( A twenty-minute read if you want a world worth living in)
Most of us were taught that poverty started with the Industrial Revolution.
For the most part this is true but it did not happen in the isolation of the British Empire.
This story is powerful in its simplicity but if we rewind to about 1500 people living in South America, India, and Asia were much better off than Europeans. In fact Europe was just emerging from the dark ages.
China and India controlled most if not nearly all the world economy.
The Question is how did this change and why?
I put it down to Christopher Columbus and shoddy geographical calculations.
On his second outing in the Caribbean he was looking for gold and as a result the Spanish invasion killed must of the islands inhabitants. Then came a bloke named Cortes who ripped off the Aztec of Mexico,followed by Pizarro yet another Spanish conquistador with an unquenchable thirst for gold.
A total of over 185,000 kilograms of gold and 100 million kilograms of silver were pilfer from Latin America and pumped into Spain and then used to pay for Spanish war and debts.
(A 100 million kilograms of silver invested back then @ 5% would amount to $165 trillion to-day. More than double the world’s total GDP to-day)
This wealth allowed Europe to grow its economic wealth beyond the China or India.
The result was Europeans outsourced its labour into wars and colonization reducing the population of the rest of the world by slavery, epidemic diseases and massacres while enjoying the rich life.
( Free Slavery labour benefited the USA Colonies by over 222.5 million hours) Britain pay compensation of over £20m to slave owners equivalent to £300 million to-day which tell us nothing of the total value they produced.
The Silver was turned into cotton and sugar and spices. Cotton being the key raw material for the European Industrial Revolution.
The Surviving slaves got nothing.
Indeed without the slave colonies of the New world there would have being no market for the Industrial goods.
You could say that the above is rather a simplistic explanation but development in Africa and Latin America was effectively stolen by Europe.
So where are we to-day.
- Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
- The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
- 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).
Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this?
Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization and technology are global decisions, policies, and practices.
Formulated by the rich and powerful.
These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people.
As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.
The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.
The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.
To attract investment, poor countries enter a spiraling race to the bottom to see who can provide lower standards, reduced wages and cheaper resources.
This has increased poverty and inequality for most people. It also forms a backbone to what we today call globalization. As a result, it maintains the historic unequal rules of trade.
Now we are looking at a new form of Poverty currently being created by a few monopolies. I call it Algorithm Poverty.
Around the world, in rich or poor nations, poverty has always been present. In most nations today, inequality—the gap between the rich and the poor—is quite high and often widening.
The causes are numerous, including a lack of individual responsibility, bad government policy, exploitation by people and businesses with power and influence, or some combination of these and other factors.
Inequality will affect social cohesion and lead to problems such as increasing crime and violence. Almost half the world—over three billion people—live on less than $2.50 a day and at least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day:
And we wonder why the world is in a state of chaos.
Around 21,000 children die every day around the world. World hunger is a terrible symptom of world poverty.
Food aid (when not for emergency relief) can actually be very destructive on the economy of the recipient nation.
Free, subsidized, or cheap food, below market prices undercuts local farmers, who cannot compete and are driven out of jobs and into poverty, further slanting the market share of the larger producers such as those from the US and Europe.
Poverty leads to hunger. There are many inter-related issues causing hunger. They include land rights and ownership, diversion of land use to non-productive use, increasing emphasis on export-oriented agriculture, inefficient agricultural practices, war, famine, drought, over-fishing, poor crop yields, etc.
Solving world hunger in the conventional sense (of providing/growing more food etc) will not tackle poverty that leads to hunger in the first place.
Further, there is a risk of continuing the poverty and dependency without realizing it, because the act of attempting to provide more food etc can appear so altruistic in motive.
To solve world hunger in the long run, poverty alleviation is required.
For the first time in our history Technology offers us a chance to distribute the world’s wealth fairly.
Without Trade agreements, Aid, Repayment, Corruption, Power Brokering by NGOs, United Nations Begging, Bureaucratic interference, or any other hidden agendas.
It could be both implemented and funded by the very Algorithms that are going to spread poverty. ( See previous Posts)
It requires the large capitalist monopoly platforms to supply a free basic mobile phone to every person register as citizen of a country world-wide.
On registration the people would be allocated a pin number.
This pin would allow them to access a monthly Basic non repayable no strings attached Income payment.
There is no other way of ensuring that our world can fight poverty and climate change.
Most of the causes of hunger are found in global politics.
People are hungry not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce, but because people cannot afford it.
The number of people overweight or obese is now rivaling the number of people suffering from hunger around the world.
Its time to get off our fat asses and share our wealth not push it around to create more wealth.
If you want a world worth something in the future now is the time to start creating it. Solve World Poverty once and
It can be done with the press of a button.
All human comments appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.