithstanding the absence of real military actions, in 25-year period demolished its production and has obtained the vast migration of population (about 8 million of able-bodied population, corruption, weak medicine, destroyed ecology). We can continue enumerating the negative results. However, what is the primary – big investments or state-building spirit, values and culture, which also quickly rebuild the economics? What is the right path – to look for external loans or to focus on the potential of their people?

The lack of creative and self-sacrificing elite is considered to be one of the major reasons for poverty, though in Ukraine we have one more problem – this is the ruin of institutions that should form the elite. The institutions and organizations, where the spheres of religion and intelligentsia, educators and other humanitarian layers belong, very often choose the values system or priorities, that have nothing in common with real prosperity, sustainable development, or even with the philosophy mission as a search for truth or theology. Not once we are lost in the traps of time and in the ideological labyrinths, that makes it impossible to find proper solutions to the challenges of time. 

In Ukraine there are several major forms of poverty. 

At the macro level, this is the legacy of colonialism, which simply was transformed into more modern forms of plunder of people, justifying it by various "pseudo-reforms", and in practice, it is confirmation of supremacy and domination of people, who gained their authority over the majority of society – funds, movable and immovable property, resources and the decision right. Often this system is created by internal criminal clans in cooperation with an external aggressor, who views the people as the means of gaining profit. 

Colonialism was creating centralization, that is the concentration of power in the hands of one person or a limited group of persons, regardless whether it is an external aggressor or an internal class, a caste or a particular criminal group that monopolizes decision-making in their own interests.

Centralization creates more modern forms of poverty for several reasons: this is “legal-scientific-grounded” plunder of people and deliberate manipulation, that does not allow people to take an active part in political and economical processes. 

At the micro level, there are a couple of illnesses that are not associated with lack or circulation of capital. They are psychological fears of people before the new challenges of time. Generally it depends on the system of university and family education. In addition, the colonial educational system for the formation of personality brought up generally-erudite generations and got them accustomed to the impudent obedience of authorities that had the right to proclaim the truth. The academic method of education prevailed, where discipline and obedience dominated. However, this system did not form a harmonious developed and self-confident personality. The colonial system of values taught the careerism in institutions, but not realization of a human person. Instead of teaching self-realization in all talents and skills, a young person is directed to the post-colonial or conservative institutions, that are very often of small efficiency and old-fashioned for the modern progress. These colonial institutions are created by different individuals who desire to live at the expense of other people, who only have to enter the mentioned system at the lowest social level in order to “serve”. Any political-economic system is similar to network pyramid marketing, where only the person who created this system is the most prosperous. 

In such a way, deformation of institution missions and social establishments took place – their task became not solving different society problems, but constantly creating demand in them. The effective economics can not be built without the effective political system, as the issue is not only “to produce” but also to define the way all the social wealth would be distributed among citizens. And effective politics or economy could not be built without high-quality theology and philosophy. Because the national idea and the state as a body should have its own ethics and values. Despite this fact, whatever the level of wealth or weapons is (an example is the Roman Empire or other states even of the 20thcentury), without morality these regimes will disappear from the human history. The conviction that Ukraine is poor because of the lack of funds, is a fiction: we need about 30 million US dollars for reforming education in the village schools of one region (computers, improvement of teachers’ qualifications and so on). But the authorities do not find these funds. The only question: why was about 2 billion US dollars spent on a couple of football stadiums in 2012? What is more important – the future of generations or a couple of hours of football match, for which we would pay the external debts for decades? This fact only demonstrates that poverty very often evolves from mis-shapen values of people and society and the absence of communities and people in the process of discussion and decision making. What is more important: a teacher of Christian Ethics in a village or a football coach for youth, that are worth 1000-2000 UAH per month, or plastic flowers at the cemetery, when 5000 residents of a small town spend more than 550 000 UAH only on the first of November? And per year, at funerals, Easter and all other memorial days, about 4 million 650 thousand … only one small town, not mentioning the whole nation or state. A society should choose "bread and sights" or "science of everyday troublesome work", and in this way, it is looking for appropriate leaders for each category.

