Skip to content

Poverty Global Issue Essay

Matthew Blouin

12/18/14

Carnegie Council Essay

Metropolitan Learning Center

Grade 11

The Solution to Poverty

            Poverty is an extremely compelling issue in the world today. In this century, I would like to see poverty to be put to an end. All over the world, millions of people suffer from poverty. They have almost nothing to eat whatsoever and don’t have enough money to support them. It is really sad to see people in America and a few other countries who are extremely wealthy and have much, much more than they actually need to live, while there are people in countries such as Africa who are living off of basically nothing. Clearly, it is evident that something must be done about this detrimental issue sooner rather than later. Luckily, there are some solutions that will be able to put an end to poverty.

            There are 196 countries in the world. Some suffer, while others prevail. In order to solve the issue of poverty, we as individual countries need to assist each other and come together as one. The more wealthy countries will have to aid the lesser developed countries by providing them with a better environment to live in, as well as helping them getting their communities organized. As a result of that, the countries that receive that assistance will be able to establish productive communities by having jobs open for almost everyone, so that those who are suffering will have the ability to support themselves and their family. That would be a more viable option for people in third world countries such as Africa. For the people in America, most of the people who suffer from poverty are the ones who were not successful in their education. In other words, they were given a chance to be successful but they did not fulfill it. What we need to do for those individuals is set up more homeless shelters as well as other things such as donations and food drives. Also, cutting back on unnecessary things and putting more money into welfare would be a great idea. However, the only thing we would need to watch out for is the people who take advantage of it. In order to provide people with welfare, thorough background checks must be made in order to assure that the people who sign up for welfare actually need it. On the topic of welfare, countries that are more wealthy than necessary should be able to share their wealth with the countries that are in distress. It is basically welfare on a much larger scale. For example: say that Europe was extremely wealthy and a country such as Afghanistan was suffering. They “call out” for help, and Europe transfers the necessary amount of money that would at least make somewhat of a difference. From there, the country that receives the donation can than chose what they want to do with it. Whether it is using it for individual citizens, or the better of the country itself, it still is making a difference. There are two things that need to happen in order for this to be successful. Each country needs to communicate effectively and resolve any problems that they may have. The idea of each country assisting each other would be essentially impossible if they are all not on good terms. I believe that within this century it is possible for every country to solve any wars or conflicts that they are experiencing. When that happens, that is where the plan of each country helping each other falls into place. It is difficult to determine exactly when that will happen, but in my opinion it is very possible for that within the next two decades. If every country is on board with this solution, it should be able to fully be in effect by the year 2035. That may seem like a long time, but take into consideration the fact that the 196 countries have to all be informed about this plan and from there the political leaders of each country will inform their citizens. That itself should take about three to five years. The longer process is settling any conflicts that any countries may have. Many countries today do not get along at all. I believe that it is possible to solve those conflicts. It is achievable, but should take somewhere along the lines of eight to ten years. If everything goes as planned, I believe that it is easily one of the most effective and efficient overall solutions to fixing the issue of poverty, bettering the world as a result of that.

            Pollution actually plays a big role in poverty in today’s society. The state of the physical environment of a country dramatically impacts how the country and its citizens function as a whole. I believe that if we can cut back and prevent pollution, it will help get rid of poverty.  Take Africa, for example. There is a decent amount of water in Africa. However, humans are unable to utilize it because it is polluted. If just the water issue in Africa was fixed, they as a whole would be in a much greater position than they are as of right now. That is just only one country used as an example. Many other countries would tremendously benefit in terms of their poverty level if they had less or no pollution whatsoever. In order to rid of pollution, us people around the world need to put our best foot forward and make sure that we do not pollute any more. From there, the pollution in the world should slowly be able to recede. I believe that within this century, that is very possible. The key to this solution is to make sure that we don’t add to the pollution. If we do add to the pollution, all of the progress that would have been made would be wasted. There is only one setback to this solution, but it isn’t anything that can’t be dealt with. The setback is that there is a substantial amount of jobs that pollute the environment. Many factories especially in urban areas emit air pollution. Since part of getting rid of poverty is providing people with jobs, that would be pointless is they are creating pollution. What needs to happen to cater to this issue is finding a way for factories and other buildings to become environmentally friendly. In my opinion, that happening would most likely be a more lengthy process. In order for that to happen, it should take about twenty to twenty-five years. By then, technology will be greatly more developed than it is today. As a result of that, a device of some sort will be able to be created which will be able to eliminate or at least dramatically cut back on pollution. When that happens, that will greatly impact the world for the better.      

