Throughout history, humankind has had a socially accepted blind spot that has fostered war, poverty, class division, and psychological imbalance.
No matter the time period, the wealthy class of every powerful nation (that I have ever read about or seen), has aspired to increase its own wealth dominantly rather than give work opportunities to those most in need. In addition, very little of this wealth has been used to provide for the planet we live on by protecting natural resources and balance in nature.
Recognizing and highlighting our addiction to wealth building
This imbalance has been largely invisible to most people with wealth, as there is generally a primary concern to increase their net worth for their own protection, enjoyment, or to protect their family. There are also a number of rationalizations and philosophies as to how different economic strategies will serve the poor and middle class. But none of them significantly offers the one of greatest hope — providing beneficial work opportunities directly with training. In a world before global warming, it was hard to see that the earth itself also was in danger if this trend continued.
It was even more imperceptible that the increasing economic divide between the rich and the poor would also be a key breeding ground for terrorism. This was not only because of the desperation for survival fostering the need to align with whoever had money but also because of the alienation of not being given opportunities to work to prove their willingness and desire to care for themselves and their families. This desperation naturally led to looking for a source of survival, which has led to an innumerable amount of people toward war, terrorism, and other such activities.
One of the big mistakes in recent history is a kind of “generosity” in the form of government aid or philanthropy that simply gives money to the disempowered. But this money doesn’t really offer opportunities to learn new trades, work hard, learn, or provide for themselves. This is treating a whole class of people like invalids that are, in fact, generally highly motivated to work for the benefit of both their families and individual self-esteem.
This is very reminiscent of what was revealed in microfinance and the common stereotypical misjudgment when the poorer class payback rates were similar to those with good credit in first-world countries.
Grameen Bank, the original bank of Mohammed Yunus (who won The Nobel Peace Prize in 2006), which is the name of his organization, proved that the payback rate of borrowers in Bangladesh was equal to or better than ordinary wealthier borrowers with greater than a 99% payback rate. More recently, in an experiment in New York with over 9000 poor borrowers, this was duplicated with findings that the payback rate was above 99% of small loans. When providing work opportunities, there is also the additional benefit of the services they can provide for the community and greater populations that can benefit from their work.
There is often a stereotype that is falsely generated unwittingly by many of the wealthy that the poor are unmotivated, emotionally unstable, and unreliable. This type of thinking unwittingly supports the rationalization that providing such tangible work opportunities wouldn’t make sense. What makes this even more tragic is that there is the capacity now to create jobs utterly needed that would benefit our country and the world.
Don’t wait for the right time to share your wealth
In my work, across 50 years of counseling, I’ve realized there is also another central myth and rationalization that is prevalent in the upper class; thinking — “I can make so much more money that I could give away before I die if I just keep working hard, so I’m better off to wait to give because there’ll be so much more I can both make and give.”
This has been a somewhat common way that those that are more successful have thought, but they fail to anticipate that in the end, they don’t give away as much of their money as they thought.
Also, they don’t carefully think of the impact they could be having right away in the world, putting the money to benefit, rather than waiting decades for the benefit to “maybe” happen. It also robs the individual of receiving the benefits of their own generosity. This kind of thinking needs to be re-evaluated, not out of pressure, but simply because it loses opportunities in the present and near future. It is easy to fool oneself about future donations.
In our other comprehensive explorations into homelessness, individualism, and similar topics, we discussed our socially accepted addiction to wealth. Not only is it socially acceptable, but it is also one of our society’s most revered accomplishments and keys to power. Often, being wealthy and accumulating wealth means one is being more highly thought of.
It is considered a great accomplishment to generate wealth through innovation, hard work, discipline, and intelligence, which, as far as that is taken, is often true. However, at this stage of the world situation considering nuclear dangers, terrorism, and global warming, we must think of two moves on the chess board rather than just one.
Using money wisely — an easy and beneficial path for millions
Let’s just assume that if you have a net worth of $1,000,000, we are calling you someone who has some wealth. The first move on the chess board is succeeding in securing this amount of money. The second move on the chess board that we’re proposing is that people with this much wealth or greater throughout the world recognize that it is necessary to make direct contributions to give work opportunities that are of benefit to the world to those that have the most challenging circumstances, and to secure the health of the planet.
