"I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it."
Benjamin Franklin (1705 - 1790)
Those sound like the words of an adult. They are the words of a leader.
Why would people want to be in an "easy" poverty? What is easy about that?
And why would a leader want people to be in an "easy" poverty? Where is that leading them? It is leading them to a controlled corral. And where is that?
Franklin viewed every individual as a potential entrepreneur, when properly encouraged!
And where does that start? In his view, education.
But Franklin did not have a "formal" education as we would understand it now. How did he get educated?
He educated himself by involving himself in many things. And apprenticing in what interested him the most - like printing. He apprenticed to his brother, James.
But, at 15, and a mere apprentice, Ben wanted to write for the paper. How could this be done by a mere apprentice? Writing was something that brother James would never let him do.
So he began writing letters to the editor at night, signing them the name of a fictional widow of his invention, "Silence Dogood." He slipped the letters under the door to the paper at night. They were printed and became an instant hit. Everyone wanted to know who the widow was! A year or so later, he admitted to writing them. His brother was very jealous at all the attention everyone paid to the "precocious and funny" Ben.
And thus it began for Ben. This style was continued later in life with his "Poor Richard's Almanac."
Ben got himself out of poverty by becoming an all around person!
So, in our fast, tedious, difficult society, how do we lead people out of poverty, especially when so many want to sit on the sofa, as they say, and simply receive a check?
Remember, that check does not get them out of poverty! It simply makes it easier to stay in it! As Franklin said.
Activities that are subsidized (financed essentially) grow. Activities that are taxed do not grow.
As our gubment goes about making life more and more difficult, more and more tedious, condemning, as it were, and driving people out of or away from entrepreneurship, Franklin would do it differently.
He would make conditions leading to entrepreneurship easier, thus leading those away from poverty as they are attracted to a better life.
What drives the poor out of poverty? The poor themselves! As they see what is available to them.
Franklin then went about trying to create a society, and an economics therein, that was conducive to and encouraging toward individual development, individual freedoms and liberty, and individual progress.
WE FIND OURSELVES AT A CROSSROADS - DO WE WANT TO GET BACK TO INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM AND LIBERTY OR FURTHER AWAY TOWARD DIFFICULTY AND TEDIOUSNESS? FOR CERTAINLY, WE ARE MOVING RAPIDLY TOWARD THE LATTER.