I live in poverty for the same reason that most people live in poverty: I was born into it.
“Social mobility” of the US is about 1-2%. Only about 1-2% of the population ever changes their economic class from what they’re born into. Most of the richest people in the world are that way because their family was rich. They weren’t born into poverty, so they aren’t poor.
Considering the planet as a whole and all currently living human beings on it, almost no one has dollars with which to vote. I am fortunate in the regard that I have a friend of moderate means willing to share his wealth to support me. In that respect, I am an extreme minority. Most do not have that privilege.
To go into specifics, you need to understand that minimum wage does not pay the cost of living. Not all jobs are acceptable if your goal is to no longer be poor. Being able to pay the bills from month to month is not a sign of not being poor.
For my specific circumstances, I am an extreme outlier in many respects. I am autistic. I’m maladjusted for social interaction due to a long history of social abuse from “friends”, family, authority figures, acquaintances, strangers, and so on. I do not play well with others. I’ve spent most of my life working on being bare-minimum functional. I’ll probably go to my grave unable to communicate and interact harmonically with the vast majority of people.
Add on top of that, I lack credentials. I’ve spent 9 years in college as a dysfunctional student.
I do not wake during the day or sleep during the night in a regular cycle.
I do not drive. I can not afford a car. I do neither support the car culture nor the economic, and ecological destruction it entails. “Voting with my dollar” so to speak. The college is 20 miles from the city I’ve lived in most of my life, so missing the bus means missing the next hour or so of school time. The bus only comes a set, small number of times per day at limited and specific locations. I do not generally have friends that can or will help me when I miss the bus.
I do not play well with others. I have few friends that I can rely on, and I make few friends in going to college. I’m of exceptional intelligence and capability in those things that I am interested in. I often exceed the capacities of the professors and instructors I take classes from. We disagree on fundamental points & in methods. What is important to them is irrelevant to me and often irrelevant to the majority of the students in their class.
The work I do, and what I study on my own does not result in me being paid in money. What I do is important to the society as a whole, and it’s value can not be measured in principle in terms of money. Almost no one else is doing the work I am, and almost no one will in our lifetime. My work, like the work of Tesla, requires considerable time and effort to be put towards it; it will and does upset a bunch of apple carts. It is higher priority to me than the busy work handed out in college. My work is threatening to those who have established themselves in the currently predominate paradigm & institutions. My work is largely irrelevant to those interested in either simply living their lives with other people or interested in making money.
Potential employers, institutions, organizations, corporations, and such that might be interested in my work and willing to help me aren’t generally available to my local area. I have legitimate concerns that working for the US government will only lead to weaponization of my work and consolidation of power by exploitation of a select few private interests to gain further asymmetrical advantages in world-wide warfare & policing. Due to my existent poverty, I can not simply move to a more opportune place in which to seek employment. Likewise, due to my existent poverty, I am very limited in my means to actually capitalize on my work especially given its current immaturity.
I can go on, and I’m an exceptional example; none of this is intended as an excuse or an abandonment of personal or social responsibility. Indeed, as far as I am able to discern, I am acting as close to maximally responsible, both personally and socially, as I am able given my conditions. These are simply factors for why I’m in poverty & will probably continue to be in poverty for years, decades, or the rest of my life.
Success intellectually, logically, scientifically, philosophically, or technologically does not necessarily translate to success fiscally, socially, or economically. See Tesla, Socrates, and Charles S. Peirce for a few examples.
Ian D. Mclean in response to “What I don’t understand is,
How do you feel that the system is rigged against you? Is there a reason you are still near homelessness? I can understand if you got laid-off, and you now are forced to live with your farmer friend. But is there a reason you can’t get another job? Or if you already have one, why are [you] still in poverty?”