Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eradicating poverty

According to a recent survey by pollster Social Weather Stations (SWS), the number of Filipino families experiencing hunger dropped by about one million in late May. From a record-high 23.8 percent last March, hunger rate fell to 18.4 percent as of late May, SWS said in a report published on its media partner BusinessWorld.

SWS said the new figure translates to some 3.8 million hungry families, down from a high of 4.8 million families last March.

Meanwhile, the number of Filipino families that consider themselves poor has declined, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) claimed in its new report where it also noted self-rated food poverty gains.

A May 24-27 survey, the results of which were made exclusive to BusinessWorld, found 51% of the respondents -- equivalent to an estimated 10.3 million households -- rating themselves as poor. This was down four points from March’s 55% (11.1 million families), the highest poverty score so far under the current Aquino administration.

With regard to being poor in terms of food, meanwhile, 39% of the respondents (estimated 7.9 million families) claimed to be so, six points down from the prior survey’s 45% (9.1 million).

Government officials said sustained anti-poverty programs were responsible, adding that this would lead to further gains.

In America, its war on poverty has so far cost American taxpayers $15 trillion since 1964. And despite such astonishing funding, America remains coping with a poverty rate that has barely budged, an entrenched bureaucracy, and a population — like that of Greece and Portugal, two welfare-state basket cases — increasingly dependent on government handouts.

These are the conclusions of a recent Cato Institute report on the American welfare state by Michael Tanner, Cato’s director of health and welfare studies and author of The Poverty of Welfare: Helping Others in Civil Society.

“The vast majority of current programs are focused on making poverty more comfortable — giving poor people more food, better shelter, health care, and so forth — rather than giving people the tools that will help them escape poverty,” Tanner remarks. “The best way to create wealth,” he explains, “is not through government action, but through the power of the free market.”

As for the tools to help the poor rise out of poverty, how about creating programs to change their mindset as proposed by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer?  He is the author of Real Magic – Creating miracles in daily life.

In his book, Dr. Dyer basically points out that everything we need to acquire prosperity has always been within us, but we must first eliminate the hindrance—the scarcity consciousness—which prevents us from experiencing abundance in our life. He illustrates this principle with the following story:

A man who was ragged and appeared to be without anything in a physical sense came upon a road boss and said, “Can you help me? I need work.”

The road boss said, “Fine, take that large boulder over there and roll it up and down the hill. If you need work that will fulfill your need.”

The man said, “You don’t understand, what I really need is money.

The boss replied, “Oh, if it is only money that you need, here is fifty dollars. But you cannot spend it.”

Again, the man was perplexed. “You don’t understand, what I really need is food and fuel and clothing, not just money.”

The boss again replied, “If you are sure that this is really what you need, then spend the money for food, fuel and clothing, but don’t eat the food, or burn the fuel or wear the clothing.”

The man was finally forced to look at what he really needed, which was a sense of security, peace and inner satisfaction. All totally invisible, all within the mind. All divine sustenance.

The author further claims, “What you need, you already have, and when you know it, and go within and create it in your mind, the divine sustenance you seek in the form of material things or money will be manifested in whatever amounts needed.”

That whenever we say to ourselves, “I don’t have enough money,” “The economy is bad these days,” “I don’t have the appropriate educational background,” or, “I didn’t come from the right family and therefore, will never get the promotion and earn the money I want,” we are operating in our mental world from a position of lack or the underprivileged. Therefore, we deprive our own self the opportunity of going into the world of real magic; hence unable to experience a life of prosperity and abundance.

Dr. Dyer also mentions of the time he was accused of having a cavalier attitude toward the poor by a radio talk show host when he was a guest on his program. Dr. Dyer’s contention was that being broke is a temporary state of affairs that afflicts everyone at some point in life, but being poor is an attitude, a set of beliefs that gets reinforced when we shift to blaming life circumstances for the condition of poverty.

One of the incoming calls in response to this radio conversation was from a physician in Washington, D.C., who had grown up in a family of thirteen children in appalling poverty in Jamaica. He disagreed with the host, saying:

I lived in dirt-poor conditions all of my life. I mean hungry, starving poverty. But I always had a vision of myself as a doctor. I could not lose that vision, and I would always tell my grandmother about that picture in my head. She was raising all of us on practically no income, and she always told me to never, but never, let the picture become blurred. She told me about the value of that inner picture, and that I always kept it, and believed in it, I would only have that picture to act upon.