            Eliminating poverty throughout the world certainly won’t be easy without a doubt. However, if the plan that I am proposing goes as planned, I believe that poverty will be completely eliminated. If nobody in the world whatsoever was experiencing poverty, the world would excel about twice as fast, obviously being very beneficial to the state of the world. Everyone would have the ability to be productive members to their own society, which as a result of that would change the world for the better. So basically, the two main things that have to occur in order eliminate poverty is each country has to get rid of any current conflicts that they may have, and pollution needs to be eliminated or at least reduced. I can only see great things that come out of this solution, and it can easily happen within this century. A world without poverty can and will better the state of the world as a whole.

Author and Page information

  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated Sunday, September 28, 2014
  • This page: http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty.
  • To print all information (e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links), use the print version:

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization are global decisions, policies, and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or 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.

In the face of such enormous external influence, the governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.

These next few articles and sections explore various poverty issues in more depth:

14 articles on “Causes of Poverty” and 6 related issues:

Poverty Facts and Stats

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. 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.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. 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.

Some facts and figures on poverty presented in this page are eye-openers, to say the least.

Read “Poverty Facts and Stats” to learn more.

Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty

Last updated Sunday, March 24, 2013.

Cutbacks in health, education and other vital social services around the world have resulted from structural adjustment policies prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as conditions for loans and repayment. In addition, developing nation governments are required to open their economies to compete with each other and with more powerful and established industrialized nations. 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.

Read “Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty” to learn more.

Poverty Around The World

Last updated Saturday, November 12, 2011.

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.

Many feel that high levels of inequality will affect social cohesion and lead to problems such as increasing crime and violence.

Inequality is often a measure of relative poverty. Absolute poverty, however, is also a concern. World Bank figures for world poverty reveals a higher number of people live in poverty than previously thought.

For example, the new poverty line is defined as living on the equivalent of $1.25 a day. With that measure based on latest data available (2005), 1.4 billion people live on or below that line.

Furthermore, 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:

Read “Poverty Around The World” to learn more.

Today, around 21,000 children died around the world

Last updated Saturday, September 24, 2011.

Images © UNICEF

Around 21,000 children die every day around the world.

That is equivalent to:

  • 1 child dying every 4 seconds
  • 14 children dying every minute
  • A 2011 Libya conflict-scale death toll every day
  • A 2010 Haiti earthquake occurring every 10 days
  • A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring every 11 days
  • An Iraq-scale death toll every 19–46 days
  • Just under 7.6 million children dying every year
  • Some 92 million children dying between 2000 and 2010

The silent killers are poverty, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. Despite the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage.

Read “Today, around 21,000 children died around the world” to learn more.

World Hunger and Poverty

Last updated Sunday, August 22, 2010.

Meaningful long-term alleviation of hunger is rooted in the alleviation of poverty, as poverty leads to hunger. World hunger is a terrible symptom of world poverty. If efforts are only directed at providing food, or improving food production or distribution, then the structural root causes that create hunger, poverty and dependency would still remain. While resources and energies are deployed to relieve hunger through technical measures such as improving agriculture, and as important as these are, inter-related issues such as poverty means that political solutions are likely required as well for meaningful and long term hunger alleviation.

Read “World Hunger and Poverty” to learn more.

Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty

Last updated Monday, December 10, 2007.

Food aid (when not for emergency relief) can actually be very destructive on the economy of the recipient nation and contribute to more hunger and poverty in the long term. 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. Many poor nations are dependent on farming, and so such food amounts to food dumping. In the past few decades, more powerful nations have used this as a foreign policy tool for dominance rather than for real aid.

Read “Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

Trade, Economy, & Related Issues

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Read “Trade, Economy, & Related Issues” to learn more.

Corruption

Last updated Sunday, September 04, 2011.

We often hear leaders from rich countries telling poor countries that aid and loans will only be given when they show they are stamping out corruption.

While that definitely needs to happen, the rich countries themselves are often active in the largest forms of corruption in those poor countries, and many economic policies they prescribe have exacerbated the problem.

Corruption in developing countries definitely must be high on the priority lists (and is increasingly becoming so in the wake of the global financial crisis), but so too must it be on the priority lists of rich countries.

