“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time.” This is the description of poverty from the World Bank Organization. (Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation, 2008)
There are two types of poverty; absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty refers to the inability to afford the basic needs to survive such as food and shelter, whereas relative poverty refers to the inability to maintain the average standard of living in a particular society.
The poverty cycle is a popular concept used in sociology to explain the causes of poverty. It refers to a phenomenon, where poor families remain poor as a result of their culture. This ongoing cycle includes a poor household with limited food, unpurified water and limited education leads to health issues , little energy and limited work skills, which then leads to low productivity, which results in a low income which ultimately causes low self-control and more dependents in the household putting pressure on resources causing it to remain poor. (Wikipedia, 2018)
Wealth is so unevenly distributed globally, leaving some areas poverty stricken, while others flourish. On a global scale, the world’s richest 1% owns 40% of the total global wealth leaving the other 60% unevenly distributed to the remaining 60%.(Neate, 2017) Of this 1%, majority lives in either USA or Japan. More than 80% of the world’s population survives on merely US $10 a day. (Shah, 2013)
“Quality jobs that provide social protection must play a central role to end poverty, said the ILO (International Labor Organization) in the World Employment and Social Outlook Trends report, and although extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990, too many people remain poor across the world, and that’s despite being employed. Right now 30% of the world is poor, they only hold 2% of the world’s income. Only through deliberately improving the quality of employment for those who have jobs and creating new decent work will provide a durable exit from precarious living conditions and improve livelihoods for the working poor and their families.” according to the ILO. (Hartogs, 2016)
Although it is estimated that world poverty can be completely eradicated by 2030, the areas suffering from poverty the most are located on either the continents of Africa , Asia, and South America. This means that these areas require the most focus as result of their large population and their undeveloped state. Some of the poorest countries in the world, measured by GDP per capita, are the Democratic Republic Of Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Liberia, Nepal, and Uganda, etc, are not only plagued with poverty, but also high crime rates and death rates. What does this have to do with eradicating poverty? Poverty can only be controlled if all these factors; crime, mortality rate, unemployment and even corruption also need to be targeted. Can we actually eradicate poverty if we simply only focus on poverty and poverty alone?
In Guyana, we see many of these come into play especially corruption and crime but obviously in order to completely eliminate poverty we must target the source. Poverty in a third world country like Guyana is expected but we have the resources that can tremendously affect our Human Development Index which is 0.638. Guyana is considered the 127th out of 188 and if resources are used efficiently, development is inevitable which in terms would reduce poverty thanks to economic growth. There are a lot of homeless migrants in Guyana who are unsure where their next meal is coming; a single mother cannot provide for her children, a child begging for food/money, all without access to adequate shelter or proper health care. This is poverty, and it can be found all over the country including the capital, which is most developed. Poverty is concentrated along the northern Caribbean Coast of Guyana and is especially prevalent among women and indigenous people, despite the rate of extreme poverty is on the decline from being 28.7% of the population in 1993 to 18.6% in 2006 it is still a very percentage despite the decline it is still at a very high number which is very high when it comes to an entire country, roughly two-thirds of Guyanese citizens living in poverty or 29% of the population, can be classified as being extremely poor. Most of the people live in rural areas and work as agricultural laborers, though Guyana’s farmers have access to adequate land resources, their productivity is extremely low. There has been effort towards lowering the percentage of poverty within Guyana. The World Bank is currently working in Guyana to refocus public expenditures to improve the infrastructure and quality of health, education, and water services. Advocating for privatization of most industries, the World Bank hopes to increase opportunities for investment and conserve government resources. The United Nations Development Program is also working to empower vulnerable people in Guyana by improving economic status of indigenous groups and establishing community livelihood projects that will create jobs, though Guyana ranks 117th out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index, continued aid and humanitarian assistance will ensure that its citizens can overcome past subjugation and establish a strong infrastructure.
