How Does Anyone Think We Can Beat Poverty?

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A fun comment as part of Philip Alston’s poverty porn tour of the UK on behalf of the United Nations:

Alston wants to know why that is. However, the Scottish leg of his UK tour, before he gives his verdict on how the UK government is handling poverty, was dominated by another big question: should poverty essentially be made illegal?

Alston has campaigned for that approach for decades,

Ah, so we’ve definitely got someone impartial on this case then, yes? Something which makes my own interactions with him interesting. For if something is to be made illegal then we need a definition of what it is that we’re to make illegal. His actual response to that question having been, well, it’s very difficult, isn’t it?

But to the fun point from one of those mouths of babes and sucklings:

The United Nations rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights squeezed onto a school bench alongside a dozen children in one of Glasgow’s most deprived neighbourhoods and posed a question: “Who should help poor people?”

“The rich people,” Soroush, one of the children, shot back. “It’s unfair to have people earning billions of pounds and have other people living on benefits.”

That’s actually what we do. Take the money off those with billions and give it, as benefits, to other people. That is, despite the approval with which this wisdom is quoted, trying to solve poverty by abolishing benefits is going to be a retrograde step.

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