Xiphias Gladius (xiphias) wrote,

Different kinds of poverty

So I've been talking to my sister's fiance, and he was talking about growing up poor. And I realized that there is a difference between "redneck poor" and "urban poor". They both suck, and I don't know that one sucks worse than the other, but they suck differently. With "redneck poor", there are still resources available, which require specific training to extract. If you live in a place with lots of game, fish, and edible plants, and you know how to track, hunt, fish, and gather, you're not going to go hungry. But those are NOT trivial skills.

There are different sets of survival skills that you need in different poverty contexts. Urban poverty survival is about dealing with people in groups and organizations. Rural poverty survival is about dealing with individuals and smaller groups, and nature.

The notion of "self-reliance" is fundamentally absurd in an urban setting. Urban settings are entirely communal. "Self-reliance" in a rural setting is more believable, but, in a world with seven billion humans on it, requires a lot of behind-the-scenes resource management to be possible: no matter how good a fisherman you are, if industry is allowed to dump into riverways, there isn't going to be anything to catch. So even rugged individualism requires government oversight.

But the experiences of both forms of poverty are very different.
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