Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Poverty

In a comment on my last entry, Neil raises an interesting point.
Powerful post, although I'm not sure where you would move that doesn't operate in a similar manner. The poor seem to be always swept away so the rest of the population doesn't have to deal with them.
Where else to go? Well, in terms of the impact of poverty, the answer would have to be virtually anywhere else in what we think of as the civilized world.

According to the CIA World Factbook, 12% of Americans live below the poverty line. This makes us a little better than Egypt and Bulgaria, but not quite as enlightened as Croatia, Thailand, or China.

The lowest figure they list in this category is Taiwan's 1% below the poverty line. When you look up the percentage of population below the poverty line in countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Australia you find the letters NA. I'm inclined to believe that this means that the number of people living in poverty in these places is so small as to be negligible.

5 Comments:

Blogger Neil said...

I was all ready to fight back, saying that our "standard of living" is probably higher than those other countries, even for the poor, but your argument is pretty strong.

I was also going to argue that it's not a fair comparison between these homogenous countries and our multi-cultural country with a history of slavery and illegal immigration. But Australia has had its own problems -- and seem to take better care of their poor.

Thanks for educating me.

5:36 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I wonder if poverty would be reduced if some of the corruption present in some of the poorer areas in American was unearthed and reformed.

Some of the poorest areas in my county receive the most money for education and social services.

Despite complaints about a lack of funding, there are millions and millions of dollars from various programs flowing around.

These same areas always seem to attract pols who take advantage of all the extra funding.

Stories of community service folks driving expensive cars funded by government grants are not uncommon. A recent local newspaper article detailed how funding was used to pay the lease on a Jaguar for an administrator of a publically funded program.

Other newspaper stories detail school boards paying three times over retail for school supplies bought from politically connected friends when other smaller districts bought in bulk for deep discounts.

The stories of wasted money continue on and on: Pols flying first class to fancy conferences and a school board member charging a trip to Japan on her school board credit card have been recent headlines in the local paper.

Other poverty striken areas in our area have also been the scene of many a crime against the tax payers. Some pols went to jail for stealing $5 million worth of tax payer money to buy votes and influence.

I wonder if we really do all that we can to fix the poverty problem? Or, is there an incentive to always have a large underclass so that there is always a steady steam of federal and state funds flowing through various pols hands?

It would be interesting to see if European countries with low poverty rates have higher ethical standards for their pols.

In America, there is big money to be made taking care of the poor, so there is an incentive to keep creating more and more poor "clients" that continually need more and more assistance.

It seems that despite the war on poverty, some areas continually get worse and worse, generation after generation.

Chris
Deliberate Chaos
BA~~32

10:36 PM  
Blogger Orikinla Osinachi. said...

You cannot define poverty in such simple terms.

For example, most of the poor residents in urban areas in Nigeria are not really poor in their hometowns. They are land owners.

You see a nomadic Fulani cattle rearer in Northern Nigeria living in makeshift tents made with straw and hay and his children wear rags and they are not in modern school. But the man has over 50 cattle and each one is sold for about $1,000 and he sells all in one month on a regular basis. He makes over $30,000 monthly and he goes to buy more cattle and continues to sell.
Is he poor?

All the people in Africa have acres upon acres of farmlands. But, these lands are underdeveloped and left to become wastelands. They abandone them and migrate to the urban areas and live in tenement houses in the ghettos and they are mistaken for poor people. But, how can such land owners be poor when just one plot of their land could be sold for not less than $10,000. So, they can even lease the plots of land to developers and make fortunes to invest in other lucrative ventures.

It is ironical to see images of all these displaced millions in Africa and reports say they are suffering and dying. Why?
Because, they are illiterates who are ignorant of how to develop their land and become economically self-reliant.
The UN and richer nations should not continue to give them fish, but teach them how to fish.

The World Bank should see how their land could be developed to make them comfortable.

There are countries in need of land for agriculture, agro-allied industries, manufacturing industries and other ventures. They could come to Africa and set up and pay rent on the land and these illietrate peasants in Africa can realize the values of their resources.

1:44 PM  
Blogger Mr. H.K. said...

Scandanavia, huh?? Well, I'd look forward to your posts WHEREver the originate...

Cheers,

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's Kitchen
And I Quote Blog

7:42 PM  
Blogger ME Strauss said...

Don't misunderstand. I love Australia and I love my friends there. But perhaps the reason that you see an N/A is because they do not count their aborininal peoples as people. You would be considered as "ethnic" a person of color if you are Greek or Italian or other dark Western European.

I'm thinking you might be trading one thing for another.

Liz

7:47 PM  

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