Assessing The Future Of Make Poverty History

All around the world, helping humanity is aimed at addressing and removing poverty. But this single word in actually not that simple, nor are the reasons that lead to its existence. Poverty can have different very different meaning in different parts of the world. The reasons of poverty can also be very different, though one thing is certain – lack of peace, good governance and strong education systems breed it most often.
Assessing the Future of Make Poverty History
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Long back we had made a tryst with human destiny to eradicate poverty from this planet. Long afterwards, we still seem to where we started from. Is it that we have made no progress, or is it that our constantly changing goal posts create this impression? Understanding the poverty debate is a prerequisite for finding a solution to it.

 

Who is Poor?

Someone once said that a rich man is not necessarily the one who has a lot of money, but one whose needs are less than what he or she owns. If we apply the same logic to poverty, then a

poor man will not necessarily be one who has too little money, but one who needs much more than what he actually has. Before you conclude that I am trying to write a philosophical sermon, let me just remind you a simple fact. In US the Federal poverty line is nearly $ 20,000 per annum, whereas in most third world countries it is between a $ or two per day, or lies somewhere between $350 to $700 per annum. The difference in what is considered as poverty in countries with different levels of economic developments demonstrates the logic of what might have looked like a piece of theoretical philosophy a couple of sentences above.

When the economic development pushes up the general and average welfare, it also increases the level of average consumption of goods and services, so much so, that the common acceptable minimum level of consumption is also inflated. What might have been considered a luxury two generations back is now a basic minimum need for most people, and so, certain amenities, lacking which would have been part


of a rather normal existence a couple of decades back, would qualify as a basic minimum need today. So the definition of poverty is rather dynamic, and it is this constantly changing perception of poverty that makes it near impossible to send this term to the realms of history. This is one big reason why it is so difficult to make poverty history.

Extremes, Labels and Eradication of Poverty

In any usual distribution curve, a small percentage will always be at the two extremes of distribution. Some will have a lot more than all others, enough to label them rich. Others will have a tad too inadequate, qualifying them as poor, and this will always be less than what they need because 'what one needs' will always be defined by what one usually has, in that society, to be considered normal.

These discussions do not conclude that absolute poverty will certainly be eradicated. They only remind one of the times when a few thousand years back, humans could survive with a lot less, without calling themselves poor, while having enough to eat for a few month might have made a person a 'rich' target. In other words, the concept of poverty derives itself from the insulation of a few from the fruits of economic development. This phenomenon of inequality and inequity comes only after the economic development itself, and unfortunately arises from it. More is the development, more the inequality. But if there is no economic development, everybody remains poor. Either way, poverty survives.
 



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