Can We End Poverty?

While poverty is a subjective term, it is a fact that, right now, not the marketplace, public policy, nor charitable giving consistently covers the necessities that so many people in this country desperately need. Millions must choose between healthy food, adequate housing, reliable health insurance, quality childcare, and many other essentials because their job doesn’t pay a living wage, or they cannot work for various justifiable reasons.

Meanwhile, many of the wealthiest Americans pay no income tax and do an outstanding job of converting taxable income into protected wealth, playing a massive role in keeping America’s public coffers without the resources to address this situation, along with other needs. Similarly, tax loopholes allow U. S. companies to create “headquarters” in other (low-tax) counties to escape paying their fair share in this country.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’


From a different perspective, many well-intentioned people point to various religious texts that say, in effect, the poor will always be with us. But there is theological debate over whether this means there will always be poor people or, coming at it from a completely different angle, advising those with means to have an affinity or allegiance with those of extremely limited resources over the “needs” of those who either do all right or, more to the point, have considerable resources that could help meet more needs in this country.

On the political front, many wonder if anybody is worth enough to be a billionaire. Did you know that there are 614 billionaires? The wealthiest 400, in fact, hold $3.2 trillion in assets. A slice of those resources could go a long way toward meeting the needs of our poorest neighbors.

If the pandemic has taught us anything, when those in government decide to help the poor, our existing programs do a pretty good job at alleviating their immediate needs?

Can we end poverty? Should we at least give it a try?

Related questions: What is the greatest problem facing humanity? How will the economy be impacted by COVID-19? What is the purpose of money? How do we turn ideas into actions?

What Makes A Good Citizen?

Most people want to be a good citizen of the place where they live: their city, state, country, or world. But what, exactly, does that mean?

A good citizen must contribute, in a positive way, to the community in which they live. That positive contribution might take the form of supporting the other community members, by building something others can use, or perhaps providing a necessary service.

But is that enough? There may be instances where an individual does a job that is necessary for others in the community to thrive. But at the same time, he or she might undermine some segments of that society, through racism, or some other bias.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What are our responsibilities to others?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘Are we too busy?’


One can easily imagine how self-interest might come into conflict with community service. Ideally, the benefit of the individual and the group would be aligned. However, that won’t always be the case. In fact, the two may inevitably be in conflict, as an individual may have to sacrifice certain opportunities for personal growth for a larger societal good.

What are the attributes that you think make for a good member of a society? Community service? Voting in elections? Checking on your neighbors? Living in the same place for a long time? Owning a small business? Paying taxes? What other examples can you think of?

What make a good citizen? Do you think you are a good citizen?

Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What makes a community? Did you vote? Individual or society?

 

Are People Inherently Good?

When you think about other people, do you consider that they are inherently good? That they need to struggle with the forces of the world that would make them behave against their better nature?

Or instead, do people start out as essentially greedy, selfish, and lazy? And if they are lucky or disciplined enough, they can overcome these inherent faults to lead a worthwhile life?


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable podcast, where Michael and Lee discuss the questions ‘How do you define success?’ and ‘Is happiness the most important purpose of life?’


Even if you believe the answer is somewhere in the middle, is it closer to one side or the other?

Does your opinion change on the person or people you are considering? Do friends and family fall into one camp, but strangers in another? What about how you view yourself?

How does time change your answer? Do you think you would have answered this question differently, say, 10 years ago? Is the answer different for children rather than adults?

Finally, what does your answers say about you, and how you view the world?

Related questions: What does it mean to be a good person? How do you judge yourself? To what should we aspire? Who are your role models?

What Does Spirituality Mean To You?

The word “spirituality” means different things to different people.

For some, the word may conjure up visions of a religious ceremony, attended by a cleric, with or without a choir and a sacred text.

Others might think of healing crystals and psychic readings.

Some people think spirituality simply means a walk in the woods, listening to the gentle sounds of nature.

Each person must decide the right way for him or her to commune with something greater than themselves.

Do you have a preferred way? Perhaps meditation? Praying? Ouija board? Tarot deck? Magic eight ball?

What does spirituality mean to you? Are there certain rituals you follow? And how did you come to your views on this very personal belief?

Related questions: Do you believe in the supernatural? Are science and religion compatible? What gives you purpose?

Democracy Or Tyranny?

Democracy or tyranny?

Democracy Or Tyranny?