‘Invest in me, and God will invest in you’. This is how Tanya Levin characterises the message of those who preach ‘prosperity gospel’, one of a number of closely related teachings also known as abundant life or seed faith. ‘Refuse, and you only have yourself to blame’.
Prosperity gospel or theology is defined as ‘a religious belief among some Christians who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth’. Although Enrichmentality is not a religious blog, prosperity gospel lies at the intersection of the two topics this site deals with: language (‘positive speech’) and money (‘donations’). The lessons from this example are far reaching.
Yes, and no. Now we know what it means to be poor, we can talk about what it would take to end poverty.
You may remember that ‘absolute’ poverty is defined ‘in terms of the minimal requirements necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, health care and shelter’. Meanwhile, ‘relative’ poverty is defined ‘relative to others in a country; for example, below 60% of the median income of people in that country.’
One of these can be eradicated, but the other is a different story…
Are rich people rich because they’re smart?
Or to put it another way, are you not rich because you’re not smart enough?
According to a study conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 69% of people believe ‘there is enough opportunity for virtually everyone to get on in their life if they really want to’. In other words, if you’re poor, it’s your fault.
I’m coming up to my fifth month of being on the road, partly inspired by the fantastic book Cashing in on the American Dream: How to retire at 35 by Paul Terhorst. It’s a book that sat on my wishlist for a couple of years, for one simple reason – the word ‘American’ in the title. Although I (and probably most people in the world) am familiar with the concept of the the ‘American Dream’, I wasn’t sure whether the book would be too heavily focused on the American context to be of any use to me. As it turned out, it was extremely relevant, despite its distance from my location in both time (being published over 30 years ago) and space (given my Australian background).
A few days ago, I started to write a post about this book, about how we can all ‘cash in on the American dream’ in some way or another, and the relevance of Terhort’s ideas decades later, in contexts outside America (which I’ll still do in my next post). But this led me to research the very phrase ‘American Dream’, and that turned out to be a whole other (and in some ways, even more interesting!) story.