This not only benefits both the giver and the receiver but is also great for the extra resources it generates for the world — a world that so badly could use the potential of better food, more clean energy, and less expensive housing amongst many other alternatives.
So many fields can provide training to benefit the world that any abled person with a healthy enough mind and body can do this dignified work. An idea in which we at The Global Bridge Foundation have been deeply involved is regenerative agriculture. This is a way of farming where the topsoil is preserved. Instead of using chemicals to maintain the land, animals provide vital nutrients with their excretions and the addition of compost.
Regenerative Agriculture literally can be done with supervision anywhere in the world except for the North and South pole or on top of a mountain. As a result, a reasonable wage can be earned, and the local population can access the healthiest food on the earth. In addition, the crops are typically rotated to 6-8 new harvests a year. This is a win (for the worker), a win (for the earth), and a win for the population that needs to eat healthy food.
Another option is to teach people how to convert desert areas, which now account for 75% of the earth, into oases by channeling water, using animals, and composting. John Liu, whose work restoring the ecosystem has been featured in our previous articles, has over 60 camps on 6 continents doing just this. From 1990-2000 he oversaw the conversion of 75,000 square kilometers from a desert to an oasis.
This requires a lot of human resources, but again it is another win, win, win for everyone involved. It does require supervision and preferably modular or inexpensive housing as well to scale this and create an ideal pragmatic lifestyle considering local materials to create structures.
According to a Credit Suisse report that came out in 2021, there are approximately 56 million millionaires in the world that own approximately 45% of the total wealth. So one of the critical developments that the United States and other progressive countries are potentially able to establish is to encourage people that earn above a certain amount in each country to give work opportunities to the impoverished people in the world and to reverse the dangers of global warming. Ideally, there would be a link created between the source of wealth and the beneficiaries of the work opportunities.
This opportunity could even be set up as a form of impact investing or social investing, where a small return can be made by either individuals or foundations. This is not the central focus of this paper, but it is an opportunity for you to investigate what is called PRIs (project-related investments) or impact investing which allows this to be an even larger channeling of money to include people who want to keep their principle money and create benefit with it.
This Credit Suisse report also mentions how these American millionaires have a combined net worth of 150 trillion dollars. A small fraction of that number given to a fund would literally change the division in the world wealth class gap and pave the way for a greater chance of resolving global warming, terrorism, and the dangers of nuclear war.
In order for this to have any realistic chance of coming to pass, I believe this would require a real increased awareness of the risk of the death of our planet, which could inspire enormous trust to look for solutions to world survival.
A dominantly subconscious belief the wealthy have is that money can create insulation from risk of death, can create a sense of immunity or even a lifelong distraction — can be enlightening if education and psychology were to be expanded.
However, a major psychological understanding of this absurdity could create a shift that can help change how this money is used. It would be especially to dispel the illusion that the money being passed down to protect our children and grandchildren is more effective than a balance of caring for these family members, the poor, and the planet.
This awareness is definitely increasing, but as we’ve talked about in our other articles on wealth and global risks, it will likely require individuals and leaders to be experiencing the threats of death on a personal level to change how they utilize their wealth.
We’ve also talked about utilizing inexpensive, truly low-income modular housing. This can be built to allow any individual in the most expensive areas of California to have a safe, comfortable shelter for themselves and their families for approximately $60,000 per person on farmland, with the necessity for zoning laws to be fostering this common sense upgrades to support everything from poverty, regenerative agriculture, and communities that can serve the common good for less cost.
It does require building small or medium size communities that can be designed for particular groups that have an affinity with each other. This could be a variety of communities of veterans, families, homeless, low-income workers, single women, foster care graduates, individuals that have left prisons, and individuals that need extra care because of mental health issues that could become professionals and paraprofessionals along with training.
This could also involve volunteers who are in the field of psychology while they are getting their hours for licensing. In fact, this is the type of program that Dave, my partner at The Global Bridge Foundation, and I did in 1971-1972 with 128 Schizophrenic patients. At the time, we went through the whole period of three years without suicides (something that had never occurred with that high-risk population), and we weren’t on agricultural land.
A community can also be established for those that are totally or partially disabled and unable to work, again for a relatively low cost to be given the care they need in a way that is dramatically less costly and less of an economic burden than what we currently do with psychiatric hospitals or other facilities. This would also have the significant healing advantage of being a community rather than just a treatment facility. Again, this might sound subjective, but through experience, the difference between a sterile, enclosed building and a community out in the open is day and night.
