Question: Is Africa poor because…
a) Africans are lazy
b) The continent was subjected to 400 years of slavery and colonialism and had vast amounts of its natural resources stolen
Tom Corley wants you to believe it’s ‘a’. President of ‘Cerefice and Company’, and author of “Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals”, Corley has spent a lifetime telling poor people how much better rich people are than them. Rich people, according to Corley, do everything better. He writes on his blog:
“My name is Tom Corley. I spent five years studying the daily habits of over 200 wealthy people and over 100 poor people. I tracked over 200 activities that separate the wealthy from the poor. This separation is as wide as the Grand Canyon. The data I gathered from my study is quite frankly revolutionary at least in terms of the way we view wealth and poverty. What I discovered is that our daily habits dictate whether or not we will accumulate wealth and be happy in life or if we will be poor and unhappy in life. 40% of all of our activities are habits. This means 40% of the time we are all on auto pilot. If we have more Rich Habits than Poverty Habits life will be good and we will be happy. If we have more Poverty Habits than Rich Habits than life will be a struggle and we will be unhappy.”
Bingo! Corley has solved the problem of global poverty! Who knew it was so easy? Corley makes the following observations:
“70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
“23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.”
“80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.”
“76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.”
“63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people”
“81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor”“70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.”
“67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor”
“6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.”
“84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.”
To summarize: Poor people need to stop going to McDonalds, get their asses to the gym, and listen to self help audio books on the way to their shitty jobs.
Corley ‘s intentions are probably in the right place – on his twitter page, his profile says: “My Purpose is to End Poverty & Promote the American Dream”. Which is all fine and well, but his solutions are, to be blunt, ridiculous.
Americans are brought up to believe that if you work hard, you will succeed. That reality has been smashed by the liberalization of the economy that has created enormous wealth disparity and ground social mobility to a halt. The truth is that if you are born poor in America, you will remain poor, and if you are born with money, the chances are you’ll get to keep it.
To ensure people keep working harder and harder for less and less money, an obnoxious and deeply corrosive industry has sprung up in America – one built on New Age clap trap and fraudulent gurus using pseudo-scientific psychology to preach the message of “self help”. Millions of Americans are subjected to the disastrous effects of corporate downsizing and outsourcing, and are then told it’s their fault for “being negative”. Ludicrous books like “The Secret” have become best sellers in America, promoting the laughable idea that you can create your own financial reality through the power of positive thinking. It’s nice to think that imagining a huge house with 5 cars will make it come true, but the relentless pursuit of profit by transnational corporations in a global economy worth around $84.97 trillion probably trumps one man’s desire to drive a Bentley.
If a gigantic corporation wants to ruin your home town , it can do it in the blink of an eye, regardless of how powerful your vision of heated swimming pools is.
The fact is, in an already massively unequal society, wealth inequality is still increasing: 95% of the gains from the economic recovery have gone to the richest 1% of people, who already own over 46% of the global economy. Combined with increased working hours and decreasing vacation time for everyone else, the notion that you can change behavior patterns and become richer is simply laughable. Study after study has shown that being poor drastically reduces your ability to make good decisions – the calculations needed to make complicated economic decisions based on limited resources makes people far less able to make good long term decisions. The effect has been likened to losing 13 IQ points or going for a night without sleep. If you’ve been brought up with money you don’t worry about things like paying off student loans because you didn’t have to fork out for it in the first place. The rich can do things like go to the gym 3 times a week, listen to Tony Robbins tapes in the car and eat organic food because they aren’t worrying about paying the electricity bill and putting food on the table.
If Corley wants to end poverty in America, he should stop telling poor people it’s their fault and try to change the system that creates them.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.