I have long been interested in poverty, wealth, human productivity, gumption and the various castes we find ourselves in. I am excited to live in a place in which these castes are by choice, luck or circumstance, not a permanent thing. I am saddened by those that are unhappy in their chosen caste, but that do not take the necessary actions to change castes. I brainstormed an idea for a Program to Help the Poor Become Rich. Is isn’t perfect and would definitely need to be tweaked, but what do you think of the framework?
I wonder about a program whereby a person aged 16 to 35 of the poor class is offered a loan to move to another city, away from their circle of friends that are also of their caste. These friends and relatives have probably unknowingly “trained” them to be poor. They would relocate to a new town, and would be assigned 3 mentors. The poor person, whom we will call an acorn, would be provided with housing in an upper middle class area, food, professional clothing purchased on a shopping trip with their mentors. A mentor would provide the haircut and grooming instructions that are necessary for a professional and successful person. All expenses would be a loan, and the acorn would be required to pay it back within 6 months.
Mentors would invite the acorn to social activities that those of higher castes tend to do. The acorn would be taught how to job-hunt, opportunity-hunt, how to speak well, how to read and write and would be provided testing to see what their natural abilities and passions are. They would be introduced to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and to the “Cash Flow Quadrant.” They would be loaned bicycles to get to work.
The acorn is now becoming a sprout! The sprout would work alongside their mentors, observing how a person of a more affluent caste works, speaks and spends their time. Within one week, the mentors would ensure that the sprout had a job or had started a viable small business. It is likely that one of the three mentors would have formed a positive relationship by now and that one would not be getting along well with the sprout. This is natural and perfect. That mentor can now walk away.
So, before I further romanticize this Utopian process, let’s examine what would likely happen at this, the 7 day point, assuming the program began with 15 drug-free acorns. It is my guess that at least 5 of the people would have refused and dropped out by now, saying things like, “I am not going to wear long sleeves, I don’t care if I have tattoos, I have the right not to be judged” or “I am not reading your books and I won’t listen to them on tape, they are boring” or “I am a night person, I am not getting up at no 4am to work for some bakery.” “I have S.A.D. and need to take some “me” time because I am depressed.” “I don’t think I would enjoy THAT job.” “What does diet and exercise have to do with learning to be rich, I don’t like vegetables or long walks.” It is likely that these 5 would continue their habit of avoiding difficult tasks in the pursuit of short-term satisfaction.
Of the 10 remaining acorns, I predict that a few would be doing well and would be motivated to win. I further predict that one of those or a couple were just playing a con game on me and you, and that they fooled us both. The remaining folks would still be plugging away.
In week two, sprouts would graduate to saplings, still not as strong as the mighty 75-year-old oak, but growing every day. Saplings would be given the task of working two mornings a week as interns for a local property management company. The task of this company would be to expose the saplings to the excuses and mentality of tenants and the divide between owners and renters. Saplings would have finished 2 or 3 books, and their daily hour of YouTube video assignments. They would have now watched 14 episodes of Shark Tank. They would be working 40 hours per week the second week, as well as doing their assignments. Most would likely have dropped out by the end of the week, but three would remain.
Those three would be introduced to an additional mentor at the beginning of week three. This new mentor would be a millionaire capable of motivating and offering excellent advice. All mentors would be encouraging and celebrate successes and help the saplings increase their self-respect and pride. They would encourage positive attitudes, and help the saplings understand that they are making a new life for themselves.
By the end of week 4, it is likely that 1 more sapling would have dropped out. The two remaining saplings would now be strong and would have been spending the previous two weeks seeking their own housing situation, with mentors advising them along the way. Beginning the 5th week, saplings would now begin paying back the loans for clothing, food and rent, even if only $5 each week. This would provide them with self respect that is typically absent when receiving charity.
The goal of this program is NOT the same as the goal of “public schooling” which is to create “employees.” Why do poor people not just get a job? We don’t care. Rather, the goal of this program is to help develop free-thinking individual entrepreneurs.