Poverty is an issue on a grand scale. People all over the world especially politicians make statements everyday about how they plan to end poverty in their countries but everyday poverty gets worse and worse in those same countries. Poverty isn’t a new issue, yet it is still one of the biggest issues in the world. According to Anup Shah “around the world, in rich and poor nations, poverty has always been present.” (Poverty Around The World, by Anup Shah)
Most people believe that they are poor based on the statistic of their respective countries. Each country bases the state of being poor on different rates at which people make money or their annual income. A lot of people in America believe they are in poverty when they compare themselves to the statistics. Nevertheless, consider this, “almost half the world (over three billion people) live on less than $2.50 a day and at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.” Anup Shah continued. Three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. That is less than one thousand dollars a year. How many people in America would be able to survive on that? One thousand dollars isn’t even enough for a rent payment in some areas, much less food, water, electricity or gas.
If that doesn’t catch the attention of some, then perhaps poverty should be described a little more specifically. “1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).” Causes Of Poverty, by Anup Shah. Some people ask why these numbers are important. The children of today are the adults of our future. What future will there be if all of the children, our children, die now? Other people say that they don’t want to hear facts like children dying. Of course they don’t want to hear it; no one wants to hear about children dying. Just because people decide to ignore the problem doesn’t mean that the problem goes away.
What causes poverty? What does poverty lead to? Both questions can be answered using one statement. Anup Shah is quoted as saying that “nearly a
billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.” Yes, people can be lazy at times and yes they can make mistakes at times. However, how can people better themselves and get themselves out of poverty when they cannot even read or write? What causes people to not be able to read and write? It is a little hard to learn such things when more dire subjects ail people such as hunger, disease, and war. Not to mention the lack of schools and teachers playing a part in illiteracy.
Literacy plays a very large part in the wealth of any and every nation as it helps the people of the nation, and this is backed up by Anup Shah who quotes from what is Human Development?, Human Development Reports, United Nations Development Program. He says that “human development is about much more than the rise or fall of national incomes. It is about creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive, creative lives in accord with their needs and interests. People are the real wealth of nations. Development is thus about expanding the choices people have to lead lives that they value. And it is thus about much more than economic growth, which is only a means—if a very important one—of enlarging people’s choices.”
Poverty has always and, most likely, will always be part of life on our great planet. Where one person succeeds other people will fail. Where one nation may improve another nation may falter. If people stick to the saying “survival of the fittest” though, we as a planet have already failed. For only through the power of unity can we survive whatever the future holds in store.
Shah, Anup. Poverty Around The World. Saturday, 12 November 2011. 20 December 2012 http://www.globalissues.org/article/4/poverty-around-the-world.
Shah, Anup. Causes of Poverty. Sunday, 08 April 2012. 20 December 2012