Global Poverty Essay
To be born into poverty without a choice is possibly one of the greatest misfortunes that any person can be victimized with. According to Howard Hubbard author of Fighting Poverty to Build Peace, “An estimated 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.25 a day.” It leaves a person with a huge challenge of survival and an extremely difficult task of creating a better future for themselves. To understand the implications of poverty across the world, one needs to first thoroughly understand its definition. It is often difficult to establish what the definition of poverty is, because, being poor, differs dramatically across countries all around the world. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) poverty is defined in two different ways, human poverty and income poverty. The definition of poverty from a human development point of view means “the denial of choices and opportunities most basic to human development to lead a long, healthy, creative life and to enjoy a decent standard of living, freedom, self-esteem and respect of others,” Alters pg 1. According to UNDP human poverty is more than income poverty.
In many of the poorest nations across the world people die everyday due to poverty. Poverty proves to be one of main problems that plague the global society. I will discuss the different kinds of poverty, the causes and solutions of poverty in the global society. In the global society, poverty makes itself prominent in a variety of categories depending on each individual economy. The World Bank facts for world poverty reveals that, a higher number of people live in poverty than previously thought and this number is increasing day by day. This is the main reason why in most nations today inequality is on a high and this gap is continuously rising. It is difficult to measure national poverty lines across nations because the different classes have different percentage of income that is to be spent on food. In some of the most underdeveloped and poorest economies of the world such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan and Haiti people live in widespread poverty and dire living conditions.
According to the United Nations list of least developed countries in 2009, 33 were in Africa, 15 in Asia and 1 was in Latin America. In other areas such as much of Europe and the United States poverty exists, but the gap of comparison is very large in comparison to a county like Angola. Poverty creates a division among nations. That division has been growing now for a century or more. Poor countries are most often sidelined by the richer and more developed ones. This was the case of the colonization of countries like India by the British. Rich and powerful countries have the advantage of modern technology and arms to subdue the poorer ones. Although the United Nations has started helping poor countries they often feel indebted and dependent on their charity provider.
The causes of poverty are many, however some of the main reasons that contribute to poverty in the world are: unemployment, lack of education, illiteracy, natural disasters and violence. The combination of all these factors can make any nation poor. This high level of inequality certainly affects the social cohesion and leads to problems such as increasing crime and violence. It is a matter of fact that effect of poverty is being transferred from generation to generation. Poor people are often dejected and unwell, and due to that they’re unable to work. The World Bank estimates that poverty has held at around 25 percent of the population since the mid-1990s. And because of population growth, the number of poor actually increased to around 128 million in the early 2000s.
The countries adversely affected by poverty do not progress, as the there is a little room for the development of the population. The social and cultural factors of a nation impact the economic situation of a country. The reasons for poverty differ based on the culture and the social system within a nation. People throughout the world are subjected to poverty, whether it’s due to illiteracy, unemployment and or a family history issue. A history of poverty in the family leads to many physical as well as mental problems. Poor parents do not have the resources to get their children educated. This results in the children having to deal with a lot of obstacles when trying to get jobs. The discrimination is felt acutely by them as they do not have the required skills to cope. Most often such poverty also leads to abuse. This sometimes results in bad habits in some families, like smoking, drinking and drugs. “Improving the access of the poor to assets and services will help them share in, and contribute to, economic growth,” says Jaime Saavedra and Omar Arias author of Stuck in a Rut.
The environment in the form of natural disasters plays a significant role in the cause of increasing poverty in less developed nations. According to Akin Mabogunje the author of Poverty and Environmental Degradation: Challenges Within the Global Economy, “In many developing countries, inadequate attention is given to environmental management in areas occupied by the poor, and therefore, they are exposed to numerous environmental hazards.” When a country is affected by many different natural disasters including earthquakes, droughts, floods, landslides, volcanic eruptions, windstorms, and forest fires it completely devastates the poor and greatly diminishes their chances of escaping poverty.
 According to the World Bank two billion people have been affected by Natural Disasters since the mid 1990’s.  In addition, people in countries that are engaged in some kind of conflict or war whether the countries are developed or developing typically experience some kind of economic hardship. Armed conflict often makes countries that have a high number of poor much worse. War and conflict often results in a refugee status for many of the most impoverished people in the world. This results in basic denial of human rights such as the right to seek legal employment which further diminishes impoverished condition.
