Hypothetically…!

Let us assume (hypothetically) that we created a scale from 1 to 10, against which we plotted our standard of living. Let us also assume (hypothetically) that the scale details were established as below:

1.  At risk – No shelter and no available food.

2. At risk – No shelter and food supply unreliable.

3. At risk –  Has shelter but no means of income for food.

4. At risk – Has shelter and ability to pan handle for food.

5. Rents shelter and receives charity support.

6. Rents shelter and has income – breaks even.

7. Rents shelter and has income – comfortable.

8. Owns shelter and has income – breaks even.

9. Owns shelter and has income – comfortable.

10. Owns shelter and has income – very comfortable.

All developed countries will have citizens ranging from living on the street and panhandling for an income, through to those who own large houses and have considerable investments. I would like to suggest however that here, and perhaps there, a very large proportion of the population would fall into the range of 7 to 10 on the above scale.

So here’s the question that comes to mind when thinking about people in war torn countries, or in undeveloped countries:

Am I prepared to lower my standard of living, if the result was to raise the standard of living of those people who do not have their basic needs met (per Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs)?

A large influx of immigrants into any industrialized country may well impact the standard of  living there so:

Am I prepared to lower my standard of living a little in order to raise that of others who are less fortunate?

It would seem to come down to whether we have a core belief that the “love thy neighbor” philosophy has merit, or whether we are alive simply to indulge ourselves and care little of anybody else’s circumstances.

Of course the above scale of 1 to 10 is purely hypothetical.

Men, women and children currently in life threatening circumstances are, very sadly, not hypothetical!

Just thinking!

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38 thoughts on “Hypothetically…!

  1. How often would you be willing to share whatever skills/knowledge you have for free? Not you, you but the general population. Part of me thinks that’s where some of the problems lie. If most people would be willing to give their TIME and not just their money (and I know plenty do, but more need to,) we might be able to fix a lot of the world’s problems, locally and beyond.

    Imagine if the main provider of the family who is just barely making ends meet loses his/her job because they can’t keep up with the changing world of IT. Their life is too busy just trying to get through the day, help out at home, and they fall into bed exhausted every night. If someone comes along who can spend a little time bringing him/her up to speed on whatever skill(s) they seem to be missing – perhaps another job is around the corner. Perhaps not, but it gives them a better chance.

    Or the plumber who volunteers to fix his neighbor’s plumbing so they have running water again – even though they can’t afford to pay them.

    So many examples. In Vermont, this is often what we do. Our tight-knit communities, especially the ones that still are full of people who have lived there forever, trade on skills when someone doesn’t have money. They show up and help just because.

    When Hurricane Irene happened, my town was one of the 9 declared unreachable – totally stupid, we figured a back way out almost immediately. So when FEMA insisted they had to come drop supplies anyway, the town didn’t use them, they pulled together every ATV they could and piled supplies on and took them over wooded trails to the towns that ACTUALLY needed the food and water. Because that’s what we do. That’s how I was raised.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Molly. Great Comments. I too was raised to help out where possible, whether that meant physical help, a friendly ear, or financial help. It costs little, if anything, to be supportive of less fortunate people… and the payback in personal satisfaction of knowing that you made a difference in somebody’s life is priceless. I guess all we can do is continually “spread the word”, and lead by example. 🙂

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  2. A very thought provoking post. Unfortunately, there’s never a right or wrong answer to this debate. In my opinion, I’m always willing to help in terms of donation and kudos to those who volunteer and risk their lives by being in more dangerous countries. The issue when it comes to letting asylum seekers into a more developed country is that a lot of them struggle to integrate with society and we end up with divide within the country.

    One example is the Eastern Europeans (who are not even asylum seekers) in the UK – a lot of young girls think that they come to London for a better life but some might end up in prostitution. They are also discriminated against and some struggle to communicate well. Another example is in Continental Europe, where they’ve let lots of asylum seekers in but the system is not sufficient to support them so they end up on the streets. So I think that while it sounds like a good idea and possibly the right thing to do, the end result might not be as desirable. Just my two cents 🙂

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    • Many thanks for taking the time to express yourself in such detail. Your opening sentence justified the Post in my mind!
      I completely agree that there are no right/wrong answers, and I have noted in various places that it is between the individual and their own conscience.
      As for your comments about asylum seekers? Yes there certainly are many problems regarding integration however, those issues often originate from communities that are not prepared to accept them; see them as a threat to their own standard of living, and/or where the government programs are not supportive of such immigration. No country should take in immigrants if it does not have the systems in place to help them become self-sufficient, and ultimately able to give back to the country which provided such opportunity.

