The powerful lie to us. Greed is not good. The pursuit of wealth and material abundance is not an admirable nor a desirable trait.
There is plenty of money and food to go round and many campaigns encourage governments and the rich to act and make poverty history. But millions of people still live in extreme poverty...
- Summary put simply
- Introduction to Poverty
- Why is there such poverty?
- What is being done about poverty?
- What can be done about poverty?
- The Lasting Solution
- Useful Articles
- Actions Being Taken
- Example Petition
(Summary put simply) - The rich and powerful depend on poor people to work for them because poor people will accept low wages (They have no choice). This helps the rich make more money. Big rich corporations compete to get more and more people to buy their products. If they can keep the price down more people will buy, so they are always trying to cut their costs. All they care about is making more money. This economic system leads to big businesses who do not care about the people they fire, the small businesses they make go bust or the poor farmers who cannot compete with the prices. So most of the world's poverty is caused by this system of exploiting the poor so that the rich can make money. . . A billionaire could stop poverty very quickly but unfortunately billionaires aren't that generous. So pressure must be put on governments to divert the money they raise from taxes towards the poor. Most pledge to do this but will they honour their promises?
What is poverty?
A person is considered poor if their consumption or income level is below the minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This "poverty line" varies from society to society according to their wealth and expectations.
Why is there such poverty?
Within societies, the rich and powerful exploit the less privileged. This has led to poor people who will work for low wages to alleviate their suffering. The lower the wages they have to pay, the more the rich and powerful can increase their wealth and power.
Globally, the richer nations exploit the poorer nations. Corporations now exploit the cheap labour of other countries, again leading to increased wealth and power for the privileged.
The 200 wealthiest people in the world have a net monetary worth equal to the total annual incomes of the poorest 2.5 billion people. The gap between rich and poor continues to widen.
What is being done about poverty?
In September 2000, 189 UN member states pledged to halve global poverty by 2015. They set targets but they are not being met. The reluctance is because the rich and powerful continue to rule countries' economies. Governments do all they can for the multi-nationals in order to keep them (and their money) in the country. The rich and powerful could move elsewhere if they were not given tax concessions so the government puts their needs high on the agenda. Hence helping the less privileged will always be a lesser priority for governments.
What can be done about poverty?
Insist governments honour their pledge of September 2000. Read the Oxfam pdf for details and send letters to your political representatives. Support fair trade and small shopkeepers. Stop buying from multi-national corporations. Talk a billionaire into giving his wealth to Oxfam!
The Lasting Solution
There is plenty of money and food to go around so that is not the real problem. Changing individuals so they fully realize that true happiness comes from within them - not from money, greed and worldly pursuits - is the way forward. Prem Rawat can do this with his gift of Knowledge so please check it out.
Political changes will never fully work unless we all change as well, but we can learn more by reading and there are some actions we can take in the hope that they will save some suffering.
(Some of the following links may be out of date.)
Useful Articles about Poverty
- Oxfam - Make Poverty History pdf
- Top Ten Reasons to oppose the IMF
- Paying the Price
- Pressure Grows on US government
- Oxfam - Voice Poverty
- Oxfam Policy
- Terrorists R Us
- Child Slaves May Be Making Your Chocolate
- Fair Trade Action Pack
- BBC - Child Poverty Progress 'Disappointing'
- Poverty in Russia during Transition - an overview (Heavy)
- Definition and measurement of Poverty in Russia (Heavy)
- Russian Officers' Poverty
- Who was poor in 2003? (USA)
- Poverty among Children of Immigrants (USA)
- USA TODAY article - Poverty rose by million in 2003
- The State of Poverty in America
- World Bank Summary of Russia poverty
- World bank overview of poverty
Actions Being Taken against Poverty
- Start a petition like the example below
- Join the Make Poverty History campaign
- Online email to the IMF about cancelling debt
- Online email to Margaret Beckett about injustice to farmers in developing countries
- Online email to George Bush demanding changes in the rules of world trade
- Buy gifts at Oxfam Unwrapped
- Oxfam online actions (Includes the above actions)
- Email Tony Blair to make trade fair
- Sign the Truecost Economics Manifesto
- Take Action for Fair Trade! Fair Trade means giving workers an honest wage instead of exploiting them. Many corporations put farmers out of business, use child and slave labour and strongly oppose reforms
- Kids! Take Action for Fair Trade
- Fair Trade Action Pack pdf
- Boycott the World Bank
- Debt Relief Now - take action against Global Debt
- Break The Bank How to help stop the loan sharks that are the World Bank and the IMF
- More Oxfam actions
Human Rights Watch actively campaign and have a two click system for taking action that helps with many issues including poverty.
Example Petition against Poverty
(Summary put simply) - Most ordinary people want to stop poverty and are generous when they see people in trouble, such as people affected by the Tsunami disaster and people in Africa. This petition urges governments to be just as generous and do more to end poverty. In 2000, governments made a promise to cut world poverty in half by 2015. This petition urges them to keep that promise
We call on all governments to:
- Fully support and respond to the Make Poverty History campaign
- Follow the heartfelt lead of ordinary people as shown by their response to the Tsunami appeal. This shows just how much people care for the less fortunate. Be generous!
- Press the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to stop ignoring the recommendations of independent research such as the Extractive Industries Review. The path must be towards equality not the greater inequality that their policies presently produce
- Honour the pledge to halve global poverty by 2015. This means taking action NOW to keep the promises made in the Millennium Development Declaration
- Make the Millennium Development Goals top priority: Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty; achieve universal primary education; promote gender equality and empower women; reduce child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; develop a global partnership for development
- Encourage fair trade and not the so-called free trade which exploits the poor. Support and promote the Fair Trade movement
- Support all initiatives to end child labour, trafficked labour and exploitation of the poor and needy. Impose heavy penalties on all offenders including corporation owners and managers
I agree and want to sign this petition