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The Psychology Of Poverty. Can Psychology Help Escape Poverty? - Self-development, Society
The Psychology Of Poverty. Can Psychology Help Escape Poverty? - Self-development, Society

Video: The Psychology Of Poverty. Can Psychology Help Escape Poverty? - Self-development, Society

Video: The Psychology Of Poverty. Can Psychology Help Escape Poverty? - Self-development, Society
Video: The psychological consequences of poverty 2023, December

The poverty or wealth of a particular person depends on many social factors and personal characteristics. Moreover, strictly individual. Success is always a combination of character, abilities, life circumstances, social structure, political situation and … ordinary luck. By the way, the decisive role of "happy accident" is fully confirmed by recent psychological research. Let's talk about the psychology of poverty

Political affairs

Regarding the socio-political component in the modern world, by and large, there are two opposite approaches to understanding the causes of poverty: relatively speaking, "liberal" and "socialist".

In the first case, individual responsibility for the miserable existence of the masses is placed on the people themselves. And in the second - to the state structure.

As historical experience shows, these approaches to poverty have big problems with “humanity”

The only difference is that liberals, in the name of their own well-being, are calm about starving to death in "developing countries". They soothe the conscience with all sorts of educational programs for the poor, which explain how the whole family can “eat well” on one dollar a day.

And the socialists who received power arrange a half-starved existence for their fellow citizens, blaming the fact that the true human nature turned out to be much worse than speculative "high ideals". But such "approaches" practically do not change the situation of many people, or rather they aggravate them.


All of this could not have been given such close attention if the prevailing worldview did not directly affect how people assess and explain their own or someone else's plight.

The range of attitudes towards poverty ranges from pity and sympathy to contempt and accusations, they say, "they are to blame."

Each society "orders" a suitable set of psychological characteristics of its citizens to various "institutions of socialization". Moreover, at different historical stages, there is a demand for different personal qualities.

The logic here is simple - the higher the level of uncertainty, the more demanded are the nimble, quick thinking, not burdened with principles and fundamental knowledge, but capable of letting a soothing fog over the characters. As soon as the situation stabilizes, there is a need for professionals in their field.

Sellers of "success"

For a long time, for a particular person, everything boiled down to the well-known formula: "become what society requires of you, and everything will be all right for you." The problems began several decades ago, when it became unclear how to survive in modern conditions.

As a result, today, in the old fashioned way, they advertise "loyalty to a favorite business." In fact, the winner is the one whose “favorite thing”, due to luck or chance, coincides with another rapidly changing global trend.

The rest should be content with personal growth trainings, where they are convinced that they need to be more flexible, more mobile and better tolerate uncertainty.

On this wave, all sorts of characters selling "success stories" easily organized and promoted their business

Professional "motivators", with rare exceptions, feed the public with a set of deeply felt platitudes from university textbooks on management and psychology, heavily seasoning them with expensive outfits and personal charisma.

In addition, the very principle of learning from success stories does not account for the good old cognitive bias called survivor bias. What is the use of endlessly listening to "success stories" if you do not know the stories of those who did exactly the same thing, but they did not succeed. Why?

What's stopping a "bad dancer"?

The answer is simple. By and large, losers are victims of their “amazing” nature.

Any consulting psychologist knows many stories when a person's character did not allow him to succeed even when he received all possible and impossible shocks, kicks, gifts and "chances" from fate

It's simple.

  • One "loved himself too much."
  • Another "was not ready to sacrifice his comfort."
  • The third was quite satisfied with a stable existence, and he decided that he would work "for future generations" or "for the glory of science."
  • The fourth one seems to agree to accept the "gift of fate", but only on his own terms.
  • The fifth was simply cowardly and helpless, despite his talent.
  • The sixth was summed up by too much attention to personal life …

What prevented them?

The psychology of poverty

Poverty did not allow to rise higher, it is it that "keeps" a person psychologically. It is not without reason that the lucky people who have overcome this barrier are said to have “escaped from poverty”. After all, a person accustomed to poverty forms a kind of life philosophy.

People with low incomes are characterized by the absence of a life perspective and, accordingly, long-term planning. They literally live "here and now", completely not focusing on the future. This position is quite rightly regarded as evidence of being in chronic stress and / or psychological trauma.

The interests of such people do not extend beyond the daily domestic problems. There are no plans, no dreams. All thoughts are solely about survival

Many people point out that the poor are characterized by special ingenuity and resourcefulness, but all this concerns exclusively daily problems. Most often, some creativity is shown in matters of cooking and wardrobe, trying to "cook soup from an ax", while others, on the contrary, show a tendency to a special kind of waste from the series "we live once!" This is followed by weeks of agonizing searches for food.

Problems of survival tend to occupy consciousness "without a trace", making it impossible to somehow reflect on their position. Accordingly, a person is not embarrassed by the lack of long-term investments, work for the future, any progress. These thoughts are simply not in my head.

Learned helplessness

Gradually, a person gets used to this state of affairs. And as a result, he gets into a dead end of "learned helplessness": why try to change something, if it is known in advance that nothing can be changed anyway?

The psychology of poverty and always empty pockets
The psychology of poverty and always empty pockets

Against this sad background, poor people have a special type of freedom - freedom from everything. And what obligations can there be if you live one day?

In addition, freedom can give a sense of a certain "pseudo-well-being", which in practice often looks like a kind of numbness. It was not for nothing that a whole cult of “poor but proud” existence was created in Soviet times. He was especially developed among the creative intelligentsia, which brought a whole philosophy of life under this. This concept collapsed under the pressure of the question that became famous in the "dashing nineties": "Why are you so poor if you are so smart?"

Poverty has turned from a way of life into a way of thinking, which is clearly seen in the example of our fellow citizens who quickly got rich

The presence of even very large amounts of money does not in any way compensate for the lack of an “innate” experience of wealth, as evidenced by the costly bad taste of “cool” mansions that fill the suburbs of most post-Soviet capitals.

By the pike's will or by my will?

In our country, even in folklore, you can only get rich in some miraculous way, like "by the dictates of the pike." And there are not so many realistic and, most importantly, legal ways to acquire capital.

The level of material wealth has long been directly dependent on the country of residence.

And even the notorious "American dream" exists in our country only in a literal sense - to go to America and how by magic to significantly improve their financial situation. Dreaming, as they say, is not harmful

The psychology of poverty. American dream
The psychology of poverty. American dream

Getting rid of the psychology of poverty is not easy, but possible. This can be helped not only by understanding one's own life, but also by looking into the future. Don't be afraid to formulate goals and achieve what you want.

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