This image from: Yahoo photos
Global Poverty and Inequality
By: Hasan A. Yahya, Ph.Ds
former Professor of Comparative Sociology
Initially, we can hypothesize that the more people come to the United States and Europe from outside as immigrants, the more percentage of the population will be under poverty lines. This hypothesis is supported to be statistically and significantly true.
The ugly face of global inequality and poverty can show in figures. 21,000 children die everyday around the world, which is equivalent to one child dying every 4 seconds.
Inequality, of course is the opposite of justice, it is a characteristic differ in terms of East-West, North-South globally. Third World countries (in Africa Asia and Latin America) for example, are often described as “developing” while the First World (Western plus New Zealand Japan and Australia ), industrialized nations are often “developed ”. While these “developing” and “developed” nations terms do not mean nations as deprived in terms of material wealth. Or having a strong economy. Both developed and developing have problems of inequality where a significant percentage (even a majority) of the population is struggling to survive.
The sharp inequality may be in gender, age, race, location and habitat. This inequality is performed in the fields of health and care, communication systems, and transportation, to name a few. Poverty also except in China so far, is distinguishing industrial from agricultural countries. This division while almost all social theorists return it to Capitalism (began with colonialism in the past, some return it to the neo-colonialism in the form of education connections and diplomatic relations emphasizing the fact of population growth compared with the natural resources.
Inequality disparities between wealth and poverty, was recently observed in several Arab countries, forming social tensions and calling for change as the case of what is called ignorantly as “The Arab Spring”. While spring in nature brings growth of resources for people to feed themselves. The people spring means more people, very strong in quantity but very poor in quality. Looking at the factor of illiteracy, (functional or conceptual) may give this assumption a high importance. Some thinkers describe poverty ( or inequality) as “turning good people to evil” even in both strong or fragile democracies.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the sharp measure of inequality is showing that 1 in every 7 people in the United States are in poverty. In 2009, 43.6 million American calculated as 14.6% percent of the Population were living under poverty line. An increase from 13.2% percent in 2008.
In Europe, According to the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development (OECD) report, 2008, the gap between rich and poor has grown in more than three-quarters of rich countries since the mid-1980s.
Inequality is usually associated with poorer, developing nations. But for many years, studies have shown that many wealthier nations also suffer from inequality, sometimes at levels similar to those of developing nations. Poverty in industrialized nations is an important issue. While many poor in wealthy countries may not be in absolute poverty as the many poor people in developing countries, the relative poverty and high inequality in many wealthy nations creates significant issue. For example, the US for a long time has had the largest gap and inequality between rich and poor compared to all the other industrialized nations like Canada, Germany, Norway, as the most affected. While this gap between rich and poor is shrinking in other countries such as, Greece, Mexico and the United Kingdom in the last decade. The top countries worldwide with the highest income gaps are: Mexico, where the richest have income of more than 25 times those of the poor, Turkey where the ratio is 17 to 1, and the United States 16 to 1. Disparities also may be found within cities and between cities and regions within the same country. For example, some areas benefit more than others from public services, infrastructure and other investments.
But what causes poverty and inequality in democratic nations in Europe and North America?
There are many factors may contribute in causing poverty, first of these factors is the rapidly growing population for example, in addition to the global financial crisis, stagnant wages, and cost of demands are also factors deepening poverty. Globalization is another factor benefited a new working elite globally, especially Multinational Corporations MNC, or small group of companies with disproportionate power over the global economy, for example, 1318 companies make the core with interlocking ownership, this core represents over 60% percent of global revenues by collectively owning through their shares the majority of the world’s large blue chip and manufacturing firms, consisting the core economy. In simple calculation concluding this article, other middle companies, and nations (developing or developed) consist only 40% percent of global revenues. Other causes may include revenues mismanagement, , arms race and corruption where foreign aid or (development assistance) through the World Bank or rich nations, is often regarded as being too much, or wasted on corrupt recipient governments despite any good intentions from donor countries. In reality, both the quantity and quality of aid have been poor and donor nations have not been held accountable. Migration in terms of skillful or functionally illiterate migration is also is a fourth factor contribute in poverty and inequality.
To solve the challenges of poverty which is a sign of inequality, social scientists and politicians suggest the following:
– The need for prioritizing long-term structural changes while addressing short-terms projects of population and resources distribution.
– Giving a particular emphasis on democratization, civil society organizations, social justice, and wealth distribution.
– Giving more attention to both conceptual and functional literacy for modern times, stamped with high-tech skills and communication which may reduce unemployment rates and illiteracy especially among men and women equally,
– The need for cooperation regionally and globally to tackle both poverty and inequality not only by the 8 powerful nations or the 20 rich nations but including the poor nations as well under the possible UN umbrella.
– Finally, solving conflicts related to global and regional power domination, supremacy and greediness. www.askdryahya.com/index.com
*** Note for readers: If you liked this, please let other people know about it. You may contact the writer using this site. Thank you!