Poverty Is a Threat to Democracy That Only Economic Mobility Can Solve

Poverty is the defining issue of our time, says Tavis Smiley. And while we have recognized the problem of income inequality, economic mobility is not yet part of our national conversation.

Tavis Smiley:  I believe that poverty is the defining issue of our time. I believe that poverty is threatening our very democracy and I mean that sincerely. It's threatening our very democracy, the existence of it, the future of it. I believe that poverty is a matter of national security because these numbers are not sustainable. One percent of the people cannot continue to own and control 40 percent of the wealth. The top 400 richest Americans, 400 individuals, have wealth equivalent to the bottom 150 million fellow citizens. That's not a democracy. You can call it an oligarchy, you can call it plutocracy but it's not a democracy. And that's why say that poverty is threatening our very democracy. So there is clearly the issue of poverty, there is the issue of incoming equality, but I think there's a third issue that we don't talk about enough is the issue of economic mobility. So income and equality is the difference, the gap between the rich and the poor. Well let's be frank, to some degree you're always going to have a gap between the rich and the poor. Economic mobility is about how you lift the poor up from the suffering that they have to endure every day. So the conversation is really not so much about income and inequality or wealth and inequality as it is about economic mobility, that's the issue we have to focus on.

Poverty is the defining issue of our time, says Tavis Smiley. And while we have recognized the problem of income inequality, economic mobility is not yet part of our national conversation.

Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Human beings are psychologically hardwired to fear differences
  • Several recent studies show evidence that digital spaces exacerbate the psychology which contributes to tribalism
  • Shared experiences of awe, such as space travel, or even simple shared meals, have surprising effectives for uniting opposing groups
Keep reading Show less

10 common traits of self-actualized people

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is updated for the 21st century in a new study.

Pixabay
Mind & Brain
  • Maslow's famous "Hierarchy of Needs" describes different levels of human motivation.
  • A new study updates the hierarchy through modern methods.
  • The research shows that self-actualized people share 10 specific traits.
Keep reading Show less

10 philosophy books to develop a diverse metaphysical perspective

There are many ways to posit the fundamental nature of reality.

Mind & Brain
  • After thousands of years, and an infinite amount of novel experiences, there are today many dueling schools of philosophical thought.
  • A great philosophical background takes into account a number of metaphysical positions and ideas.
  • These 10 philosophy books all take on the questions of existence in a unique and varied manner.
Keep reading Show less

How sexual fantasies affect your relationship

There are two main types of sexual fantasies. One, however, is more destructive than the other.

Sex & Relationships
  • There are two main types of sexual fantasies.
  • One of them is more harmful to the a relationship or marriage than the other (by a lot).
  • Sexually fantasizing about somebody else, though, neither hurts a relationship nor helps it; instead, it has the same mental impact as random daydreaming.
Keep reading Show less