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    • No I wasn’t Jodi! I was thinking of how the world appears to be getting more intolerant of differences; more nationalistic and more self-serving. I was thinking how sad that when such a large proportion of the world is living in comparative comfort, that they could not unite to help those in life threatening environments. I was thinking of so many people who claim to be Christians, and yet only role model hypocrisy.

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          • Yes, that’s the crucial point! Basically there are already so many institutions who try to work into that direction (Red Cross, Salvation Armee, and many more). Perhaps it would make sense if there was a union of those institutions world wide in order to have a better global coverage! I don’t know, just an idea!

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            • Therein is the problem! There are so many organizations who are well established in the humanities field, but they are constantly requiring funds. If they could be consolidated into one organization and hopefully therefore reduce the costs currently caused by overlapping responsibilities, then they could be more effective.
              Alternatively, if your original idea of everybody donating a relatively small sum could be organized, then that could be directed to various organization with the obvious humanitarian rewards.
              The population of “little” Austria is around 8.5M. Imagine if half the population gave 1 Euro each to a humanitarian cause. 4.25M Euros will not solve the worlds problems, but it would certainly make an impact! If that were extrapolated to cover all of Europe? North America? Britain? etc. etc?

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              • I didn’t know how to express it in English but that was my thought regarding having one organization and organizing everything in order to not have overlapping responsibilities. But that again needs them to use their established state for the sake of the bigger purpose! Donating one Dollar to such a global organization which uses all the network which already exists would at least end so much more suffering than today everybody acting on their own!

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  3. Many do contemplate – and are generous without being mandated.
    In early days when people had to depend on each other/neighbors to survive, maybe it was more common as you realized you might be the one that needed help the next time. Times and philosophies have altered
    It’s something of a cycle.
    The 60-70’s were a revolt against materialism and back to nature era.
    Now people are searching themselves and the world for meaning once again.
    President Carter saw/sees the need for housing and works hands on with Habitat for Humanity. Improved the nation.
    President Obama said his first week in office that he was fine with lowering the standard of living here if others had their raised in other places. A little different take.
    Sadly with the “me first” self centered entitled attitude so common now, there seems to be far too many takers demanding than givers ( who are taken as fools and end up without and discouraged).
    It might work in an ideal situation – in times of plenty – when 100% of the inhabitants have the identical philosophy of everyone works equally and everyone shares equally the benefits.
    We have so much need in this country. Travel it – go in the schools and talk to kids and their parents.- from the Rio Grande Valley to back hills – to big cities with thousands and thousands of homeless tucked into plain sight – the reservations are poverty stricken and need housing, school buildings are crumbling – elderly need home repairs and someone to give them a bit of time – foster children who through no fault of their own are tossed into an overloaded system.
    Overload of need just right around the corner – if anyone looks.
    Start local – care local. Improve the environment and lives of people on your block, then once that’s done spread outward to the neighborhood, then the community, then the city, then the county…If everyone just started small – on their own block – within a 1/2 mile radius, then sooner or later all the circles of caring would merge – and thing would be so much better.
    The world’s problems and crisis are too massive, but on a small scale much can be accomplished.
    All it takes is looking at what’s right by your elbow, a desire to make a difference, and getting up and doing it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Karen: It’s always a pleasure to read your Comments! As noted in a response to an earlier Comment, I too support home issues, but it does produce some difficult questions. If I could help get a person off the street in my town, or save a life in Sudan (ref recent news)… what should be my choice? There is no “clean” answer because, like many other life questions, answers become a matter between the individual and their conscience, but it does offer some interesting life perspectives. Should I donate to a local charity so that two under privileged children can go to summer camp, or should I send that money to an organization that will then be able to drill a well somewhere so that a village can now have fresh water rather than risking a local river which is shared by various animals? So many questions, and so few “watertight” answers, but if this Post gets people thinking, then I am happy!

