It’s been fun, living in an ivory tower. In the ivory tower called upper-middle SES (socioeconomic status), the people are very much insulated from a pervasive societal cancer. Sure every now and again, I’d hear about or even experience firsthand the corruption of our government, the bribing, the slow court hearings. But, I had the money and the status to mitigate most such effects. So, what about those that don’t have such luxuries?
My encounters with low SES people are biannual. Every year, I, my mom, and our group would do outreach activities twice, near our birthdays (August) and near Christmas. I would help distribute goods, sometimes, take over registration. I’d do for a number of reasons: because my mom influenced me, because I felt good about it, because I earn good karma. But that was the extent of my participation in social justice activities. They were a biannual thing.
It’s easy to absolve one’s self of responsibility. Those below the poverty are there because they’re too lazy to raise themselves up. They put themselves in that position and choose to stay there. At least, that’s what I used to think.
Since then, I’ve realized that a lot of these people work very hard. For some, their only “mistake” was not being audacious enough to take advantage of another or to work through our convoluted system that exploits others. I’m talking about the government, corporations, and the so-called professionals with ethics that conveniently forget certain sectors of society. I now know that the true cause of poverty is much deeper and more systematic than what I initially thought.
Theology 141 helped me a lot with these reflections. Also, the Napoles Pork Barrel scandal and the corruption exhibited during the Typhoon Haiyan relief ops that exploded during the semester helped these realizations form. Of course, the main topic of concern for this particular paper would be the Family Farming requirement.
The land reform issue has a rich history and a wide reaching impact. Since the colonial era, land has been associated with wealth and power as the colonial masters’ favorites were awarded land to form the landed elite who had access to education. As time went on and glimmers of independence incrementally increased, land reform programs were initiated by the US colonial government. They wanted to create a class of small land owners to help alleviate poverty and stimulate the economy. Of course, as we know, it did not happen.
The policies put forth were too legal and complex. Against the owners of large plots of land who had wealth, power, education, lawyers, and loopholes, the farming tenants didn’t stand a chance. Not only did they have to go through the bureaucracy and the convoluted legalese, but even if they did manage to somehow get land, they were forced to sell it after some time because of the lack of capital to start up or maintain their farms. In addition, large farms had access to economies of scale which allowed them to sell their...