The news media are filled with stories about social problems, crime, drugs, poverty, sickness, etc. Every year the perception grows that “things are getting worse.” Will God punish our awful behavior, or will we just destroy ourselves? Possibly a new generation of children will spontaneously “turn things around.” In the short run what is the major obstacle to our solving social problems?
In my opinion it is MONEY.
Here is my surprise twist on the issue. We should spend LESS, not more. Most of you will be horrified by this assertion, especially if you or a family member or friend is employed in education, law enforcement, social work, or medical research. Heresy, you say. Spend less, ridiculous. How can we recruit talent to work on the problem without money?
We’ve got it backwards. The more money we devote to a problem, the more incentive there is to make the problem worse. Without a bigger problem, how can we get more staff or a bigger budget, in effect more money?
When we solve a problem the money supply dries up. How many people do you suppose would be put out of work if we could solve the poverty problem? The discovery of a vaccine for polio almost ruined the March of Dimes organization. Can we really afford to solve, the drug, crime, or poverty problems, or find cures for heart disease and cancer?
If we really want a problem solved, let’s eliminate the incentive for their being a problem. We should not benefit from local problems. When the crime rate increases, recruit volunteers and reduce police pay. Do not incarcerate U.S. criminals in U.S. prisons. Pharmaceutical companies earn revenues from selling cures and treatments. Research is a cost. By the way how many “drug pushers” do you suppose there would be if there were a free, medically supervised (pro bono, of course) source for those addicts truly in need.
Let’s recruit “time,” rather than money, to work on social problems. If the issue is worthy, people will come. A little inspiration can save a lot of perspiration. Those volunteers will be motivated to supply whatever other resources they need to find a way to profit from the cure. Or is having the “problem” is more valuable than its solution after all?