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      • Hands on beats a check book anytime.
        Summer camp? Trips for children to the movies/circus? Money better spent elsewhere(We get those tearful phone calls)
        Everyone has to make choices, but bare necessities takes precedent over fun and entertainment and “extras” that are wanted.
        I know kids who have one pair of shoes – those given to an older sibling and passed down and down. Moms who have multiple kids and work but every night wash and iron that so kids look clean at school – and the same shirt is worn by a different kid in rotation during the week. Kids on subsidized lunches that sneak some of the food home for later. School personnel with some parents who make peanut butter sandwiches to send home along with fruit on Fridays because they know these kids will eat little of nothing over the weekend.
        When there are several thousand homeless sleeping on the streets locally – sleeping in cars and trying to keep the kids in schools? When children locally go hungry everyday. Places here where the well water is contaminated or runs dry in summer. A family barely making it loses the main provider. Streets that are not paved and no indoor plumbing (believe it or not within city limits)
        I live in a far different world than yours. It’s hard to tell the child/family right in front of me they are less worthy than the ones far far away on the other side of the world.
        Hands and effort and time are great gifts that cost nothing and reaps great rewards – no matter the income level. As Jimmy Carter has shown
        Can’t save the world, but can help those standing right in front of you.
        Do hope people do read the post and think what they have done to justify their existence and use of the world around them.
        Little things count

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I feel for those in need. I also feel for those around me that need. We give far too much to other places to “help”. While we have one child, or veteran, sleeping on a street, we should direct our energies towards our own people. That is just my opinion, I respect other opinions as we all have them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ron. I too support “home issues”, and donate heavily to a number of organizations who focus on getting “kids” off the street and assisting them back to a self-supportive and healthy lifestyle. Sexual exploitation is currently a major focus of those organizations. However, I also fully support our (Canada) Government’s position re taking in immigrants from war torn countries, and if that impacts my life style just a little, then that is fine. Christian teachings (and that of other religions), preach sacrifice as necessary (as evidenced by the origins of Christianity). What one deems necessary is rather subjective, but we should at least contemplate options from a humanitarian perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Anisha. I am not suggesting that one’s own life is at stake, for then our self preservation instincts will apply. I am suggesting that those of us who have a comfortable standard of living may wish to contemplate that level of comfort, and determine whether we would be prepared to trade off a small part of it for the benefit of those less fortunate.

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          • I believe the world would have been a better place to live, although the worldwide equality does not seem realistic. A representative case may be a price ceiling that’s on basic groceries and a minimum wage (and unemployment payment) that triples monthly grocery shopping costs. This is the case for Germany and I believe this setup provides possible best living harmony that Anisha hopes for.

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            • It’s an interesting scenario because when a government takes those kinds of steps (i.e. increase minimum wage), it will inevitably cost (the government) money. As a government is heavily dependent on taxes, there is a rather limited choice of options. Two obvious ones are to cut services in other areas and/or increases taxes somewhere. Either one has ramifications to the population which will probably remember such changes at the next election. It would be so much easier (and in the realm of fantasy!) if the population would simply agree to a different tax structure which provided all the funding necessary, to assist those less fortunate to achieve a reasonable standard of living. Yes I know… I am dreaming! 🙂

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              • Well, isn’t any government without corruption and idle promises a dream for all of us? I do not enjoy politics as it exists with conflicts of rich 1 per cent’s interests yet I believe the silence of masses to ongoing tax-distortions are self-destroying.. Perhaps, the situation I find in Germany is related to their somewhat organised tax systems(Which is also a lot of taxing), I’ve analysed some of the tax laws and there is some level of tax-engineering and this is better than tax systems of other countries that I know of. Although, this also may be not-so-good system. In any way, I try to carry the idea of love thy neighbor philosophy and cannot bear the idea of all people who die from hunger and thirst next door, country or continent. The part I feel incapable and sad is that you can’t even pass a functioning help since your helps get attacked or violated. The best idea is to start small and around oneself I guess, because this matter is not going anywhere without taking an action.. The values I believe in pushes me to give a charity once a year and encourages me to help people as much as I can, but in this matter it is important to be self-encouraging and raising awareness. And dreaming is necessary.

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                • Well Mrs Rewitae, I love your view of life and all that it should be. Here (Canada) we are fortunate to have a government that is prepared to offer an alternative to refugees from war torn countries. It is a small step given the world’s overall problems in general but, as you say, it is important that we all do our part in helping others. Hopefully the idea will catch on and the future will look brighter for so many others. Welcome to my blog, and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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