There is also an abundance of corporations and foundations that are ready and able to train individuals that are ready to work to create clean energy by creating solar fields or utilizing wind energy. For example, one of the foundations in the Los Angeles area is Grid Alternatives that’s mission is to help low-income individuals learn how to install solar and have the ability to create solar fields. This is another win, win, win.
There is no limit to the kind of work opportunities that can be created, especially when it is tied to local communities, as the costs for housing, transportation, and basic needs are drastically reduced.
3 ways we can truly help those who need our help
It is both heartbreaking and inspiring news that this is utterly viable, but the thinking about the future on a practical level is stuck in denial and being processed through traditional thinking. There needs to be an outside-the-box consideration in three areas to really optimize a change in human behavior that hasn’t been done on a mass level.
The first is to recognize that a large percentage of the poorest classes are motivated to take care of themselves and their families if they were given a work opportunity that would be safe and even meaningful. Breaking through this stereotype unlocks the door to begin the experiments.
The second is to identify the many sources of work where training is viable in services that would benefit not only the local communities where they serve but also the greater community or country. This is by far the easiest vision that has not been implemented, as it would be like going to a restaurant and having a choice of entrees.
The third, which requires both a new visionary aspect and, in some states, a change of zoning regulations, is a way of truly breaking the tragic blind spot in humanity to invest in those that don’t currently have opportunities by making them “an offer that they can’t refuse.”
More accurately, it would be an offer they would like to have. I have spoken to thousands of the most extreme individuals in poverty that dominantly have been homeless. This has revealed one of the biggest myths in our society. The strong belief is that most homeless don’t want to leave the streets.
As things have stood up until now, this has a substantial amount of truth. However, what hasn’t been considered is that these offers that the homeless have frequently refused are being confined to a jobless motel room or a facility where they are sleeping virtually right next to each other.
Either that or there has been a general receptivity with the mainstream homelessness programs for permanent supportive housing in the country where the homeless have been given a nice room, kitchen, and private bath. These facilities have waiting lists, but the problem is that they are so expensive that there isn’t a chance it is a scalable solution because of their extremely high costs.
In these places, the homeless are still in a state of endless dependency and are further defined as unmotivated dependents who lack any decent work ethic. Of course, there are many exceptions to this with programs throughout the United States, but only very few offer the multiple opportunities of lower costs, work, housing, food, medical care, and psychological support. This utilization of larger swaths of land and creative community building adds a dimension that is all too rare.
Three ways we can fund projects to provide work opportunities for the disempowered
The funding for this kind of project is perfectly set up to be supported by three distinct sources. First, the corporate community can easily work on some social impact investing as each of these projects have the viability to be profitable after the initial funding is created. It is even realistic to include the initial funding being financed to make a profit in any of the fields mentioned with a well-coordinated and comprehensive operation.
Secondly, it is also ideal for the government to utilize the resources that are already allocated for homelessness and low-income housing, as there are multiple billions of dollars in California alone that are being spent on expensive housing, that the CEOs throughout the state dominantly agree that there are these better potential pragmatic alternatives.
It is a matter of breaking through the traditional thinking and lack of creativity that continues to build single housing for more than a half million dollars per person when it is viable to do it for 1/10th the cost in a more desirable environment.
Numerous studies have shown that the average homeless person costs the government $3000/month, including emergency visits, policing, indirect health issues, crime, etc, in California. These communities that utilize the benefit of modular housing on agricultural land will actually save the government money and, at the same time, lessen the endless power struggles of the “Not In My Back Yard” (NIMBY) bias by almost all neighborhoods. It would be ideal for projects that can benefit the local communities to have the land be as close to cities and towns as possible to acquire affordable and convenient land.
The third source of funding is the philanthropic community that is, in many cases, already addressing the needs of the homeless. This community is perhaps the most immediately receptive, and it would require the cooperation of a number of groups within the philanthropic community, business, and government to really scale the potential throughout the country.
In conclusion, we hope this article has shown you a new and promising way we can use the large amounts of wealth we as individuals have and hold. This, in turn, will put us on the path toward world peace and care, which of course, is the way of survival for our species and our planet itself.