All over the world people suffer the consequences of poverty. It is often seen the effects of poverty is not improving and is continually passed on from generation to generation. This vicious cycle results in families concentrating on what is happening in the current moment, not focusing on the future or on how to better their own lives. People around the world that suffer from poverty concentrate on the basic element of survival like the need for food and shelter. Often making future plans to change the cycle of poverty from generation to generation to become unimportant when a family doesn’t have access to food, water or a place to sleep. Democracy starts at home, but the scope, and consequences, of global economic decisions often extend far beyond national borders. The consequences of poverty include lack of opportunities, physical and mental illness, drug abuse and physical abuse, homelessness and illiteracy and lack of educational development, etc.
Poverty is the most prevailing problem in the world. In today’s society we see that the richer are becoming richer, while the poor continually suffer from increasing poverty. The problem not only lies with the people, but also with the government. The government corruption is the leading problem in the most of the countries, where the funds raised for the benefit of the poor are being used in an illegal and often detrimental way. The government must manage the economic system efficiently and use the funds in appropriate way to solve the issue of poverty. Currently as the poverty has become a world problem, the countries should form a union and think for a common solution against this problem. They should take the aid of all the ways to motivate the people to come out of the poverty.
The governments can seek help of volunteers to educate and provide the knowledge on health, sanitation and many other factors, where poor families can easily relate to. On a global level, organizations like the United Nations need to put in place mandatory policy regarding solutions to poverty. Some of these recommendations include: create poverty-focused foreign assistance programs that focus of poverty reduction and creating government accountability for poverty. In addition, create policies that focus on reform of trade and agricultural policies to help with sustainable development and protect small farmers and business owners. The United Nations needs to provide political and financial support that fuel peacekeeping missions to reduce violence that impoverishes many nations around the world. Lastly, governments need to promote continual peacekeeping efforts to areas that suffer from continual conflict and poverty to promote sustainable development.
 One of the main solutions to reduce poverty is education and literacy. As illiteracy and education are highly interrelated, people must choose to overcome the illiteracy in the world. As the knowledge increases, the access to employment also increases and use of technology also makes the people more self-sufficient. Education also enables the poor and disadvantaged in society to escape poverty through their own efforts, that is, to counter “irreversibility’s” and poverty traps. People who attain a higher level of education are much less likely to take part in the working poor, opposed to those who have a lower level of education. ”Human development” is now part of the equation, meaning that education, health, life expectancy, and other indicators of well-being are given greater attention. Focusing on immediate issues and directly on your own domestic problems will diminish poverty across the world and open up possibilities of planning for the future.
In order for the global society to prosper we need to take notice of ideas like investments in agriculture, healthcare, and education. This idea for global development will create an effective change in the long run. Poverty and population growth are very much interrelated. By reducing these two problems improvements can be made in health and the whole well being of society. A goal of the international community as a whole is to improve general health by ensuring sufficient nutrition.  In 2004, President Musharraf of Pakistan said that population growth was “the main factor retarding economic growth, poverty alleviation, and action on joblessness.” Since the population growth keeps increasing the demands for natural resources keeps rising beyond the means of supporting the current population.
According to the article Critical links: Population, Health, and the Environment, “ninety-nine percent of world population growth is occurring in less developed countries.” This means we need reduce global population growth by creating laws that focus on social policy that will encourage smaller families for less developed impoverished nations that cannot sustain large population growth. This policy will reduce the fertility rate, and help slow the growth of the global populations. For example according to Lester Brown’s article Can We Build A Sustainable Economy, “Iran, facing both land, hunger and water scarcity, now limits public subsidies for housing, health care, and insurance to three children per family. In Peru, President Alberto Fujimori, who was elected overwhelmingly to his second five-year term in a predominantly Catholic country, said in his inaugural address in August 1995 that he wanted to provide better access to family-planning services for poor women.”
Being born into poverty is the worst disadvantage that any human can be at. Combating poverty will take a unified effort on the part of all the world’s nations, especially the ones who are at the helm of international affairs. Organizations like the United Nations will have to be at the forefront and lead the way for the others to emulate. Alongside poverty, we’ll also have to focus on the population growth and pool in efforts to stem it. Although the problem of world poverty is a one of biblical proportions, it is not insurmountable, and it too can be tackled. But it would require perhaps the greatest coordinated effort that mankind has ever witnessed in its history.
Such a well organized coordinated effort would not be possible if there is a lack of consciousness on a global level. But the basic problem with human kind is that, they restrict their concern to themselves only, without caring much for those who are the victim of a poorer luck. Even if we start taking care of poverty, then we only care about our won nations, instead of dealing it on a global level. But all of us should remember that poverty is inhuman and is not constricted to any particular nation. Therefore it would be our duty to stop such inhuman treatment of human race and become less selfish so that we can deal with a serious issue like poverty on a global level.
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University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 14 October 2016
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