can the poor flourish? (living on $500 for a month)…

Last time I wrote about the idea of flourishing and wondered about whether it is a concept for those of us in the 1% of the world. Considering the challenge, the question is about how much energy and attention survival takes really. Is there anything left over to flourish with? So, this month I set myself a challenge.

My goal is to live on $500 for this month. This does not include the mortgage, which is way more than that. It is just for cost of living – food, bills, fuel. I should also point out that when I set this challenge a week ago, I had just filled up the car a couple of days prior. I also have a fridge, freezer and pantry which are pretty well stocked. I had also bought enough dog biscuits a month back for about 9 weeks, so would not need to get any during this time. So, my starting point is well ahead of the average poor person. All of these somewhat reduce the challenge.

I also have 2 lunches for work this week that will come out of work expenses, and therefore not impact on the budget. Last weekend I wanted to buy some dive gear, the total cost only about $80, but I decided to put it off for this month. These are privileges that the poor have no access to – after all, they have no work budget for expenses.

So far, I spent just on $77. Sounds easy, right? I need some new iron tablets and an asthma pump, these will cost about that much this week. Plus any more food I want, and fuel. I have the advantage of deciding that the health expenses can break the budget and I can ignore the break if needed. The poor have no such option.

They also could not put off purchases until next month, because there would be no money next month for them. Therefore, whatever they spend is gone, what they need must be carefully managed and evaluated all the time. I think that creates a stress in itself. The thinking “should I get this, shouldn’t I?” And in the end even if you need something like an asthma pump, you do not buy it because there simply is no money.

How do we live in a world where children go hungry and we let it happen? How do we, the 1%, do things better? How is justice achieved? I wish I had answers…

Explore posts in the same categories: Take time to think

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