Is Communism the Solution to Poverty in the United States?
When the average American thinks of poverty, we think of someone in a below-average earning household. My thoughts immediately go to children I went to school with. Many students came from uneducated families (less than high school diploma) who weren’t sure if they’d have dinner that night or when their next meal would be. Poverty is about not having enough money to meet basic necessities including food, clothing, healthcare, and shelter. However, poverty is much more than just not having enough money. According to The World Bank Organization, poverty can be described as…
“...hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.
Poverty has many faces, changing from place to place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often, poverty is a situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action -- for the poor and the wealthy alike -- a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and health, protection from violence, and a voice in what happens in their communities.”
On September 12, 2017 the United States Census Bureau released its annual poverty report, which declared that a record 40.6 million people, or roughly one in eight Americans, were in poverty in 2016. This is 2.5 million less than in 2015 and 6 million less than in 2014. Although the current recession has increased the numbers of the poor, high levels of poverty predate the recession. In most years for the past two decades, the Census Bureau has declared that at least 35 million Americans lived in poverty.
While exploring the topic of poverty, I often think of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which is set in AD 2540. Capitalism doesn’t seem to be working well in the United States for 40.6 million people, so why not try communism? Richard D. Wolff from Truthout says “...instances of instability include the Great Depression (1929-1941) and the Great Recession since 2008, plus eleven "downturns" in the US between those two global collapses. Each time, millions lost jobs, misery soared, poverty worsened and massive resources were wasted. Leaders promised that their ‘reforms’ would prevent such instability from recurring.” Despite its’ negative connotations, communism would be helpful in eradicating poverty and allowing everyone to live a successful life.
Communism can be defined as “a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party”. While most people would feel (understandably) threatened if our government tried to take away individual freedom, the removal of these freedoms could eradicate poverty, provide systematic healthcare, solve...