A recent quote I encountered on the web points out, "...There is no 'cause:' poverty is the default state. We should be figuring out what causes prosperity," or words to that effect.
It's got a visceral reality for me because I have been poor, "working poor" as they put it, which is a kind of prosperity in and of itself. At one point, I was working two full-time jobs that paid barely above minimum wage: two different shifts, four eight-hour days, three 16-hour days, and no days off except for the occasional holiday. I was able to keep my nice rented house on the outskirts of Broad Ripple and my nice (no it wasn't) Chevy Cavalier and so on. You come to appreciate 24-hour supermarkets and extended-hours "doc-in-a-box" places when you work like that, but it's a delicately-balanced thing and when my Chevy got rear-ended about 1:00 a.m. one weekday (by an AAA-contractor's wrecker, no less), it unraveled. A month later, I was down to one job and living in a 400-square-foot apartment, mostly on ramen noodles and hot dogs. I did that for nearly a year, and then they laid everyone off from that job--
Yeah, life's tough and at no point was I living in a cardboard box; I ended up in the spare room of my parents house, with all my things stacked up in their garage and did that for six months, working weekends at a radio station for gas money.
My present job is what pulled me from what looked like a dead end. This job has been better than it is now -- and it's been worse, too. I'm thankful to have a job when so many people don't. There are plenty of people who'd find instant noodles and a hot dog a huge upgrade from their regular diet.
8 months ago