A ruler who oppresses the poor
is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
Proverbs 28:3 from New International Version
Making it harder for a group to be the best it can be, either collective or as individuals.
This could be direct or indirect, intentional or unintentional.
By that definition the rich, or wealthy can be oppressed, if a group or organization has some power to keep them down.
There are two primary ways a government can oppress the poor:
– make progression/achievement harder or even illegal
– make lack of progression more appealing then attempting to succeed
The first is a direct and could be in the form of limiting how much money a person makes, making the default setting for the question “Can I do this?” to be “NO!, unless it is on this approved list”, or even by killing off the successful people who might invest in new opportunities or provide goods & services to support a start-up.
in the book Cradle to Cradle there is this story: (pulled from memory & probably not exact)
An olive oil salesman was talking with his business consultant friend; he was complaining how after feeding his donkey he had hardly any profit left at the end of the day. The business friend suggested he feed the donkey a little less.
A few weeks passed and the consultant friend comes upon the olive oil salesman who looks warn out with tethered clothing. The business consultant asks what happened; to which the olive oil salesman tells:
“I took your advice and started feeding the donkey a little less. I saw my profits jump up. After a little I cut the rations for the donkey once again & profits rose again. Then the donkey died.”
If we lived in a world where the focus and role of the government was to protect and defend there would be people who did without every need and desire of their heart … as we have today. The difference would be that in that world instead of focusing on the issues of today, of which some should be focused on from time to time, the focus would be a longer term winning. Yes it would be harder then being a child with a parent making all the decisions for you, but being an adult and being able to fully live is much better. I think back on this quotation from Abraham Lincoln:
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred. You can not help the poor by destroying the rich. You can not keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn. You can not build character and courage by taking away manâ€™s initiative and independence. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Each of those elements is one example of how the poor can be oppressed, maybe not directly, but at least indirectly.
Part of the Proverbs Challenge series.