The next reason for poverty, from the points of view of many psychologists, is ignorance. The ignorance means the absence of useful information or absence of practical knowledge about what exactly we need in life or in work at the certain moment. It is different from stupidity, what is the absence of intellect or wisdom. These notions are very often mixed up and are considered to be synonyms, but they have different basis. There is very often a planned “ignorance”, when owing to media and information policy, it is impossible to carry out sound state-building work: spread of different ideologies, that have nothing to do with productive state-building strategy. Such position demolishes the formation of active society and a creative citizen. The individuals and clans, who have privatized “the decision right”, are not always interested in active and conscious public position of their citizens: their low non-organization and ignorance of their rights is one of the effective sources for forming huge capitals of several people. We can observe it on the example of many religious movements, especially in different sects: not all leaders like having active followers, it is sometimes better to have obedient people who are not so much aware of the canons and doctrines as they believe in the word of the leaders. As mostly, instead of objective preaching of the faith science, many people who want to subjugate people to their will, speak and create something new, that nobody can refute or prove. They manipulate the people's old ambitions to see the "quick miracle" formed on the basis of the lack of knowledge. Many people do not want to recognize science as a gift of God for the universe perception and for the realization of human creativity. As a result, they become victims of various ideological frauds. 

People who simply do tasks are very often employed in old institutions, and innovative people are excluded. It is impossible to find neither truth nor right reforms without any kind of dialogue and discussion, thoughts and arguments exchange. A couple of years ago, the author of this article had an opportunity to work for several companies, where creative thinking was perceived as competition, instead of uniting joint efforts for development: the person, who is responsible for management, but without deep knowledge of the time requirements, can not think neither strategically not tactically. Not social wealth, but personal modus vivendi – the style of life, is important for such kind of managers. The only way out is – in case a specialist is a professional, he should not fear of leaving the system and establishing his own business without any help and to show his ability to realize the basic gift of the person "to do something out of nothing" due to the education and wisdom of life, which is invisible, but real. 

Kant once wrote that the main feature of the extinction of various social systems is that they are often able to raise a new generation of strong people, but exclude them from inside, because innovation is perceived as danger and competition, instead of giving them the right to manage – otherwise, there will be no progress and development. The brilliant teacher is the teacher who is able to educate a pupil, better than himself. (Kant)

“Knowledge – is power”. Unfortunately, many people study for the sake of studying: they are trying to keep the knowledge for themselves and are not analyzing the external needs of the market and the society demands. Notwithstanding the high level of general education, they are not able to convert their knowledge into capital. Thus, ignorance has two main aspects: the mentioned-above specialists are mainly concerned with the thing that they are not specialized in, or they lack sufficiently narrow professional knowledge, which is in demand on the market, or, on the level of the individual, consider themselves arrogant and do not want to find a harmony between their own desires of self-realization and the society demands. Many people are not rich, because they do not wish to understand that the market and professions’ speed is so high, one should constantly study and be aware of the latest innovations. And the person stops at the level of university knowledge, what is not efficient for the competitiveness on the job market, and, correspondingly he is not able to demonstrate his expediency and usefulness for society. The market is the system, where a person can test his power will and real creativity, character and values, spirit and point of view, in order to survive and to fulfill oneself. But these are the people who can lead modern institutions for the social wealth. 

Very few people are capable of information and facts’ analysis, not only its accumulation. In other words, for overcoming the personal poverty, it is important to think logically and to know professionally even the smallest details about the chosen business. 

Surprisingly, not only financial companies takes the main part in overcoming or promoting the poverty, but also religious movements and institutions, who have been forming the world outlook and values ethics throughout the history. If we investigate the corruption level or the number of Noble prizewinners, we can only prove: the doctrines that taught the blind authority of institutions or powers, justifying it with some traditions and rituals that gave a certain "divinity" to individual domains, gave a minimum of creative individuals who realized innovations and new technologies for all mankind. And the real issue was not the absence of creative people, but the presence of institutions’ system, that do not allow to develop human person’s skills and to fulfill people: the majority of talents were “buried”, as their fulfillment meant the complete replacement of the leading management. The example of industrial revolutions is very similar: before the beginning of the 19thcentury there was a demand for many horses and cabmen, then after operation of the steam machine and automobiles there was a demand for other people: mechanics, electricians and road-builders. In many old-fashioned systems, the authority of associations and institutions was much higher than that of a person and his ability to work and create. The person, who “has privatized” the mentioned-above social and religious institutions, considered the freedom, creativity and innovations of employees as danger for own domination and the social state of domination. The person was a tool, but no an objective of such system. An example of a successful religious vision was the culture of Christian savings in Holland and Belgium in the 19thcentury, or the public savings of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytskyy in Western Ukraine until 1939, which was the result of the evangelization and implementation of the Church's Social Doctrine. All these points accumulated the solidarity of nations and formed the capital without foreign debts. As the social-economical-political system according to the period and Christian Ethics was suggested. 

