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Posts Tagged ‘money’

Why do the poor not have money?

In Why on 22 December 2015 at 10:57 am

We pick up our conversation on Talking about Poverty with Toddlers with further musings on a question that followed from Why doesn’t Gandhi have clothes?

The question is:  Why do the poor not have money?
Note that the question is not “why is there poverty?”  One might say that poverty is defined as not having money but that is the definition of financial poverty.  One may have money and yet suffer cultural or nutritional poverty.  Recently the Times of India carried a report on the rich who eat poorly.   The increasing cases of malnourishment among the rich now have their own term, mall-nourishment.  There are people with money who suffer time-poverty.
One could ask: why do the rich have no time?  But to have no time is considered a status symbol, and is associated with being in demand, which by the laws of supply and demand, should make one rich.  Or at least expensive.
When we ask why the poor have no money we must also ask why the rich have money.  Such conversations can be really interesting and one should approach them with plenty of time, a brave heart, and a wide open mind.
This reminds me of something from a while ago …
During the major World Bank protest of 2000 I spoke to a first-grade class in Washington, DC.  It was on a sudden request from one of the local organizers who spotted me speaking at an event. I spontaneously said yes.  I had not prepared for how I was going to tell six-year-old children about why we were protesting the World Bank and IMF.

Why doesn’t Gandhi have clothes?

In Why on 25 August 2015 at 2:24 pm

We were recently reading a book on Grandpa Gandhi to my 3 yr old.  The picture of Gandhi with his naked body caught her imagination and she got started on her “why?”   It started out with me explaining that Gandhiji doesn’t wear a shirt and ending in why do the poor not have any money.  Here is part of our conversation:

Gandhi spinning cotton on the charkha. Image: WIkimedia Commons.

Gandhi spinning cotton on the charkha. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

N: Gandhi tata ke paas kapde kyon nahin hain?

Why doesn’t Grandpa Gandhi have clothes?

M: Kyonki unke pas paise nahin the… wo garib the.

Because he did not have money.  He was poor.

[At this Bala corrected me with a better answer/correct reason.]

M: Kyonki wo garib logon ki tarah rahna chahte the.  

Because he wanted to live like the poor.

N: kyon? Why?

Read the rest of this entry »

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