Monday, April 06, 2015

The Good Rich People and the Not so Good Poor

We grew up on the idea that rich people are "bad" and poor people are "nice". That the rich get that way through sucking other people's blood, and the poor remain poor because of the circumstances created by the rich.

I have been thinking of that idea a lot lately, and have arrived at a (purely personal) conclusion.. that the said idea is..BS. The only other widely accepted piece of BS that I know of is the Bell curve used for "Performance Management"  in companies around the world every year.

But, coming back to the idea of rich is bad and poor is good. Look around you.. at the "bad" rich people. What are they doing? They are donating to charity. They are living good, comfortable lives. They are also spending time with their families (as against the filmi stereotype of the rich mother who abandons her children with the nanny to go party), and they are doing things that "normal" people are supposed to do. When you hear the truly rich, you realise they are not just intelligent, they have worked hard, and they have been disciplined.

These people who are climbing the economic ladder, took the laborious route of education and industry. They produced fewer children and gave them better education.

And what are the "good" poor people doing? They are multiplying their numbers, guided by some very strong religious fervour, doing their duty to the religion before they have done their duty to their own offspring. They are also participating in riots, engaging in road rage, petty crime, and in general.. remaining poor so that they can demand a greater part of govt benefits. They look to the govt to solve all their problems - the children were borne by them but must be educated by the govt. They went to work overseas and sent the money to their families, but the rescue operation must be run by the govt, which, by the way, must persuade them that it is indeed, too dangerous to stay on. You see, we Indians can't see a civil war coming.

Of course these are sweeping stereotypes. Of course there are good poor people who are truly there either because of their luck or because of circumstances (read: Agriculture).

But the ones who are there, and remain there, because of their insistence on producing more children than they can feed, they cannot be counted among the "good" poor people. The ones who do not go for rehab, because if they are alcoholics, it gives them licence to keep beating the wife and children, they are not among the "good" poor people. The ones who insist that religion must guide their mistakes, but the State must pay for them, they are not the "good" poor people.

And therefore, that story that you read in your childhood - make that multiple stories, about the "good" poor people who earn their bread through honest means and the "bad" rich people who must necessarily have exploited others to become rich.. it was wrong.



Onkar said...


Himanshu Tandon said...

Hmm... I guess I agree :)

Z said...

I know good rich and bad rich, good poor and bad poor. And those of us who are somewhere in the middle - I suppose it's always like this. Well put in your post, things are never simple!

How do we know said...

Onkar sir: Thank you!

HT: Wow!! thanks!

Hi Z: Why am I not able to comment on your blog?! Thanks .. yes, they are not, but stereotypes are not always the best tools for simplification.

Manish Raj said...

Ha ha.. indeed yaar.. basically we have to come out of unconscious prejudice.. whichever side it refers..