March 5, 2012
by Carlo Bizzarri
Why do we do the opposite of what we know we ought to do?
Contradictions exist in our personal lives as well as in our collective lives. Here is an example of a collective contradiction. We collectively, through our political systems, allow poverty to happen. Then we feel guilty about it, so we spend precious resources to alleviate the symptoms of poverty rather than prevent people from falling into poverty. What is most insidious and tragic about this social split personality is that poverty alleviation can unintentionally trap people into poverty. The contradiction is that actually investing in poverty prevention cost us less in the long run and prevents a lot of human pain.
Our society and our political systems have a split personality on a lot of issues which deal with our collective living. Another example of this mindset is how we deal with at-risk youth. Instead of spending on prevention - one fifth of the cost of jailing them - we first spend great sums of money to marginalize them. Then when this does not work, and it becomes a public embarrassment, the system invents band-aid programs. They are intended to alleviate the situation but actually perpetuate the problems. What we also fail to realize is that in most cases when young people are imprisoned, not only does it becomes a very expensive proposition for life, they become unrecoverable for life.
At Ignite, the investors have unequivocally set prevention as the only worthwhile goal that will take at-risk young adults to self-sustainability and independence. This means, at times, that Ignite has to swim against the proverbial current.
To have a sense of what I am trying to say, read the news article, "Inaction on Poverty Costing Alberta Billions".