Poverty has existed for a very long

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Poverty has existed for a very long

Message  ayoub benrkia le Mar 29 Nov - 15:50

Poverty has existed for a very long time, and to different extents it remains worldwide still now in this 21st century. In primitive societies it was most often the case that everybody was equally poor, but more modern societies have generally tended to involve poverty being confined to an often substantial minority only - though this can often harm those concerned even more than universal poverty does.

News. The UN food agency reported that world food prices in January 2011 reached their highest level ever recorded - and looking likely to keep rising for at least some time, meaning hunger for many. And 2011 sees extreme drought famine in East Africa affecting Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. 2009 saw richer G20 countries doing £trillion-plus bailouts of their misrun banks, while charities called for more aid for poor countries to prevent the economic crisis from destroying more poor people's lives as poorer countries are being hit by dramatic declines in trade and foreign investment. But the UN is now reporting that recent cuts in aid by richer countries and poor investment practices have been increasing poverty in Africa, and worldwide now the poor are facing increased hardship. The present economic downturn also seems to have increased the abandonment of children and of elderly women in poorer countries, and to have increased the murder of children and of elderly women in poorer countries. Often with 'justifications' that they are witches or devil-possessed, with total annual numbers estimated to be some millions. see - Victims. And 2010 saw a French government deporting poor Roma gypsies to a poverty-stricken Romania, while a new UK Deputy Prime Minister backed the old unhelpful view that 'poverty affects children little if they have good parenting'. 2010 also saw many governments pledging to stick to the UN's Millennium Development Goals to 'halve global poverty and hunger' by 2015, though progress has reversed for now and it is not as good a target as it looks.

One measure of world poverty is given in the FAO poverty statistics map below - this is a good but slightly dated measure, you can compare it with the less dated FAO world poverty map in our Poor in a Rich World section ;

Absolute poverty involves people and their children having extreme difficulty in merely surviving. Such poverty at its worst can involve hunger amounting to starvation, often combined with inadequate shelter or housing and clothing. Absolute poverty has been common in more primitive societies, and is still common in many Third World countries in Africa, Asia and South America especially where it can afflict the majority of the population.

But many of today's richer societies like the USA and UK have a poor who are a minority and suffer relative poverty - which generally involves the inability to obtain social necessities available to the majority and is often intensified by social exclusion. In a society where 90% rely on their own computer and car, then those who cannot afford these things may function badly and are poor and may well be ostracised or socially excluded (unlike someone richer who chooses to not have such things and may merely be considered eccentric).

Hence the answer to what is poverty is not simple, as poverty does come in different forms and extents, allowing different definitions of poverty, but it is always harmful to those concerned and especially harmful to children whose biological development and survival chances can also be greatly harmed. Poverty itself means misery to the poor and it also greatly limits their freedom of life choices and makes them vulnerable to other various nasty forms of exploitation including child exploitation. Poverty can also be very harmful to society as a whole, insofar as it can maintain a divided conflict society where the poorer conflict with the richer and acceptance of poverty generally encourages social badness rather than goodness.

Two issues have been preventing most governments from handling poverty well ;
1. Most governments in both rich and poor countries do not see poverty-reduction as being any priority to them, and so do not make much attempt to reduce poverty. The wider benefits of reducing poverty are not widely understood.
2. The few governments in rich or poor countries that do see poverty-reduction as being of some priority to them, have commonly wasted much of the resources they use in mistaken attempts at poverty reduction from not understanding their best policy options for that.

Recently food prices have been rising worldwide, partly from new Biofuel policies, mostly helping to worsen global poverty. 2009 has also seen richer countries hitting a substantial economic downturn that could make it harder for them to help reduce poverty for some years. And of course all governments do have other problems to try to deal with, and also all have some resource limitations that restrict the actual amount that they can achieve. But mostly governments could certainly do better.

In many poorer countries, the current world recession is also causing family remittances from overseas workers or migrant workers to fall. As more migrant workers lose jobs in Western Europe and the USA, remittances to poor families in Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe are expected to be hardest hit.

ayoub benrkia
ayoub benrkia

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