Poverty and its connection to depreciating health and criminal behavior is an ongoing interest of mine. Before I stumbled across a very pertinent article today, I was already in the throes of writing this short blog post. Such thoughts have been brewing.
It always kind of bothers me when I hear people with top-notch, executive and managerial jobs or those with successful careers complain about how much stress they have. I always wanted to say, “Try being unemployed” or “Try working laborious hours as a janitor or cashier where your brain is literally drying up and you’re barely making enough to survive and you have no chances of advancing.” Now that is a stressful life situation.
Having a thriving, successful career—even when the pressure is on and you have a tower of tasks to manage and delegate—is still far, far better than being part of the working poor or unemployed. At least when you are higher up on the socioeconomic ladder, you have a better, more cogent sense of being “in control” of your life situation. That is, because you have a better job, you more likely have the funds at your disposal to alter your situation than if you were poor. Those who are farther down on the socioeconomic ladder are more likely to have feelings of helplessness. Scientific studies are demonstrating that it is exactly this feeling of helplessness that is ultimately the cause of real Stress.
The lasting effects of poverty on health are being more thoroughly examined. It is incredible how strongly poverty is associated with a variety of human ills. The article below offers a comprehensive view of what I’m attempting to suggest here. It is definitely worth reading in its entirety.
Thinking about poverty and its link to a plethora of problems brought my mind to thinking about crime. For instance, last night I was driving by a gas station and saw the bright flashing lights of a police car, and beside it, 4 young, able-bodied males being handcuffed.
It made me think about crime and criminal behavior and what combination of life events (or genes?) results in people choosing a life of crime vs. a life of well-intentioned planning, legal productive work and other socially beneficial pursuits.
I sometimes think that life can be a very hard experience for many of our species (consider global poverty rates). This might surprise you, but many people are not seeking out the fulfillment of their every hedonistic wish, but simply, to survive.
I think that a person’s motivation to work hard and achieve survival and success within the legal boundaries of society can be chipped away at and ultimately forsaken. If you started out poor with an unstable family environment with less access to educational and employment opportunities and you try a few times to make a legal go at life (whether it be at a job, starting a business or learning a new skill) and you fail, the motivation to keep on going and pressing forward begins to wane. I think that this can also lead to a feeling of helplessness and can result in a criminal life-style.
As mentioned in the article, the sense of helplessness (brought on by poverty) can be a very pervasive feeling that can result in much life-long distress. A life of crime and diminishing health may just be the results.