Rethinking Poverty Essay

Table of contents

Despite the remarkable and noticeable progress since the Second World War in various parts of the world, severe poverty remains to be a concern in various regions in the globe. From the World Bank’s report of 2008, more than 1.4 billion people are living in poverty, which is under 1 dollar a day income (United Nations, 5). The world is facing very diverse challenges. Recently, crises of energy and food are making hundreds of millions to be susceptible to poverty and hunger.

The world economic and financial crisis also is threatening to wipe out progress in the reduction of poverty, as climate change remains the main threat to the lives of the poor people. The negative outcome of the crises highlights an increased vulnerability to poverty, hence calling for some international poverty reduction (Karnani, np). It eventually underscores the need of rethinking strategies for poverty reduction, including the development paradigm.

Background information on global poverty

Poverty is a key cause of undernourishment and hunger. From the 2009 research by the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 960 million people are hungry people worldwide, representing more than 15 percent of the world population. Most of the hungry and undernourished individuals are in the poor countries nations.

Poverty on its own is claiming more than 25 000 children every day, with the number also increasing all the time (United Nations, 5). These children die miserably in various parts of the earth. Also, more than 28 percent of the children in countries that are developing, are assumed and assessed to be stunted or underweight. More than 1 billion individuals in the unindustrialized countries lack access to sufficient water, while more than 2.6 billion individuals are under inadequate sanitation (United Nations, 6).

When relating poverty and inequality, they have a close relationship, and inequality itself is rising worldwide at both the national and global levels. Over 81 percent of the global population lives in nations where there is an increase in the income differences. 40 percent which represents the poorest of the world population only contribute to 5% of the global income. Whereas, 20 percent which represents the rich are accounting for 75% of the global income (United Nations, 7).

Multidimensional nature of poverty

Poverty does no only entail lack of unsatisfied material needs or undernourishment. Other accompaniments include state of powerlessness. In the democratically organized nations, the poor people do not have a choice but to accept the political humiliations that they face. Since they feel ashamed of being unable to care and provide for their children, they lose hope with life, and they feel like they do not have anything to show beyond how they survive. From the 2000 Millennium Summit which was adopted during the United Nations Declaration, the leaders came up with some Millennium Development Goals (Karnani, np).

The major goal was towards halving global poverty by 2015, which never worked so well even up to now. The progress towards meeting the target of reducing poverty has constantly been threatened by financial and economic crisis, which began during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which was a major hit to the world at a time it was recovering from the energy and food crises. The impact of poverty is mostly felt in the African countries, which depend on imported cereals, forming 80% of their dietary being imported (United Nations, 6).

When poverty strikes, children are majorly affected. The children always suffer the health and education setbacks when such crises come. When the families shrink the household budgets, the parents are forced to pull their children to leave school, with girls being the first target as compared to boys. From the 2009 – 2015 report, it constantly shows that more than 1.5 to 2.8 million children, especially infants may die in case the crisis will persist (United Nations, 7).

It is attestable that international energy, food, economic and financial predicaments are the main causes of poverty in the global regions. They reverse the progress which is achieved so far towards realizing the internationally agreed development goals towards eradicating poverty. Besides these cause, climate change poses another severe risk to the reduction of poverty as well as threatening in undoing the decades of laying development efforts (Brady et al. 751). The confrontational impacts of change in climate are much evident as natural tragedies become common and devastating with developing countries being much susceptible and prone to these effects.

Major victims of poverty globally

Although poverty is said to be a global phenomenon, it is evident that those who feel it most are the poor people as well as developing countries. These developing countries are prone to the climate change effects because their institutional and financial capability towards anticipating and responding to the adverse impacts of financial changes are greatly insufficient (Pearce, 122). Many of the sectors which are providing the basic services for livelihood to the poor people living in the developing countries are not able to deal with the current stresses and variability of climate changes in these particular countries.

Poverty eradication as an ethical and moral imperative

The eradication of poverty is considered to be both moral as well ethical imperative, with its course being the governing standards of United Nations. Living poverty and hunger-free life if considered to be among the fundamental freedoms and human rights that every individual need to enjoy, according to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.

Article 25, clause 1 of this Declaration states that any person has the right to living adequately both for health and wellbeing, and even the family when it comes to commodities like clothing, medical attention, clothes and basic needs. The United Nations’ General Assembly also recognizes extreme poverty is a great defilement of human privileges, including the right of living as well. Hence, one of the basic United Nations’ goals is towards promoting high living standards, with employment as well as social and economic development, as defined by the articles 55 and 56 of the same Declaration (United Nations, 8).

Poverty is also the violation of some of the fundamental standards of social justice. Social justice, in its broad sense, emphasizes the key standards of non-segregation as well as fairness including the political, civic, cultural, economic and social rights. These principles, when rightly applied, will give rise to the socio-political priorities and reduce the vulnerability, segregation and discrimination development (Cobbinah et al. 28). The social justice has a requirement that every individual should have an equal living standard, and that those people who live in poverty should be receiving assistance and support in case they lack the means of living their lives of human dignity and worth.

Growth, inequality and poverty eradication

A successful and sustained reduction of poverty is fully dependent on the pace of a country’s development growth. Most of the East Asian countries have affirmed that poverty can be reduced. Most of the successful example of a quick reduction in poverty in this modern age, also confirms that the nations with equivalent delivery of its resources and revenue develop faster than the nations with high inequality degree.

High smallholder’s output, investment of human capital, economies of scale are just by suggestive factors towards accounting the reason that great equality has a concision with fast growth. Rapid industrial investment expansion as well as jobs to enable the surplus labor to be absorbed also show a good experience on the reduction on poverty levels (Babcock, np).

The continuing reduction of poverty in the East Asian region does not only depend on the results of unleashing the market powers. However, it lies in the states’ continual forge on the social contract. The contract was designed towards ensuring jobs expansion in the labor-intensive industries to employ the unskilled labor and reduce poverty. Also, the contract works towards effecting a shift to technologically demanding activities for competitive benefits in the international markets for future increased living standards.

Rethinking of poverty currently

Since the United Nations adopted the Millennium Declaration in 2000, various nations in Latin America and Africa have recognized a fast growth in economy, with benefits from high prices of commodities. Most of the developing countries are achieving macroeconomic stability, with a balance in their public finances. The investors are nowadays willing to invest in the developing countries, because the financial markets are thriving in liquidity. Foreign Direct Investment or FDI is on its rise, especially on the countries which are resource-rich, while the mining countries are still the advantage of the high prices of the minerals (Pearce, 124).

The strong growth and development of countries like India and China help in reducing the global poverty rates, not only within themselves but also with the trading partners’ economies. The world strategy towards economic growth is essential in the reduction of poverty. Those convinced that economic growth is offering the better way towards reducing poverty and the benefit of the poor from globalization would make the world a better place.

However, the main problem is with the crises in food and energy as well as global economic and financial crisis. As per now, the World Bank has revised the “dollar-a-day” methodology as well as the poverty estimates (Babcock, np). The world has come to the point of accepting the poverty reduction is something complex and needs conventional wisdom. Hence it calls for a more oriented and progressive state of activism and universality, rather than selectivity towards the social policy.


There is also hope that through the highlight of moral obligation to handle poverty as a human right and fundamental, social spending problem will be automatically resisted at this time of economic hardship. However, the ultimate role of handling poverty as well as climate change is lying on the hands of governments. The developed words must play their role to support the developing countries’ efforts in achieving the globally agreeable developmental goals towards ensuring there is an establishment of an inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world which is free from poverty, hunger, deprivation, and indignity.

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