Mutualism: an old way to reduce poverty, updated for the 21st century

Scholarship Entrant: Eric from Tucson, AZ
Essay Question: If you could earn a living doing what you love most, what would it be, and how would it change the world? Describe the specific goals you would set to make that dream a reality.
Vote for Eric: 1

Growing up, I wondered what it would be like to be poor. Would I live in Dickens’ world, or would it be austere, like Orwell’s 1984? I wasn’t sure at first, but I began to notice details about my life constant staple inexpensive foods like arroz y pollo, and the absent luxuries of “spending money”. I then understood that I’d known poverty my entire life. My parents and friends were enveloped by choking debt, and many teetered from Spartan subsistence to squalor. If you were book-smart or ball-smart, you had a chance at a respectable exit from poverty. If you weren’t either but you were entrepreneurial, you’d likely end up dealing drugs. Most talents found no natural expression. I was book-smart and good with money, so I decided that I’d study economics and math and get a Master’s in statistics. In doing so, I can understand the conditions of wealth creation in society and make practical my vision to revive for Hispanics the institution which aided the Irish and Jewish exits from poverty: the mutual aid society. By being a reliable donor and committing my time and knowledge of statistics, I want to make myself a resource in creating a model data-driven mutual society. Mutualism removes the stigma and disincentives which typify traditional anti-poverty efforts by making use of the poor’s natural talents. We have successful models of mutualism at home and abroad (e.g. Habitat for Humanity), so I won’t be reinventing the wheel; just optimizing and standardizing its use.

Vote for Eric: 1

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