As I got older and finished high school, I applied to several schools in premed curricula, and I was rejected over and over again, but I could not shake that picture that my grandmother helped me to have as a ragtag little boy playing with the chickens in our little hut in Jamaica. Finally I was given a conditional opportunity to enroll in a premed program in Europe, and I worked my way there and through school.

Today I am a physician with a thriving practice. Without that vision, without that invisible picture in mind, I could never have escaped the life of poverty that continues today for most of my brothers and sisters and all of my friends there. They live in poverty and believe that life dealt them a stacked deck, and that I was lucky. But I know better. I am living the life I pictured for myself.

And Dr. Dyer, don’t you ever let anyone dissuade you from telling the truths that you know, because you are doing much more to help those in horrible circumstances than those who buy the big lie that their lives are beyond their own control.

Dr. Dyer asks his readers to suspend any erroneous beliefs that these truths apply exclusively to him, the doctor in Washington, D.C. and to a chosen few, but has nothing to do with any of us. In actuality, it has everything to do with all of us.

He argues that these truths transcend individual lives because it involves universal laws and principles that were here long before we all showed up in our physical form. He’s simply reporting on what he knows to be true for his own self and many others. That if you want to experience prosperity in a miraculous level, he suggests that you must leave behind your old ways of thinking and develop a new way of imagining what is possible for you to experience in your life.

The old tried and true adage supports Dr. Wayne Dyer's principle: Thoughts manifest themselves.

Ask and you shall receive, applies as well.

By Wayne W. Dyer

Suggested reads: 

New York Times: Is poverty a kind of robbery? 

Inquirer News: Turning poverty into opportunity

New York Times - Doughnuts defeating poverty

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E is for Eradicating Poverty - ABC Wednesday and Our World Tuesday


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  1. This is a very important post. Dr. Wayne Dyer's principle is interesting, yet some people are too weak to hungry and too exhausted to fend for themselves. They live in the wrong places and can only be helped by somebody who takes them out of the situation they live in.

    1. Hi Reader Wil,

      "They live in the wrong places and can only be helped by somebody who takes them out of the situation they live in."

      This has been the Philippine government's main solution with squatters living in shanties all over Metro Manila. The government relocate them in the suburbs and provide them with some money for their move. Unfortunately, most of them sell their government-provided plots and return back to Metro Manila. The reason: They have no means to sustain themselves in their new locale.

      This is the reason why governments should provide "tools" for these people to adopt abundance and prosperity mindset. As people like Dwayne Dyer stress, "Poverty is a mental disease."

      Another good solution is for the government to provide a community farm for these people to wherein they can be taught organic/natural farming. They can sell their products -- vegetables, livestock and free range chickens -- to restaurants and thus, start making money through this cooperative effort.


      Tito Eric

  2. poverty certainly is a significant issue.
    The only Wayne Dyer book I ever read was Your Erroneous Zones, which I read in the winter of 1978, which did have a great impact on me, since I can remember when I read it!

    ROG, ABC Wednesday team

    1. Hi Roger,

      It certainly is!

      Wayne Dyer is indeed one of my favorite contemporary thinkers/writers.

      I'm glad, by the way, to have discovered ABC Wednesday!


      Tito Eric

  3. I agree with both Dr. Dyer and reader Wil. One needs a vision to escape poverty. I know from personal experience. At the same time, I do believe you can grow weary along the road to your vision if you never have a helping hand or if it takes so long to reach your destination. Some people have more innate ability to motivate and encourage themselves than others. Then there are others who are just plain lazy, don't have any motivation and don't care to change...these latter ones need something to shake them out of their lethargy. How does one encourage and motivate the masses if they are poor? I think free education at least until one finishes high school is critical to people staying motivated and having vision. There are a few that don't need education and can still make a huge success of themselves but these are few and far between.

    An interesting post anyway. Well done!

    1. I whole-heartedly agree with you, Joyful. One must have a vision of better, more desirable conditions as he/she fit, and then find ways to manifest them!

  4. A wonderful, thought-provoking post. We all need to look at how we approach life.

    1. So true! We sometimes take things for granted ... things considered great blessings by others, especially those less fortunate.