“Poor Us” – Thoughts on the Documentary

This animated documentary by Why Poverty made me wonder–can we ever truly escape from poverty while still retaining security? The clip above shows us the history of poverty in the world… and it has been quite pervasive.

At the dawn of time, poverty was almost non-existent. Hunter-gatherers had everything they needed–food, shelter, and family–and it took much less effort than it takes us now. So why did people begin to abandon this to live together in larger societies which had a class structure? Well it is simple: Security. Although they may have had everything they needed, everything just as easily could be taken from them. Bad weather, animal attacks, or disease were still of a daily concern. So, by living together in groups, people could more easily protect themselves and escape from those dangers. This allowed people to create separate jobs, so one person could focus on farming, and others could focus on other trades to benefit the society as a whole.

Society, however, isn’t perfect. Society needs rules. And rules, generally speaking, have an implied class structure–there must be a group who makes rules, a group who enforces rules, and a group who chooses whether or not to follow those rules. A group of people must be chosen to take on the roles of making and
enforcing laws. But, as we know, power corrupts, and over time those in power
grew to abuse it. This left those who had no power to lose that security which they wished to gain.

The video above shows that time and time again, people throughout history have lost this security which they wanted, and it shows us that poverty is a cycle that many can not escape. It has been prominent in human life for as long as recorded history. Is it simply that poverty is necessary for society to work? Or is it simply the corrupt who cause others to suffer?

By Nicholas Evangelista

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