Real Wealth and Poverty

Misery, the Mirror of Unhealthy Relationships. The five essential "capitals" of Life.

by Luca Crivelli

from "Economia di Comunione - una cultura nuova" n.41 - editorial insert in Città Nuova n.13/14 - 2015 - July 2015

N41 Pag 14 Luca Crivelli Autore ridTolstoy said, “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” According to the great philosopher there are many types of poverty but only one kind of wealth. I disagree: wealth and poverty are two sides of the same coin. There are many types of poverty, but the same is true for wealth. The western world, with its quantitative approach, is only able to see one indicator of wealth now: GDP. But in Africa, next to the many faces of poverty, I could contemplate the more varied forms of wealth.
As highlighted by the Kenyan playwright Ngugi wa Thiong'o, to decolonize our minds and learn again to call poverty by name, it is essential to re-acquire the language of the ancestors. In the ancient world a person could be rich and poor at the same time: very wealthy in material terms and poor because of narrow-mindedness and lack of magnanimity.

Therefore those who live for an economy of communion seek to understand what the lacking "capital assets" are in order to find a remedy. Among the most important patrimonial values ​​in life we find the following types:
1. human (background knowledge, training, skills and experience)
2. psycho-physical (physical and mental health, self-esteem, control over one's own life)
3. relational (social networks that provide identity, protection and social support and are essential for human flourishing)
4. social (norms, trust, shared rules of conduct)
5. spiritual (inner life, resilience, horizons).

In conclusion, if there is a great absence in the contemporary discourse on welfare, N41 Pag 14 Nairobi Argentini rideven in the most advanced variant of the "science of happiness", that is Communion then, which has three preconditions: it is a matter of freedom, therefore it cannot be imposed; it presupposes justice, namely the recognition of the equality of all men and women and the dignity of every person, regardless of individual merit; it is embodied in fraternity, meaning the ability to make room for the other and get room in the other one. Fraternity allows people who are equal to each other to be different among themselves and considers this diversity a source of wealth.

Therefore, if it wants to be "of communion", fraternity must be cosmopolitan, it must reach to the suburbs and avoid staying within the boundaries of certain communities that are closer to it in social, cultural, political or religious aspects. As in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we can become the "neighbours" of people who seem to be far from us if we are able to recognize the opportunity that is given to us to make an impact on their lives. Because it is true that you can only leave poverty on your own feet; but since poverty is not a mainly individual condition but rather a reflection of unhealthy relationships, it is also true that there is no escape from it alone - only together.

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