( A twelve-minute read that could be the answer to Poverty)
You don’t have to be Einstein to recognize that inequality in all its forms is what wrong with our world. It haunts every minute of our lives no matter who you are, however ‘Ending world poverty is an unrealistic goal’
It is policy not aid which matters most in today’s world.
Because the politics of inequality in the future will be as important as the economics of the Future.
Relative poverty is unpreventable without tackling inequalities.
The aspirations of delivering a world where the quality of education, healthcare and national infrastructure available to every person is sufficient to bestow on them meaningful hope and ambition is hopefully the aim of “development”. I emphasize the word hopeful.
In a world in which a billion people live on $1.26 a day, with climate immigration increasing and technology Algorithms blundering the world’s wealth.
We’re going to have to realize sooner than later that if we are to avoid or end violent conflicts ( That these days has inequality as their triggers) there is only one course to follow and that is to spread the wealth of the world fairly.
Poverty is a perception – it is a status which is bestowed on people who have relatively little – even in societies of plenty. Just look at the prevailing political view on aid to middle-income countries that contain hundreds of millions of desperately poor people.
We all know that the chances of ending poverty altogether are zero.
It would potentially cost some of the world’s biggest businesses billions and would need to be agreed by a group of world leaders who, if they all went out to dinner, would be sat around the table with their calculators out arguing about how to split the bill.
In a world driven by Greed, Advertising, and now more and more by filtered Social Media, we are becoming increasingly desensitized to the blight of others.
For those working in organisations that are dependent on official development assistance, it is hard to talk about ending their dependency, but the 21st century demands the challenge is not ducked.
Too much negativity and accusation of not making any progress with aid money. Comments like Shit Holes, which imply that aid is no longer necessary are undermining our Aid agencies, which are becoming an increasingly endangered species.
So if we accept that we won’t be satisfied if we overcome absolute poverty, where do we go next?
The closer we get to ending extreme poverty, the harder it is going to be to do it.
Imagine how different the world would be if the focus of aid spending was not “ending $1.25 dollar a day poverty” but “creating a fairer and more equitable world”.
Relative poverty will always exist and it should always be at the forefront of efforts to improve our world because it demands more than the bare minimum solution, or Asshole Trumps.
Decisions taken on tax regimes, remittance flows and trade concessions are now not the fastest route to assist poor countries in their development. Inequality is at the root of the reasons why.
So in this world of inequalities is there any way of assisting development in a meaningful way.
Gadgets like tablets, smartphones and not-so-smart phones are multiplying five times faster than we are, with our population growing at a rate of about two people per second, or 1.2% annually.
The world is home to 7.2 billion gadgets, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are.
The Mobile phone has done more for Africa than all Aid. No other technology has impacted us like the mobile phone.
The number of mobile phone users in the world is expected to pass the five billion mark by 2019. In 2016, an estimated 62.9 percent of the population worldwide already owned a mobile phone.
The mobile phone penetration is forecasted to continue to grow, rounding up to 67 percent by 2019.
By 2019, China is expected to reach almost 1.5 billion mobile connections and India almost 1.1 billion.
The number of smart phone users worldwide is expected to grow by one billion in a time span of five years.
It’s not that every person in the world has a mobile device, far from it; more than half of the population don’t have a mobile phone.
There are around 250 million machine-to-machine connections.
That may only be a fraction of the total number of mobile connections, but it was enough to knock us people off our perch in the man vs machine superiority stakes.
Just imaging what would happen if we were to equip everyone in the world (of voting age) with a mobile phone that could receive a basic income on a monthly basis.
Each phone with its unique pin.
With a phone that supplies a basic income we would witnessing a transformation in the way people relate to their governments.
Not just a safer way to store money, but to reduce the need for Aid, to cut out corruption, to empower the poor, to eradicate inequality, to encourage closing the digital divide with the rest of the world. To give a sense of a future, information, opportunity and choice. To lift young people are currently trapped in poverty, often exacerbated by the need to contribute to their family incomes.
Explosive growth in mobile broadband use across continents would improve transparency and give a voice to citizens.
They would have a major economic, social and political impact.
So instead of the World Bank, the IMF, the Warren Buffets, the Bill Gates, the Mark Zckerbergs, the UN, Oxfam, the WTO, technology has the potential to lift people out of poverty.
There is no reason that a mobile money basic income could not be achieved with the application of a world aid commission of 0.05%. ( See previous posts)
Applying such a commission: (On all profit seeking Algorithms, on all High Frequency Trading, on all Foreign Exchange Transactions over $50,000, on all Sovereign Wealth Funds acquisitions, to mention just a few of the existing Capitalist instruments that are solely designed for Profit.) would create a perpetual Fund of trillions.
Traditional banking is out of reach for many people in rural areas of developing countries, but mobile is bringing people into the financial system in droves. Financial inclusion, starting with a humble savings account, enables people to start businesses, invest in education and weather bad times.
Mobile still has hurdles to jump before it can reach all the lives of people most in need of the technology: Namely, reliable, affordable energy and comprehensive network coverage. However you can rest assured if aid was directed to placing a communication satellite in orbit to service Africa or Latin America cell, phone use could help developing the countries within these Continents to plan electrical infrastructure.
There are in the world already a enough used mobile phones to supply most of Africa ( Pop. 1,273,903, 985)
Unfortunately there seems to be a major barrier to people turning in their old phones to be recycled.
To give a couple of examples, a recent survey found that 63% of Canadians have an unused phone at home. And in the UK alone, people are holding on to an estimated 76.8 million unused phones.
If your used phone is a very recent model, you may want to consider sending it in to Fairphone’s recycling program.
So Technology presents as opportunity to articulate a broader and more sustainable vision.
It is essential that we take it.
Poverty shouldn’t be a Catch 22 but in reality, for some, it is.
All human comments and suggestions much appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.