Read “Corruption” to learn more.

Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy

Last updated Monday, January 07, 2013.

Through tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies — both legal and illegal — billions of dollars of tax are avoided. The much-needed money would helped developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations.

Some tax avoidance, regardless of how morally objectionable it may be to some people, is perfectly legal, and the global super elite are able to hide away trillions of dollars, resulting in massive losses of tax revenues for cash-strapped governments who then burden ordinary citizens further with austerity measures during economic crisis, for example. Yet these super elite are often very influential in politics and business. In effect, they are able to undermine democracy and capitalism at the same time.

As the global financial crisis has affected many countries, tackling tax avoidance would help target those more likely to have contributed to the problem while avoid many unnecessary austerity measures that hit the poorest so hard. But despite rhetoric stating otherwise, it does not seem to high on the agenda of many governments as you might think.

Read “Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Causes of Hunger are related to Poverty

Last updated Sunday, October 03, 2010.

There are many inter-related issues causing hunger, which are related to economics and other factors that cause poverty. 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. This section introduces some of these issues.

Read “Causes of Hunger are related to Poverty” to learn more.

United Nations World Summit 2005

Last updated Sunday, September 18, 2005.

The UN World Summit for September 2005 is supposed to review progress since the Millennium Declaration, adopted by all Member States in 2000. However, the US has proposed enormous changes to an outcome document that is to be signed by all members. There are changes on almost all accounts, including striking any mention of the Millennium Development Goals, that aim for example, to halve poverty and world hunger by 2015. This has led to concerns that the outcome document will be weakened. Developing countries are also worried about stronger text on human rights and about giving the UN Security Council more powers.

Read “United Nations World Summit 2005” to learn more.

IMF & World Bank Protests, Washington D.C.

Last updated Friday, July 13, 2001.

To complement the public protests in Seattle, the week leading up to April 16th/17th 2000 saw the other two global institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, as the focus of renewed protests and criticisms in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the mass demonstrations was to protest against the current form of globalization, which is seen as unaccountable, corporate-led, and non-democratic, and to show the link between poverty and the various policies of the IMF and the World Bank.

Read “IMF & World Bank Protests, Washington D.C.” to learn more.

Economic Democracy

Posted Sunday, November 26, 2000.

This next page is a reposting of a flyer about a new book from J.W. Smith and the Institute for Economic Democracy, whom I thank for their kind permission. The book is called Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle Of The 21st Century. Typically on this site, I do not advertise books etc, (although I will cite from and link to some, where relevant). However, in this case, I found that the text in the flyer provides an excellent summary of poverty's historic roots, as well as of the multitude of issues that cause poverty. (Please also note that I do not make any proceeds from the sale of this book in any way.)

Read “Economic Democracy” to learn more.

Poverty Links for More Information

Last updated Monday, April 28, 2003.

Links to other sites discussion issues on trade, the global economy, poverty and other related issues.

Read “Poverty Links for More Information” to learn more.

Trade, Economic Links For More Information

Last updated Wednesday, July 25, 2001.

Read “Trade, Economic Links For More Information” to learn more.

World hunger related links for more information

Last updated Monday, December 10, 2007.

Links to web sites and articles that discuss world hunger, the relationship between populations and hunger, of poverty and hunger, agricultural issues, land rights and so on.

Read “World hunger related links for more information” to learn more.

Sustainable Development

Last updated Sunday, September 28, 2014.

Read “Sustainable Development” to learn more.

Aid

Posted Sunday, September 28, 2014.

There are numerous forms of aid, from humanitarian emergency assistance, to longer term development aid. Some provide food aid, or military assistance, but all these forms of aid seem to be accompanied with criticism, either around inefficiency of delivery, or of political agendas or more. This section attempts to look at some of these issues.

Read “Aid” to learn more.

Share this

Bookmark or share this with others using some popular social bookmarking web sites:

Link to this page from your site/blog

… to produce this:

Anup Shah, Causes of Poverty, Global Issues, Updated: September 28, 2014

Alternatively, copy/paste the following MLA citation format for this page:

Shah, Anup. “Causes of Poverty.” Global Issues. 28 Sep. 2014. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty>.

Author and Page Information

  • by Anup Shah
  • Created: Monday, July 20, 1998
  • Last Updated: Sunday, September 28, 2014

Back to top