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Spark the internal drive of the poor,November 15, 2017 Adjust font size:

The battle against poverty gets tougher the further it goes. Psychological poverty is the hardest nut to crack. Lack of confidence, fear of risk, reluctance to try, contentment with things as they are…all these are manifestations. Its root cause can be traced to lack of ability, weak will, cultural and psychological factors, as well as social customs and manners. As the battle against poverty moves forward, the barrier of psychological poverty is looming ever-larger.

“Nothing can be achieved without the will to do so.” In some ways psychological poverty is more intimidating and more difficult to address than physical poverty. Even perfect policies and sufficient funding will be met with frustration when there is no passion, when hopelessness takes over, and when the poor become bystanders. Even if people are raised from poverty temporarily through the application of resources, they will probably slip quickly back into the vicious cycle of “poor and passive”.

What’s the solution? During his inspection tour in Lüliang of Shanxi Province, President Xi Jinping pointed out that equal attention should be paid to strengthening the intelligence and will of the people in poverty alleviation. There should be more focus on sparking the internal drive of the poor, and incentivizing their capacity for self-development. Working strategies should be improved to educate and guide poor people out of poverty through their own efforts while retaining the mechanism of rewarding production, subsidizing labor, and offering employment rather than outright grants.

To tackle psychological poverty, it is advisable to adjust policy measures and train more qualified officials, rather than blaming the poor for the problem. And to address the root causes poverty-alleviation officials should keep to the right philosophy and discard the idea of “quick results”. Only through steady implementation of well-designed policies can they lift people out of poverty for real without leaving anyone behind.

Some village officials, who have long been involved in the campaign, believe that officials are the key to breaking the bonds of psychological poverty—giving the cautious inspiration and giving the timid a clear vision. Poverty-alleviation officials should keep close relations with the people and become sincere friends of the poor, so as to change their mindset. The road toward wealth and happiness will become unobstructed only when the psychological barrier is removed.

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