There is little hope of winning the war against poverty without first tackling inequality.
By the beginning of 2014, the 85 richest people on the planet had accumulated as much wealth between them as the poorest 3.5 billion. The disparities in economic and political power are widening, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown. The issue of inequality must be addressed if the fight against poverty is to be successful. Growing inequality is creating a vicious circle in which wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a very few, leaving the rest of the world’s population to fight over the crumbs that fall from the table.
Poverty is generally defined as deprivation of the basic need for clean air and water, food, shelter and health care. Most economists believe that the best way to help the poor is by achieving economic growth, which:
However, the facts show that in recent years this scenario has not been realised. The benefits of economic growth have flowed upwards to the top 20 percent of the world’s population, rather than down to the bottom 20 percent.
Critics of the economic growth paradigm believe that an interrelated, systematic approach to the problems of poverty, environmental degradation and population growth is needed instead. They have formulated several simple principles in order to achieve a more sustainable and fair development model:
Some of the most shocking facts about global poverty are outlined below.
Literacy and education
Meanwhile, in richer
parts of the world, figures for annual expenditure include:
So how much would it cost to provide universal access to basic social services in all developing countries?
Source: Global Issues website: www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats