Sunday, September 9, 2012

The End of Poverty? Possible?

Being an Indian and if you havn't seen Poverty you are blind, you see it all around you, beggars on the roads  a row of slums by the rail tracks, even if you travel by air, when you land in any of the major Indian cities you will see a poverty surrounding the airports. We all know that India is not the poorest country in the world. There are countries in the world which fare much worse than India.

If in India there is so much of visible poverty, wonder how much poverty is really there in the world? So have we taken poverty as a part and parcel of human existence. From when history begins there has always been inequality existing. The Kings / Pharaohs / Emperors lived in absolute comfort while ordinary folk toiled under their yoke. A kind of extension now where Industrialist and Capitalist enjoy from the labor of workers.

But it can be said, a normal individual now is living in more comfort what the King of England had lived in the 18th Century.  Life expectancy in western Europe in the 18th century was about 40 years. Right now according to CIA world fact book there are only 3 countries in the world having a life expectancy of less than 40 years (Zambia 38.63years, Angola 38.2 years, Swaziland 31.88 years).

Basically what I trying to say is that that every generation is living a better life than a generation before. We might have experienced it, our parents talking to us about the hardship they faced, studying in candle light etc. But we don't experience that much hardship as they did. On a whole how much ever war destruction is there in the world Humans have been marching into a better quality of life slowly but steadily.

Given here is a Map of world poverty by country, showing percentage of population living on less than $1.25.
Its noticeable that majority of the poor is concentrated in Africa, South America & South Asia.

If you are reading this post, I can safely assume you are not a part of this population living on less that $1.25 (About Rs. 70) daily. But just because we are living in comfort is it that we can forget about our poorer brothers? But as I said above Poverty is a part and parcel of life especially if you are living in the developing world. So what do we, a normal average individual do? Apart from the few helps we can give here and there to the poor we go on with our daily lifes

I was also thinking the same until I read the book "The End of Poverty" By Jeffrey Sachs. He has defined how it is possible in our lifetime, basically by 2015 which I feel is not possible as the world has been able to pursue the Millennium Development Goals properly but considering the way he has explained I have high hopes of the end of poverty by 2030. Thats in less than 20 years. Cool Right?

Reading this book, I have got hope. From my earlier thinking of Humans, do we only try to survive and reproduce  to my feeling now that humanity has a chance, its not by fluke that we are the dominant species on this planet.

A Situation where all developed countries just contribute 0.7% of their GNP that is out of every $ 100 earned by a developed country if they contribute just 70 Cents we will be able to remove extreme poverty within next decade. Given the amount we spending on weapons for each others destruction I really feel this is not a very difficult amount.

More-so Right now the major threat the world is facing is not from enemy countries going to war, but from non state actors, i.e terrorists. Further if its noticed terrorists are not born, they are made. Poor improvised youth are brain washed to become terrorists. So if poverty is reduced, education is available for all then I am pretty sure we can win the war on terror. The way to end violence is never more violence.

So, End of poverty, can a day come where poverty is just a word in the dictionary? Jeffrey Sachs gives me hope, I hope I am not wrong.....