The World Health Organization (WHO) 2003, defines poverty as the state of having little material possession to sustain survival. The united Nation defines poverty or those living under poverty as those living under less than 1 US dollar a day. There are amazing world poverty figures being released on daily basis.
Current view of world poverty
According to Anup Shah (2006), it is currently estimated that nearly 3 billion people in the world lives on less than two dollars a day. It is also estimated that the Gross Domestic Product of the Poorest 48 nations of the world, which is almost quarter of the world’s country, is less than the combined income of the world three richest nations. On the index measuring poverty like education, it is estimated that almost 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read and write. Most amazing is that amid the world’s plenty, 1 billion children, which is 1 in every 2 children in the world, live in poverty. 640 million people live without safe shelter on their head with majority of these being refugees displaced by wars. It is also estimated that 400 million people have no access to clean and safe water. 270 million have no access to health service and most of them result to traditional medicines and a good number of these staggering figures survive with no medicine. It is also reported that in 2003, 10.6 million children died before they reached the age of 5 years, which translates to 29,000 children per day. A good number of these deaths could be directly attributed to poverty or complications related to poverty.
Issues causing poverty
With these staggering figures describing the world poverty, we are left to wonder and ask ourselves numerous questions. Why are that majority of the people in the world live under poverty? Who is to blame? Are these people poor because they have been lazy, made poor decision and are they solely responsible for their plight? Have their government been irresponsible and caused underdevelopment? In general we all ask ourselves, what is the cause of poverty?
The main cause of poverty in the world is poor policies by the developing and the developed nations. Some policies that are imposed on the developing nations by the developed and world development institutions like word bank are the root cause of aggravating poverty in the developing nations. What effects does conditioned loans have on the poverty level of a nation? Does a conditioned loan help the country in developing working structure to tackle poverty? What about poor trade policies that now and then oppress the developing countries? Let us explore some factors, policies, and current issues that make some people languish in poverty in all parts of the world.
The leading cause of poverty in any nation is poor performance of the country’s economy. This is contributed by many factors, which together collude to oppress the citizens of a nation. One of the root cause of poverty in the world in inequality brought about by unfair trade polices and exploitation of the poor countries. Since the day of colonization, the issue of exploitation has been a major issue in any forum meeting to tackle the issue of poverty. Exploitation of the poor countries by the rich and lack of equal opportunities on the world platforms on issue of trade, democracy and policy making has continued to tie the poor countries in the wagon of the developed nations. In the world trade platform, the developing nations have been condition to open their markets to developed countries, which kills their home industries. Hence we can argue that lack of economic opportunities has been the main factor hindering the fight against poverty in the world. If all countries in the world are given the same opportunity, it would possible to prevent the death of 29000 children daily dying due to poverty, preventable diseases and illness, and other related causes. The inequality in today’s world is big and has serious consequence. It exists in all countries developed and developing. This has caused poverty amid plenty in developed countries due to the widening gap between the rich and the poor. One will never be amazed to see an obese child and a malnourished child living in the same neighborhood in any part of the world showing the level of inequality.
It leaves all of us wondering, do we need food aids to fight poverty? No. We don’t need food aid to fight poverty. In many instances it has not been food aids but rather it has been food dumping in order to maintain poverty. What we need to fight poverty is equal opportunities on the world platform. Over the last decades, tons of relief food has been shipped to suffering people whose wasted bodies have becomes the next news attraction at the prime news. Why is it that the world has not taken any action despite watching these pictures? Why has the policy makers not made working solutions to end this problem. One fact remains that shipping of relief food will not help the world walk free of poverty unless quick actions are taken to create equal opportunities to all the nations of the world.
The word corruption has been pasted in the mouths of all those who speak on the world forum. Fighting corruption has been a campaign agenda of almost all regimes assuming power in all nations. The Breton wood institutes have tied condition of fighting corruption as the basic need to access loans. But corruption is here with it and us seems to have found a warm seat among our leaders. While the developed nations blame economic mismanagement on the leaders of the developing nations, they have not been ashamed of themselves to learn that the biggest corruption scandal are perpetrated in collaboration with these developed nations and the money stolen is stashed in their banks. It was amazement that, Mobutu Seseseko and other leaders, died a rich man than their own countries despite continuous wars in his country. Corruption has been a major factor fuelling poverty in developing nations. Corruption has led to billion of shillings meant to fight poverty being diverted to individual accounts and stashed in the overseas banks. Lack of commitment by the world has been the main factor fuelling poverty. If the developed countries are serious about ending poverty in the world, they should be in the forefront in returning back the money stashed in their accounts, which could be along way in ending poverty. The United Nation has vowed to reduce the number of people living under poverty by half in its millennium development goals. This might turn out to be a dream if the issues of corruption and equal opportunities are not addressed not by pointing finger at leaders in the developing nations but by consulted efforts of the whole world.
As the world splints in technological development, it has taken us almost a century to realize the harmful effects that development has on the environment. Since 1890s when the theory of environmental degradation was advanced, no one has paid attention to the climate change until recently when it appeared real and threatening. Then we hurriedly drafted the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, which we are yet to ratify. According Beaudin and Palmula (2007), the environmental degradation has been a major cause of poverty especially in the developing nations, which have agrarian driven economy. The developed countries drafted the Kyoto Protocol and after wards the biggest environmental polluters like the United States have refused to ratify to it. Then we are left asking ourselves, who is the war against poverty? The effects of climate change are real and are here with us. It has caused prolonged drought and caused flooding, which has destroyed homes and crops. At this rate we are still waiting for more Tsunamis and more Katrina’s. Who will convince all the environmental polluters that the poor are their customers and when they die there will be no one to purchase their products. The issue of climate change is threatening not only the poor but also the rich but it has great effects on the poor and it is still worsening the condition.
The issue of governance and democracy has also accelerated the rate at which developing countries are dipping into poverty. Poor governance and lack of democracy has been the main cause of wars in many developing countries. But we are all left to wonder, where does these fighters get their weapons to wage wars against the ruling regimes? According to Corbett (2007), war has devastating effect on performance of the economy and on the livelihood of the people. It is not a secret that most wars in developing countries have been financed by the developed nations who are out to exploit the natural resources in these countries. It seems not to bother any one when more than 200 000 people are killed in Darfur region of Sudan because of natural resources. War has caused poverty and countries with prolonged civil wars have the highest records of poverty. According to Rowsom (2001), war and other governance factors has led to disruption of provision of primary health that has aggravated poverty.
We can conclude that there are many current issues involving education and health that we cannot tackle here. It is important to know that the war on poverty call for commitment and sincerity form world leaders.
- Beasudin, M., & Palmula, S. (2007). Poverty reduction and environmental management. Environmental Journal, Vol. 3.
- Corbett, T. J. (2007). Poverty: Individual responsibility and warfare dependency. Poverty Research Journal, Vol. 3.
- Rowsom, M. (2001): Poverty and heath. Student Biomedical Journal, Vol. 9. Web.
- Shah, A. (2006): Causes of poverty. Poverty Facts and Stats Review.
- WHO (2003). Poverty and health: an overview of the basic linkages and public policy measures. Health Economics Technical Briefing Note. Geneva