I have a not-fully-formed thought rolling around that there’s a strong economic incentive — maybe it’s not even consciously driven but just a product of the (completely unfair) market — to keep impoverished people just impoverished enough to stay where they are; not necessarily by denying them jobs, but by denying them wealth. Savings, investments, entrepreneurship — any chance to make an order-of-magnitude change, or even the ability to just get ahead of inflation.
Getting a job gets you a wage, getting a wage keeps you — temporarily — out of debt. But it scarcely allows an escape from the lowest rungs of the ladder. I’m probably overly cynical but I fear in some ways any job is going to be just enough to barely afford all the crap you have to purchase to support the job you’re doing. Economically why would firms want it any different? Forever-consumers, locked into a spending cycle with no chance to break free.
I don’t know the answer. It’s not as simple as “teach saving”. I fear that almost every system that keeps poverty right where it is benefits from it in some cruel way, and they have the loudest megaphones encouraging the broken dream through guilt, fear, envy, whatever “motivates” or “incentivizes” people toward a purchase; a million decibels of noise have to be silenced or ignored. I don’t know how that’s going to happen — but I know they’re not the voices we should be listening to.