Does Moral Poverty Impede Political Functioning?

Poverty impedes cognitive function, according to Mani, Mullainathan, Shafir, and Zhao (Science magazine, 30 August 2013). The researchers “experimentally induced thoughts about finances and found that this reduces cognitive performance among poor but not in well-off participants.” Their evidence was gathered “from shoppers in a New Jersey mall and from farmers in Tamil Nadu, India.”

This blog will now reveal that research is in progress on a follow-up project interpreting the impairment in political functioning caused by utter spiritual and moral poverty. Evidence is being gathered from persons walking through the Ohio clock corridor outside the Senate chamber, Washington, D.C. Unbeknownst to passersby, the clock–commissioned in 1815, stopped since 12:14 Wednesday due to government shutdown–is equipped with 21st-century monitoring equipment. We might be willing to release video and transcripts for $980 billion or so.

OK, I’ll just tell you the truth for free: 78 per cent of House Republicans and 52 per cent of Senate Democrats are guilty of extreme inability to recognize the right, the good, and the true. The cognitive incapacity, moreover, associated with spiritual and moral meagerness of this magnitude appears to be preventing our elected representatives from functioning even at the most basic level of voting on “clean” bills that would prevent debt default and government collapse. Many Representatives appear to be actually incapable of grasping the very idea of “clean.” Any rallies in equity markets, it should go without saying, ought to be evaluated in light of a sober assessment of the moral solvency of the traders in Greenwich and Stamford.

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