I have another post to come soon, but I wanted to just jump in quickly with this. Recently I was ruminating on the concept of poverty and shame–how not being able to afford something had been cause for embarrassment for me, even though I’m generally quite good at budgeting. In both the post and the comments, the idea of blaming poor people for their predicament came up, so imagine my interest when I read about a study which found that being poor really seems to adversely affect one’s capacity to make good choices, or to think clearly. The study wanted to establish whether it were the situation which caused the person to make poor decisions, or whether people find themselves in poverty because they make poor decisions.
The result? Apparently, poor people are just like everyone else. It seems that those who are in financial dire straights are so overwhelmed by worry about how they are going to survive, that they find it difficult to make sensible, rational decisions. That is: being poor is hard. WHO KNEW?
Hopefully, publicising this kind of information can only help in ensuring that those in poverty are afforded the same respect as everyone else. And perhaps we can also affect change by really addressing the issues surrounding poverty–like corruption, mental and physical health, environmental factors–instead of demonising the poor.