ravings of man LO28570

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 05/21/02

Replying to LO28560 --

Dear Organlearners,

John Zavacki <systhinc@msn.com> writes:

>I send prayers and empathy, and no advice. Poverty
>and knowledge are inextricablty interwoven. For us to
>solve for one family in the equation, we must teach and
>teach and.....

Greetings dear John,

Thank you for your kind words.

What troubles me about this family and thousands of others like them just
here in Pretoria, is that ten years ago they knew not poverty. What they
knew then is not worth at all now to help them get out of this poverty.

Furthermore, our country has been transformed radically from the system of
apartheid to an open democracy. All the social and state support systems
to relieve poverty is just not capable to do it anymore. Poverty among all
races is rising. A fact that i have to accept is that the poor will always
be us. But a fact that i cannot accept in the same sense, not even with
one brain cell, is that the persentage of poor people is increasing, here
and also most other countries of the world. This family is but one among
billions who was not poor, but who now is poor.

>To solve for world hunger is beyond me, or anyone
>I know on this list. I've sat back and watched the
>"scope creep" become scope exponention and I
>won't be able to get any farther with planet earth
>than I have with my own state in the US.

Yes, I agree with you that the era of individuals bringing relief to
poverty is at its end. We need the power of organisation to combat
poverty. But where to begin?

DP Dash in "Ideas from meeting LO-list participants LO28554" made an
important distinction between Local Improvement and Global Improvement. He
writes: "Whereas the former relates to a specific context of action, the
latter aspires to escape the context and enable improvements to be
replicated in multiple contexts."

Helping this family is clearly a Local Improvement. Helping thousands of
others in Pretoria is also a Local Improvement because of some million
others in our country. To the north of our country in the rest of Africa
the situation is far, far worse. All the peoples of a whole continent are
dying because of having become too poor in a world of which some other
countries have gotten richer. Why? They could organise themselves better!

Now some would argue -- organise yourself in the same manner to become
better. This is exactly the recipe of organisations like the IMF, WB and
many UN agencies. However, the shocking fact is that they do not become
better, but even faster worse! This rote copying is failing clearly.

If helping this famliy is an Local Improvement, what will the Global
Improvement be. I cannot help but to think that our formal educational
systems have to be transformed drastically. Teach children how to create
jobs for themselves rather that being trained for well defined jobs in
organised society. Some times I wonder if the world of humankind has
become locally too organised, leaving too many humans globally out of
these organisations.

>We can help, one to one, with gifts of love and
>knowledge. Anything else requires a state with truly
>loves and understands the society for which it claims
>to be infrastructure. These are painful questions, painful
>answers. Best of luck, AT.

Our own government, fortunately, sees that it does not have the means to
turn the rising tide of poverty. It is asking for organised society to act
as partner. But for some reason organised society see this request as a
clever way of government to shift its political responsibility to society.

Thank you for your best wishes. We have in our local community some who
say -- leave the poor to look after themselves. Those who break out of
poverty without help would have done so with help too. Those who stay poor
without help will stay poor even with help. Yes, they are stating facts.
But these are not all the facts.

A fact we are confronted with daily in our country, is how the support
organisations of society and government are failing increasingly to give
the support intended. This is for me an important cause in the increase of
poverty. I see it happening even in countries who boast that they have
little poverty. They are just incapable of seeing the slow, but steady,
increase in poverty. It will take a longer time for the paw-paw to hit the
fan in those countries than for countries in the third world, but hit will
it hit.

It makes me think of the parable of the boiled frog. First there is a slow
increase in spiritual poverty, but not in material poverty. This go on
unnoticed. Then at a certain stage it initiates a slow increase in
material poverty. This go on noticed, but with hope that better times will
come again rather than knowledge that it will not. But then suddenly, one
straw more breaks the camel's back. The frog dies.

With care and best wishes,


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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