Rumination about Poverty

Phuoc Huu Hoang on LinkedIn: Rumination about Poverty

Rumination about Poverty

By Hoang Huu Phuoc of Vietnam


Nelson Mandela once said, “Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.”

Personally, I consider the above saying impractically naïve and not profound enough. Everything is partly man-made, poverty is mostly natural, and just like pandemics, any action of human beings can never eradicate either poverty or pandemics which both are preordained to accompany human beings close at their very heels. Eradicating poverty is never as easy as one-two-three.

The question is why poverty not only has remained unsolvable but will also keep on haunting people unstoppably. Not every man-made thing can be overcome and eradicated by man, simply because those who create “man-made” things are never ever those who dream of eradicating such “man-made” things. Small groups of scientists unstoppably producing atomic bombs are not amongst those huge groups of naïve people crying in vain for nuclear disarmament and preventing or stopping nuclear arm races.

Semantically, probably only the Vietnamese language can help shed a light on this issue. “Con người” (human beings) and “con vật” (non-human beings – i.e. animal, e.g. “con chó” dog, “con cù lần” mongoose, “con khủng long” dinosaur, etc.) both have the word “con” (i.e. animal-typed or animal-based or animal-cored), implying both human beings and non-human beings are basically in their truest selves inheriting the so-called “prey-cum-predator instinct”.  Such an instinct ignites such problems like slavery and apartheid and racial discrimination and social alienation and myriads of the negative like for the so-called predators to take advantages from the so-called preys. And as long as human beings still dominate the Earth – even if human being all became non-human beings or vice versa – poverty stubbornly remains never solvable.  

There is still an obvious difference making Nelson Mandela’s saying less eloquently convincing. Whilst slavery and apartheid were made only by men of power to get profited from exploitation of the majority in destitution, poverty may result from either the impoverishment imposed by the powerful entities upon the mishaps or the wrong choices of individuals. Slavery and apartheid were man-made, but they were not removed by the actions of the victims of those problems. They were removed – I doubt if this removal were a fact – by small groups of people of political elites in partisanly fighting against their political powerful opponents.

Poverty is affected by any factor, ranging from wrong choices of individuals, bad fates, or Acts of God, to economic crises, governmental debts, or social unrest – to name just a few – which all can hardly be removed, regardless of how united the whole world can be. This is the very reason why the “accident” of poverty will be eternally unsolved and thus haunting the people worldwide till Doomsday.

Religion comes after religion and teachings of wisdom come after teachings of wisdom, but the rich still need the existence of the poor in order to distinctly be called the rich and of the impoverished in order to pretentiously do charity works to provide alms to the poor, either politically or for personal branding. And this is how the world rolls on and on on its bumpy road of short-termed glory to the destined gruesome pit of long-termed perdition.

Hoang Huu Phuoc, May 01, 2021, on LinkedIn at

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