Uganda has made impeccable progress in reducing poverty by decreasing it by more than half between 1992 (56%) and 2009 (24.5%).They are ranked 163 out of 188 with a human development index of 0.493. However, some 8 million people still live below the national rural poverty line as a result of their location as it prevents them from benefiting from urban economic development. Nepal on the other hand is ranked 157 out of 188 countries with a human development index of 0.463. This is as a result of 80% of Nepal’s population residing in rural areas and depending on subsistence farming for their livelihood. Uganda and Nepal are considered two of the poorest countries in the world as a result of their slow development.
Although 3rd world and developing countries are most affected by poverty, there are still a percentage of their population living in luxury. Children and women are most affected by poverty in emerging and developing countries, more than half of all children under the age of 15 live in extreme or moderate poverty. In developed countries, 36 percent of all children live below the relative poverty line. The USA for example has a poverty rate of 13.5 percent which estimates to 43.1 million Americans living in poverty. Interestingly, an increase in poverty has been recorded in developed countries, especially in Europe. The ILO estimated that, in 2012, over 300 million people in developed countries were living in poverty. That increase is linked to the high numbers of refugees that have come to Europe in the past few years. Canada, being a first world country, still suffers from some levels of poverty although their poverty rate is below five percent which estimates to 1.6 million Canadians, that means though people in rich countries do not experience the same levels of deprivation as to people in developing countries, they do not experience poverty. This is explored in Welcome to the World, which looks at women giving birth in America, Cambodia, and Sierra Leone. One of the factors in the failure to tackle poverty in the developed world is the way the debate is framed. The poor are stigmatized and blamed for their poverty, as though it’s a choice or a failure: if they weren’t lazy or irresponsible, they wouldn’t be in this situation. Currently one third of the extreme and moderate poor in emerging and developing countries actually have a job. However, these jobs often make the workers vulnerable, which results in them being unpaid sometimes which is not an option for those who depend on their salary to survive, despite being concentrated in a low-skilled occupation where social protection is absent, it is extremely important to improve job quality that people do, there are so many people working in precarious employment situations, also in developed countries.
They are a number or ways to reduce poverty and that is to boost economic security if poverty is to be entirely eradicated by 2030. The United Nations has listed its first sustainable development goal as ‘End poverty in all forms everywhere’ by 2030. The ILO calculates however, that US$600 billion a year or nearly US$10 trillion in total over 15 years is needed to eradicate extreme and moderate poverty and these offers are; 1) ending all forms of poverty such as increasing access to clean water, health, education, housing and security, 2) commitment from the government to focus on raising minimum wages thus improving living standards, 3) supporting national effort with international aims which involves countries supporting international organization, 4) making economic choices that not only benefit certain parts of society but society as a whole on a global scale.
Ending all forms of poverty does not only reference financial improvements but also quality of life and standard of living. The United Nations, Oxfam, CARE, UNICEF and World relief just to name a few, are humanitarian organizations whose main purpose is to aid and assist those in need around the world. Organizations like these allow food distribution, health care, and other forms of assistance to regions plagued with famine and pandemics, as a result of their government’s inability to provide it. This inability can either be choice (corruption), under development (third world countries), and resources are used inefficiently (vast agriculture and little industrial practices.) These organizations also advocate for education allowing for improved skills which in terms decreases unemployment, assuming jobs are available. In order for these organizations to be successful they must have the full support of everyone; governments, citizens, and especially well developed countries who have the influence and ability to make an immense difference in the fight against poverty. These factors are all interrelated; health and living improvement allows for a healthier population that can be educated and trained to perform jobs, which improves economic stability which reduces poverty because the population, being educated and trained can acquire jobs and increase standard of living.
In my opinion, I strongly believe the United Nations can eradicate poverty globally by enforcing their plans to solve poverty, in this way they will safely boost economic security, and as well as improve the standard of living in the world. As a whole in the cases of education, health, employment and factors affecting the poor, this will be able to provide them with opportunities to be able to maintain a certain standard of living and have equal rights to those who have a better life.