"The best place to be poor is where the richest people are" - Leon Louw

Also read the following related article:

- South Africa’s two richest people have wealth equal to the poorest 26.5-million

The idea that poverty is inevitable is proclaimed by religions all over the world and therefore accepted by many as a given. But is it true? Is poverty an inescapable fact of life for as long as human beings exist?

“Yes, it is inevitable for a very simple reason,” explains Free Market Foundation Executive Director Leon Louw. “There will always be ‘poverty’, because poverty is relative. Compared to billionaires, millionaires are poor. In rich countries, being poor means you cannot afford an iPad; in poor countries, you cannot feed your family. The religious texts assume that no matter how well-off a society may be, certain people in that society will have less than others and they will, relatively speaking, be poor.”

Religious texts offer a solution to the problem of ever-present poverty, according to Louw. “Wealthy people should be charitable and help those who are poor. Nowhere does any religion speak of redistribution.”

Equality is impossible

"The idea of ‘equality’ is a pipedream," says Louw. "For example, if you are young, healthy, beautiful and brilliant how do we make you equal (materially speaking) to someone who is old, sick, ugly and stupid? The concept of equality is nonsense! Even the Gini coefficient is trash, because it equates having money with being well-off.”

Louw says we need to raise the wellbeing of human beings in general, especially those at the bottom. "We should provide housing, water, healthcare and security for those that have none.

“Raising the quality of life of poor people should be the goal, not trying to create monetary equality which is, in fact, an illusion. We are so busy trying to make the superrich less rich that we are forgetting to focus on uplifting the destitute.”

"How will half price CEOs be better for the poor?"

Louw calls the attention given to the income of CEOs a “bizarre and sick feeding frenzy”. “How will having half price CEOs be better for the poor? It won’t be!” says an exasperated Louw.

Countries with the world’s highest wages have the world’s wealthiest executives, says Louw. “They also have the best paid ‘poor’ people!”

The formula for prosperity, according to Louw, is no mystery. "All countries that are or have been rich started in poverty. Market liberalisation enabled previously poor countries to prosper."

Listen to the Soundcloud clip for more detail.

Also read the following related article:

- South Africa’s two richest people have wealth equal to the poorest 26.5-million


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