Most of us have enough compassion to want to help the people on the bottom rung of life’s ladder, or so I like to think. There are many ways to go about this. Sadly, a lot of those ways have the bad effect of actually pushing a lot of other people farther down the ladder. This is far more common than you might think. Why do we do this? I don’t think it’s because we like to see people suffer – I think it’s because we don’t understand the implications of our actions, philosophies, and policies.
I have neither the time nor the ability to instruct the world in economics. There are many others who can and do. My point is this: without understanding economics, there’s a very good chance that your good intentions will cause a great deal of damage. Perhaps it’s better not to have good intentions in the first place. But if you want to help, or at least do no harm, the odds are against you without a fair grasp of economics. Good intentions don’t always produce good results.
Want to help the unfortunate on the bottom rung? A good first step is to know enough not to hurt them.