Olli Dürr

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Combating poverty – An indictment for politics



Poverty in the “rich” countries is constantly increasing. Despite all the benevolent-sounding assurances on the part of politicians that they want to do everything possible to combat poverty, the number of people affected by poverty in Germany, Switzerland and other European countries continues to rise. However, this development is not a surprise.

Rising poverty in “rich countries”

Poverty in one of the “richest countries” in the world is no longer a niche phenomenon. With the increase in the number of families and households in need, a threshold has now been crossed which the broad media can no longer keep secret in order to try to maintain their residual credibility. It is still predominantly the aid organizations, or those who describe themselves as such, who raise the alarm more and more often and loudly.

Aid organization raises the alarm

The “Paritätischer Gesamtverband” (A relief organization in Germany) calls the available figures on poverty in Germany shocking. More than 14 million people are impoverished in “rich” Germany. The poverty rate is now around 16.9 percent for 83 million inhabitants. According to the aid association, the situation is getting worse from year to year. The poverty that has already been reached is becoming entrenched and more and more poor people are being added. The association does not see any priorities for poverty within society. “Children, young people, the elderly” can also be among those affected, as can women, the unemployed, migrants and drug addicts. Since poverty is a heterogeneous phenomenon, it must be combated individually.

For the “fight against poverty”, the “Paritätische” is now collecting stories from people and the employees of parity institutions that are actively fighting poverty and helping the people affected. On May 4th and 5th, 2023, the association wants to hold a digital congress for this purpose. Under the motto “Poverty? Abolish it!”

Spreading poverty also in Switzerland

Daily bread is becoming increasingly unaffordable

Switzerland is also one of the countries with the “highest liquidity” on earth. But even in the territory of the Confederates, the sun seems to be getting closer and closer to the horizon. The Swiss Federal Statistical Office announced on Tuesday that 745,000 people were affected by poverty. This with a population of around 8.7 million people. This results in a poverty rate of around 8.6 percent in Switzerland and thus just over half that in Germany.

Caritas Switzerland is now also sounding the alarm in this country. Around 134,000 children were among those affected by poverty in Switzerland in 2021, as Vatican News reported. Now the federal government, the cantons and the municipalities are called upon to take action against poverty and not to let these people down.

High income in another country does not mean greater financial leeway at the same time. This is shown by the statistics on the situation in Switzerland. Almost a fifth of people living in Switzerland could not cope with an “unexpected expense” of 2,500 Swiss francs (around 2,539 euros). A magnitude that the majority of residents in Germany can only dream of. Conversely, this means that around 80 percent could simply raise the amount of almost 2,540 euros for a necessity that had not been taken into account.

Caritas overloaded in parts

As in Germany, the number of people affected by poverty (not “at risk of poverty”) is constantly increasing. Caritas Switzerland reports a significant increase in demand for discounted food and other everyday products. According to this, in the first quarter of 2023 almost 40 percent more purchases were made at the 22 Caritas markets in Switzerland than in the same period last year. 2022 was already a record year.

In some regions, Caritas is already overwhelmed by the high demand for social and debt counseling. One of the biggest concerns of the people are the bills for the utility costs for the year 2022 that will soon arrive. Many already financially shaken households will come to their financial end.

Call for “Switzerland without poverty”

Caritas Switzerland demands that politicians at various levels combat the structural causes of poverty. This is now absolutely necessary, as the aid organization pointed out in its call for “a Switzerland without poverty”. The measures included living wages, more affordable housing and inexpensive external childcare.

One hardly suspects the originator

The fight against poverty has been one of the favorite slogans of the changing politicians at the levers and buttons of the state leadership for many years. Where there is a “will, there is a way”, or in other words, “Yes, we can”, is one of the theses cited. With the red-green government at the turn of the millennium, under Gerhard Schröder (at that time Federal Chancellor), the most brutal clear cut in the history of the Federal Republic was carried out in the social area. But we keep hearing about “fighting poverty”. “You shall recognize them by their fruits”, as the saying goes. One can therefore assume from a “steady hand” that the elimination of poverty is not desired at all, on the contrary, it is deliberately encouraged.

Eradication of poverty could also be done differently

What is visible in the media is merely the mask of the invisible

As cynical as it sounds, poverty could also be eliminated by lowering the general level accordingly. Poverty is not an absolute term, but always requires a standard of comparison. Poverty is also defined by the means available and the necessary expenditure. A person with 100 euros is “rich” if his daily bread costs only 5 cents. On the other hand, people with 1,000 euros in their pockets are poorer if they have to spend 50 euros for the same bread.

Such a scenario, in which all people are entitled to the same thing, regardless of whether they are of natural or manufactured origin, in which all people are “happy”, although they have nothing at all, has been described in Catholic social teaching since 1891. This “masterpiece” of the so-called social encyclical from the hands of Pope Leo XIII. has since been promoted at the political level. Most recently, this worldview based on Hellenistic natural law courted Pope Francis with his encyclicals “Laudato si'” (2015) and “Fratelli Tutti” (2020).

Letter to the WEF

Francis was so concerned about the well-being of the practicing Catholics. Social Doctrine made sure that on the occasion of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in January 2020, he published a personal letter to WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab.

Integration for the common good

The “integration” stressed by Francis, in its various forms, means nothing other than the elimination of all individualism, while at the same time equalizing possessions (or non-possessions) among people throughout the world. All this in the sense of the “common good” within the “human family”. The common good should not be confused with prosperity, according to the advice from Rome. The logical consequence of the same poverty or “wealth ratios” all over the world is that the wealthy countries have to be run down and the developing and emerging countries have to be nursed back. Isn’t the federal government currently pursuing a policy that promotes foreign economies and sends its own into the abyss? Yes!

Poverty will be promoted

The poverty of the people will therefore continue to be pushed forward, despite politicians’ protestations to the contrary. Dependent people are far more “docile” than independent individualists. Francis has already described the latter as a “virus”. With the “Council for Inclusive Capitalism” also set up by Pope Francis, global corporations are already in the process of positioning themselves for the “magnificent new world”. The “universal income”. However, one is only entitled to loyalty to the Roman dictated guidelines.

Combating poverty – An indictment for politics
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