Social illnesses are of different types, but they demolish the society as a body. Here we can include: alcoholism, smoking, uncontrolled consumption, when we spend basic turnover funds, or even some traditions (plastic flowers at a cemetery). The major cause of unconventional consumption is the substitution of concepts and grading of values. In case, a society has a high level of social illnesses, the real production level of society is low. In addition, instead of development institutions, society begins to establish institutions that cure these disadvantages. Here we can include power institutions, various “anti-corruption” offices, prosecutor’s offices, hospitals, courts and so on. These institutions are financed from the state budget and taxes, not making any added value. As a result, they are interested not in the problem solving, but in its increase – in such a way they make their self-demand. 

Strangely enough, but the reforms themselves are very similar to the process of recovery and treatment of society as an organism. Reforms should be considered as prevention of the society consciousness, and not simply as creation of conditions for investment and capital attraction. 

This form of economics is healthier if the social health becomes the priority for state authorities. In such a way, the institutions that promote the real wealth are being developed: science and education, sport and youth education, technologies and innovations. 

Apathy is the result of social or individual fears. Apathy exists there, where people care for nothing because of the sense of helplessness and do not make any efforts to change the present state of things, in order to correct mistakes or improve conditions. Apathy and indifference to social and economic processes led to the country decay and the desolation of territories. In addition, apathy directly helps to form monopolies and dictatorships that concentrate profits and income in their hands.

Sometimes, apathy is justified by religious canons by many people: “To accept things as they are, because God has already made your fate”. This can be misused by treating fatalism as an unchanging human destiny. This is great to believe that God makes our destiny, but how would we explain the fact that God gives us skills, talents and free mind? "Created on the image and likeness of God – this also means to possess many gifts and abilities that you need to be able to realize and multiply". In addition, people can be paralyzed by the constant fear of sin, that people are weak and powerless. Constant sermons about infirmity, fear of sin, and insignificance of a person only help to confirm the order of "serfs and dignitaries" in politics. As the Metropolitan Andrey stated in the decree on Social Issue, the true Christian – is the reformator who takes the responsibility and changes the world according to the his order, state, vocation and possibilities. 

People possess many skills: to choose, to cooperate, to organize, that is why they should not level out these abilities and should not search for excuses of not  doing anything to keep abreast of the social and economic downturn.

The ruling layers, who self-legitimated over other citizens, take up criminal thinking, that is living at the expense of others. The ironic factor of the criminal system is that in society they begin to award and recognize those who cause the greatest harm to the public wealth and punish the victims of economic and political robberies themselves. Subduing the victim through economic theories and political ideologies rather than seeking the true root causes of decay, personal and social improvement is one way of creating financial and political monopolies and clans that use passive citizenship. Here the mission of power is deformed according to the teachings of the Bible: the gift of power is interpreted as for personal domination, not for serving people.

In addition, one of the factors of poverty – is dependence on something or somebody. Dependence slows the speed of decision making, artificially creates non-effective management, deforms the "basic instinct" of business, namely direct interest, and the distribution of profits.

One can be dependent on some product that affects the health of a person or of an institution, or ideological dependence – when person prefers some mythological ideologies to practical everyday work and personal self-improvement. Psychologists often call it "ideological schizophrenia", that is, the personality split when a person has intelligence, strength, and ability, but believes that others should do what she can or believe in the mythical ideologies of the future. The only way of cure – is the objective prevention of social consciousness, systematic empowerment of rights and community in practical work, legal education and science. You can put a rhetorical question – what is the priority for any organization: the development of an institution or the realization of a person? In most cases, the institution that makes effective system for realization of a person or a team is more successful. 

Thus, we have the following general conclusions. 

The effective tool for reforms is the perception of the gift of faith and trust to the Word of God, studying and learning of theology. The great force is not ideology, but a prayer to God, which helps a person to become more perfect and becomes a source of creativity. The second Commandment of God “love the neighbor as yourself” is the basis for the construction of the system, that is, not to do others that you do not want yourself.

The powerful catalyst for development is not investment or capital, but social institutions, among which is the family, the care for the community and the world. Sound family relations and public work were building the system of social safety and support. Care for children – is in its essence, the planning of strategy and tactics of the real economy and time of life for long periods of time.

A Christian, who has learnt and understood the Christian study, is never poor, Evangelization is a productive source for ideas and practices of the society reforms. 

So, in Ukraine, the reforms are only at the starting point: we do not fear them, but we recognize the truth and science that will free us of sloth and give a revival to a new life.

Social doctrine of the Church is very actual for people now. 

Zinoviy Svereda,

Doctor of social economics. 

 

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