(The principal of a large school in Bombay gave us a list of frequently asked questions by 13 year old children in her school and asked us whether we can prepare answers in the light of a spiritual perspective. When we looked at the question we found that they are not mere “kid-stuff.” Most of them are either fundamental and existential questions related to world and God or psychological problems faced by most of us. This series is an attempt to answer these questions from the children’s perspective in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We don’t know how far we have succeeded in communicating to the children. Nevertheless, we hope these answer may be of some help to teachers and parents who have to deal with children. There are around thirty questions with answers given in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We will post these questions at regular intervals.)
Why there is Poverty?
There are many causes of poverty. It may be due to lack of capacity to create wealth, which means lack of knowledge, efficiency, hardwork, vital energy enterprise and other qualities needed for creating prosperity. Or else it may be due to environmental condition like lack of resources or born in a poor family. But one of the main causes of poverty at the collective level is lack of equitable distribution of wealth for the whole population. And one of the major factors behind this unequal distribution of wealth is the exploitation and greed of a few rich and powerful people, who mop up most of the resources and wealth of the community, leaving the rest of the vast majority in a state of poverty and deprivation. Mahatma Gandhi once said there is sufficient resources in the world to fulfill the needs of all but not the greeds. So, to eliminate poverty and create prosperity for all, the following conditions have to be fulfilled:
1. Developing the capacity to create wealth through efficient and productive utilization of available resources, which in our modern age requires expertise in technology and management and the qualities and temperament of the entrepreneur.
2. Enabling each individual to find a gainful work which is in harmony with his/her natural temperament and capacities.
3. A culture of compassion, sharing and giving which leads to a voluntary redistribution of wealth, from the rich to the poor.
4. An economic, social and political environment which actively promotes, encourages and rewards creation as well as distribution of wealth.
5. A system of education which inculcates the above values.