“Favela” is the Portugeuse word for a slum, a shanty town often made of cobbled together wood and cardboard shelters with dirt walkways and terrible poverty. Long-standing favelas will migrate toward brick and mortar but this simply “hardens” the situation.

The chief entertainments in the favelas are often narcotics when there is money - don’t ask where it came from - and sex. And through those, the favela perpetuates itself with no income and more mouths to share the already insufficient resources.

I’m an engineer. I solve problems. I look at what is there, compare it to what is wanted, identify the causes of the differences and implement solutions.

Some problems have many solutions. There are many ways to fix something.

Some problems have only one.

And some problems can only be resolved by applying a great many fixes.

I’ve been to inland China and have seen the range of living conditions. There are haves and have nots in the People’s Republic of China.

I’m recently back from Brazil and along the highway, next to the airport and down in clefts below otherwise breathtaking views are favelas.

I grew up and saw, as a child, sharecroppers locked into poverty in the deep south of the US in the early 1950s living in terrible conditions.

I’ve seen homeless sleeping in parks in Phoenix Arizona, Tokyo Japan and Stockholm Sweden.

Poverty and hopelessness isn’t confined to the third world. It can happen anywhere. The “problem” is not in the form of government. Nor is the solution in gifts and hand outs. Look at the world and that becomes abundantly clear.

And I also know that all the resoures we currently have won’t solve the problem. True, those resources, redistributed 100%, would alleviate the suffering of some, not all, but only for a while. But then, without replenishment on a continuous and unprecedented scale far in excess of current levels, such help is unsustainable. There’s just not enough “input” to support that “output”. The poverty and suffering will return and those who “had” no longer will. Then, everyone is sunk.


The few simply cannot support the lives of the many.

Parents support their children, yes, but at some point the children must fend for themselves. This is true of all species, not just humans. (We are far, far kinder to our ill and aged than *any* other species, bar none.)

What is the solution?

I don’t know. But I do see some things that are definitely *not* working. But I won’t bother to list them because you know what they are, too.

I’ve learned something about leadership in my forty-odd years in business. When a supposed leader says we should all work together to come up with solutions, that really means they don’t have a clue, don’t know who might, and that the “leader” is really looking for someone to lead them out of the pit.

For the solutions to poverty, I look to the social engineers just as I look to airplane engineers for things that will fly. I expect that last group to convince me of what will and won’t work before I board their plane. And I look to the social engineers to show, and convince, that their solutions will work.

Then, only then, will I get on board.


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