Thursday, July 03, 2008


Some stupid Finnish-language newspaper that mum reads on the net had published a list of "10 Reasons You Aren't Rich", taken from the US economy magazine The Street.

Mum isn't rich, so she read it out aloud and tried to see if it applied to her. But it occurred to us that this list wasn't about people who are actually poor, but about people who have a high income and pretty good jobs, but squander their income like idiots. I can kind of agree with the point about "You have no goals", but setting goals and following them through can be so much harder depending on your background and other circumstances.

Read the original article by Jeffrey Strain (pictured above left).


Now, here are 10 possible reasons for why you aren't rich when you really aren't rich:

1. You don't have enough education or work experience to be qualified for a job that will pay above minimum wage, or one that will even pay minimum wage.

2. You have no access to affordable health care, but you and/or your family are ill, and so, all your earnings go to paying for healthcare.

3. You are discriminated against in the education system, the labour market and society in general due to gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, your looks, your name, your class or the area you live in.

4. Neoliberalism and globalisation took your job (and most other jobs you could get) to other countries where labour is cheaper. High unemployment makes it hard to get a job, while the government ignores the actual causes for unemployment and keeps blaming you, the unemployed, and implements all kinds of crazy methods for making unemployment go away on the paper, such as government-subsidized jobs, shifting people from unemployment benefit to welfare instead, or group "job hunting" for unemployed on the internet under surveillance of unemployment office workers.

5. Employers prefer to hire subsidized workers (such as government sponsored "trainees") or teenagers (who do not require good pay or good job conditions) instead of hiring you.

6. You have been born into poverty, making it hard to get a job (no networks, lack of examples or mentor figures to follow, discrimination, self-discrimination); without a job it is hard or impossible to pay for schooling, without a degree, you can't get a good job; without a good job, you can't support your family; and when you are not able to support your family it is, again, hard for them to break out of poverty.

7. Ownership of land in your area is concentrated in the hands of a small number of people who are only interested in enriching themselves - this applies to landowners in agriculture and also landlords who rent out apartments. There may be new agricultural policies in your country, geared towards cash crops and large-scale production in the hands of few, which are denying you the possibility to live off your family's small-scale farm and forcing your country to rely on imported basic foodstuffs.

8. Erosion, desertification, overgrazing, drought or deforestation has taken away your food or means of production, and you don't get enough (or any) help from your government.

9a. The wealthy in your country have shifted their assets to tax havens, or your government gives the wealthy generous tax cuts, depriving your government of tax revenue needed for education, healthcare, pensions and other things that would help fight poverty.

9b. Your government does take in tax revenues, but does not invest it in poverty-alleviating things like education and healthcare.

10. The ones who have superfluous resources still opt to keep them for themselves instead of sharing them with you who have not enough.