A 2017 article, Why Poverty is Like a Disease by Christian H. Cooper, raises more questions about the biological effects of poverty, even though “the science of the biological effects of the stresses of poverty is in its early stages. For instance, are there any man made systems and technologies that do not bring disease to person and environment? Do people in rural villages suffer from the same type of stressors due to insecurity of basic needs despite not having a monetary system? Since poverty is a biological disease will the fight against poverty raise the hundreds of millions needed to begin its end? Will people join in the fight against poverty even though it has an end (which is a good thing but its not as glamorous a battle)?
However, the biological effects of poverty are nothing new to people that live impoverished. It has been long understood that poverty creates destruction to self and environment. “If a pregnant woman, for example, is exposed to the stresses of poverty, her fetus and that fetus’ gametes can both be affected, extending the effects of poverty to at least her grandchildren. And it could go further.
And to support the impoverished struggle with scientific facts should bring the fight against poverty to the White House’s front door. To have evidence that shows “the stresses associated with poverty have the potential to change our biology in ways we hadn’t imagined. It can reduce the surface area of your brain, shorten your telomeres and lifespan, increase your chances of obesity, and make you more likely to take outsized risks“. According to the evidence, poverty sounds like a make you go crazy lifestyle that not even your merit can overcome.
You know the good ol’ saying, hard work pays off. Well, spoiler alert, it’s only a saying, because in the real world often times merit has nothing to do with making it out of poverty. And actually the “rule is that escape from poverty is a matter of chance, and not a matter of merit.
And it shouldn’t be based on merit. Why not? Who’s merit? Is there a scale to merit and if so, what is the criteria for that scale? If not, who says it is and isn’t merit? But the bottom line is that merit or no merit inhabitants of earth demand basic needs for survival. The statistical data supports the fact that poverty is a pandemic requiring immediate action. The scientific data consistently suggests a basic message: “Chronic stress and uncertainty during childhood makes stress more difficult to deal with as an adult (mass casualty incidents).
Therefore, regardless of merit, economy and geography man, woman, and child demand basic needs. And the scientific evidence strengthens the position that the stresses of poverty creates disease that biologically effects generations. Poverty is not like the question of whether or not your cell phone gives you cancer, anymore. Poverty is man made like a phone and it does cause disease that leads to obesity, decrease in brain mass, premature death, and risky behavior to mention a few. But unlike cancer, there is a cure to poverty. You and me.
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