The issue of poverty is a never ending topic of discussion all over the world. This is even true in a supposedly rich country like the United States of America. This is my observation as I scan the daily newspapers, watch the six o’clock news and listen to my neighbors when they have nothing else to do but talk about life and politics.
It is very important topic of discussion because poverty is something that many of us would not want to experience. At the same time when we talk about poverty we also talk about the other side of the coin, which is, riches and comfort.
People from all walks of life, from the high and mighty to the poorest of the poor are affected by impact of extravagant wealth and staggering poverty. Economists, politicians, diplomats, entrepreneurs, employees, speculators, scholars, and even blue collar workers never cease to talk about poverty. However, there is no agreement when it comes to the root cause of these problems. It must be pointed out that poverty is caused by inequality.
Poverty and inequality go hand-in-hand and in order to eradicate poverty then we need to deal with inequality. Now, here is the problem, I find it difficult to simplify inequality. For example a poor person in the United States is better-off if compared to someone who struggles in a Third-World country. Inequality on the other hand is the same tricky problem. Minorities are citizens of this country but sometimes they feel as if they are second-class citizens and unable to access to resources that are open most Americans.
In order to simplify the discussion I would like to focus on some of the aspects of inequality that is familiar to me. Therefore, I would like to focus on social mobility, access to health care, the right to education, and the right to eat nutritious food.
In my opinion it does not matter where you live in the world, whether you are a European living in the trendiest cities or a citizen of Third-World country living in squalor, if you do not have access to the things that I mentioned above then you have experienced inequality and if you look around you the presence of inequality in society is the root cause of poverty.
In the January 22nd issue of The Economist for 2011, there is an article entitled the Inequality: The Rich and the Rest and the author said that inequality exists because of the lack of social mobility (The Economist, 2011, p.1).This is true but there is a need to elaborate on the issue of social mobility.
Thus, the lack of social mobility is the existence of social obstacles that prevent a person from getting the best job etc. I believe in this statement and I should say that the focus should be on quality education. In a progressive country like America the door swings wide open for college graduates. If the percentage of young men and women who can afford to go to college will significantly increase then there will be less inequality in this nation.
One of the main focuses of the Davos meeting is the growing gap between the rich and the poor. It insists that the widening gap is a global risk for the global economy (Koss & McArthur, 2011, p.1).
However, there is no consensus on how to solve this problem. Different leaders have different opinion on how to deal with inequality. Warren Buffet for instance made the suggestion that the rich need to be taxed more. Mr. Hu Jin Tao of China on the other hand wanted to focus on creating “harmonious society” by reducing the income gap between urban and rural families.
These are good ideas however, there is this article about poverty that made me realize that although it is perfectly alright to talk about this issue the fact of the matter is there are many people who are poor. According to the said article, “Almost half the world – over 3 billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day” (Shah, p.1). The ideas given by world leaders will help but something has to be done at the earlies possible time.
As mentioned earlier inequality exists because of the lack of social mobility, lack of education, non-access to health care, and the inability to buy nutritious food. This article provides the explanation why. There income levels are low in many countries. According to a report from Stanford University inequality exists everywhere.
There is even no need to travel beyond the borders of the United States because in this country “the top 1% of Americans control 23.5% of all the country’s income” (The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality, p.1). This is why increasing income inequality must be addressed soon.
Finally, inequality exists because the poor can no longer afford nutritious food. This means that they are prone to sickness and diseases, malnutrition and other related problems. If poverty can be addressed by dealing with inequality then how can poor families improve their standard of living if they cannot even eat a simple meal?
It is true that a wide income gap is the root cause of inequality and that inequality is the root cause of poverty. In the beginning of this discussion it was not clear how I can understand the real problem pertaining to poverty. But as I went through the various information and data with regards to poverty a clear link between poverty, inequality, and income was made.
The problem about poverty is urgent. But global leaders are not in agreement on the things that they need to accomplish to combat poverty and its effects. I believe that they should focus on the issue of inequality when it comes to income levels. They must try to understand how they can set things right. Good jobs must be provided and this is only possible if there is a government that can regulate these changes.
One of the best ways to deal with poverty is the creation of jobs, the rise of entrepreneurs who will provide jobs, the establishment of a prudent and reliable government to sustain the changes made. It by narrowing the gap between the rich and the poor that one can effectively deal with inequality.
If inequality is addressed then the poor will now have access to education, health care, and nutritious food. If the poor will have access to these things then it means that they can compete with the rest. They will have a chance to turn their lives around. But as long as inequality exists there is no way for them to break free from the bondage of poverty.
Koss, Johann and McArthur, John. “Davos 2011: Communities of action to end extreme poverty.” The Huffington Post. Jan. 2011. 10 Mar. 2011.
Shah, Anup. 10 Mar. 2011. Casuse of poverty. 02 Jan. 2011.
The Economist. 10 Mar. 2011. Inequality: The Rich and the Rest. 20 Jan. 2011
The New York Times. 10 Mar. 2011. Rising food prices push millions into poverty. 15 Feb. 2011 < http://community.nytimes.com/comments/economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/rising-food-prices-push-millions-into-poverty-study-says/?scp=6&sq=poverty&st=cse>.
The Stanford Center for the Study of Poverty and Inequality. 10 Mar. 2011. Income inequality is extreme and increasing. 2005.