The subject of poverty, individual and national, is receiving a good deal of attention and discussion. Large sums are being appropriated for a so-called crusade against poverty in the underprivileged city and rural areas. It is a current intellectual fad to suggest that there is danger of war, or some other kind of unpleasant explosion, in the wide gap in living standards between the relatively prosperous nations and the poorer countries.
A healthy dose of job growth has long been seen as a likely cure for poverty. But new research suggests that the poor are frequently left behind even when their cities or communities benefit from hiring booms.
According to a Harvard economist Raj Chetty, “Job growth is not sufficient by itself to create upward mobility. It’s almost as though racial disparities have been amplified by job growth.” His finding challenges much of the conventional thinking, of government officials, business executives and economists, that job gains are the surest way to lift up people in impoverished communities.
Many have pledged to save neglected towns through jobs, but it’s been asserted that government investments to foster hiring would help create an economy that works for everyone. It was found that economic mobility hinges more frequently on other factors such as a person’s race, it plays a pivotal role.
Now, as individuals vary greatly from each other in intelligence, sagacity, energy, perseverance, skill, habits of industry and economy, physical power, position and opportunity, the necessary effect of leaving all free to exert themselves to better their condition, must be a corresponding inequality between those who may possess these qualities and advantages in a high degree and those who may be deficient in them.
The only means by which this result can be prevented are either to impose such restrictions on the exertions of those who may possess them in a high degree as will place them on a level with those who do not, or to deprive them of the fruits of their exertions. But to impose those restrictions on them would be destructive of liberty, while to deprive them of the fruits of their exertions would be to destroy the desire of bettering their condition.
Among all the factors promoting human progress toward higher living standards, perhaps the most dynamic is competition. And the existence of fairly competitive society is the best guarantee against extreme poverty that has yet been discovered.