“The world’s most ‘primitive’ people have few possessions, but they are not poor. Poverty is not a certain small amount of goods, nor is it just a relation between means and ends; above all it is a relation between people. Poverty is a social status. As such it is the invention of civilization. It has grown with civilization, at once as an invidious distinction between classes and more importantly as a tributary relation.”
– Marshall Sahlins (1930 – )
There is a distinction between poverty and being poor. Wealth is not merely a measure of how much money or stuff you have. Material wealth has been created as a function of civilization to create a hierarchy, to put certain groups above other groups. The higher people scramble up the ladder, the more power is being hoarded at the expense of others. Sahlins almost implies that class distinctions is the product of an age old conspiracy.
Hold the phone. A “conspiracy” implies that the creation of poverty, classes, class warfare was consciously planned. However, it seems that whatever was planned in the beginning (if anything was planned) has spiraled way out of control. While the big wigs, corporations, the powers that be may be manipulative scumbags, it is not too far-fetched to believe that they don’t have a clue about this “plan” anymore than you or I do. Forgive them, for even they know not what they do.