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Do you believe desperate poverty can ever be eradicated?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Whom do you think of when you hear the words "extreme poverty"? The homeless, war refugees, inhabitants of a failed state like Somalia, or squatters on refuse dumps in some of the world's megalopolises? These are just two of the stories I came across this weekend, and both are extremely sobering. Is the eradication of such poverty simply a utopian idea?

In rural Alaska, villagers suffer in near silence

Bush residents struggle to balance the need for food with the need for fuel -- the building blocks of survival in a frigid winter that has months to go. Some call for massive airlifts of aid.
  • The public alarm first sounded from Emmonak, a town of about 800 people near the mouth of the Yukon River, when Nicholas Tucker polled fellow villagers and found many in a state of desperation: They were running out of food after paying up to $200 a week for fuel oil to heat their home ...
  • Most people are two weeks on, two weeks off," a job-sharing arrangement devised to spread out the village's 34 available jobs...
  • But last year's dramatic escalation in fuel prices, combined with a disastrous fishing season, plunged the ramshackle villages of America's frontier into one of the worst crises in decades, prompting calls for humanitarian aid and demands for pricing reform ...
  • "What most people do not realize is that what our country as a whole has been seeing for the past year or so is nothing compared to the economic conditions that have been prevailing in many of our Native communities for over 100 years," Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Jan. 1 ...
  • But doing much more can be politically difficult in a state where urban residents often resent the substantial subsidies that keep rural Alaska afloat ....
Desperate Children Flee Zimbabwe, for Lives Just as Desolate

With their nation in a prolonged sequence of crises, more unaccompanied children and women than ever are joining the rush of desperate Zimbabweans illegally crossing the frontier at the Limpopo River, according to the police, local officials and aid workers.
What they are escaping is a broken country where half the people are going hungry, most schools and hospitals are closed or dysfunctional and a cholera epidemic has taken a toll in the thousands. Yet they are arriving in a place where they are unwelcome and are resented as rivals for jobs. Last year, Zimbabweans were part of the quarry in a spate of mob attacks against foreigners....The South African government issues temporary asylum papers to about 250 of these refugees a day, entitling them to six months without worry of deportation. Unaccompanied minors are ineligible for this status, though, leaving them in an odd limbo, with no specified place in the bureaucratic shuffle.
post #2 of 6
I don't know what the answer is, it makes my heart hurt.

I do know there are way, way to many people inhabiting this Planet and I think there should be low cost spay/neuter for humans.

That is one thing China has gotten right.
post #3 of 6
Originally Posted by ckblv View Post

I do know there are way, way to many people inhabiting this Planet and I think there should be low cost spay/neuter for humans.
LOL, I can't help but agree...
post #4 of 6
I believe there will be a time in human history when the basic necessities of life, food, shelter and clothing, are so abundant and readily available that everyone will have all that they need. As long as that abundance doesn't exist there will be circumstances beyond a persons control or within their control but which they are unwilling to act to change, that prevent them from having what they need and there will be abject poverty.
post #5 of 6
Considering most of the abject poverty is caused by politics, I'm not very optimistic. The world has enough resources.

Zimbabwe was the "Bread Basket" of Africa only a few years ago. Mugabe's mismanagement and dictatorship has destroyed the lives of his people.

In the US, there is the suspicion that poor people are lazy and free-loaders so we won't help with government aid. And even if we do, the scammers and the corporations end up taking most of it.

One thing that has helped immensely is free trade. It enabled the middle class to thrive in China and India. This results in a sensitivity that makes people more likely to help the poor. The poor are better able to find a voice. But free trade is under attack and it is getting worse with the economic downturn. Europe and the US subsidize farmers who are inefficient or are corporations. So the poorer farmers elsewhere cannot compete.
post #6 of 6
I've said it before: no amount of money can cure the cause of this, overpopulation. All the money we throw into the UN for programs, all the infomercials with starving kids, doesn't change a dang thing unless we eliminate the source. Feeding a child for a month is a wonderful gesture and makes everyone feel good, but when that child and their dozen siblings live to be teenagers and start reproducing, we've only perpetuated the cycle.
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