Distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen; today I seek to address an issue that has been here for us from one generation to another. It is common to switch on the television and see a campaign to aid children in Africa who live in abject poverty, walk on the streets, and meet a homeless man or woman. Poverty is an issue that every political leader promises to address in both developed and underdeveloped countries. However, do you ever wonder why poverty increases in areas that have been historically poor? Does it concern you that those neighborhoods that were poor when you were a young boy are still the poorest to date? It is not that the poor don’t work, but we all know that in the capitalist society we live in today, to get a good education you need money, to get proper sanitation you need more money a good health care you need insurance (Smeeding et. al.,1990). Even to start a business, you need to own something so that the banks can consider giving you a loan. I am here today to remind us all that poverty is because of the inequality that we promote by making the fundamental rights of sections of society inaccessible. We can confidently state that increased inequality in society causes poverty. However, the good news is that just like any man made inequalities, and it can be overcome and eradicated through the collective actions of individuals.
“Poverty is a disease that eats you not just from the outside but also from the inside” these are the words of a woman from Bolivia living in abject (Picture 1). It is the ordeal that billions of people around the world have to live with every day of their life. It is further painful because, the poorest who are the majority in the world are also the same people with the least access to health, education and other social services (Murali, 2004). They suffer and die from diseases such as Malaria and measles that no one in the 21st century should be dying from. It is because; the minority holds the resources needed to access these basic social needs in society. The owners and shareholders of the pharmaceutical corporations are the ones controlling the prices of such drugs yet it is not their children, mothers, sisters, or brothers suffering from the ailments. The world has been left under the control of the merchants who are the owners of the resources and means of production and hence do what is necessary to make sure that the poor remain poor.
We live in a society where the wealthier one is, the more the political and economic policies are bound to benefit you. Imagine a country that spends more money to finance a war in a foreign country than they spend in the education of the public. It had happened in America before during the Vietnamese War where the military spent billions in financing the war yet the African American people remained without access to education (Smith & Stephen, 2005). There were no good educational and health policies that could benefit those from the lower socioeconomic strata. It continues to happen today with the plans we hear around the world focused on making the rich richer and the poor forgotten. They call it a vicious cycle of poverty, but I call it a vicious cycle of inequality.
In a report on World Social Situation: The Inequality Predicament by the United Nations Poverty Social Policy and Development Division, it states that poverty alleviation efforts cannot be sustainable and successful unless there is equality (Undesadspd.org, 2015).. There is the need to ensure that individuals access equal opportunities to resources and access to basic social services such as education. Globally, over 1 billion people live below the poverty lines just indicate the high levels of inequality in society. Inequality in every form not only impairs the growth and development of the corporation but also increases the levels of poverty.
Corruption in every respect is one of the worst forms of inequality among the developed and the developing nations. Poverty is a consequence of corrupt policies makers and corrupt systems of governance. Imagine a project meant to cost the taxpayer a certain amount of money inflated to serve the interest of certain individuals and hence costs the nation more money. Projects gave in a fraudulent manner to contractors that have no interests of the public at heart, making them unsustainable and not attaining the desired objectives. It leads to an extreme form of inequality and subsequently leads to increased poverty among the taxpayers and the society in general (Sarah, 2009).
Time has come to see poverty for what it is. It is a typical outcome of unfairness, inequity, and lack of opportunities. Imagine being born in an environment where you cannot access food, education, or health by the mere virtue that you were born in a disadvantaged family. Imagine a situation where you cannot even access a simple job without engaging in corruption through bribery, tribalism, or nepotism (Globalpovertyproject.com, 2015). Imagine living in an environment where you are paid less than 2 dollars in a day yet the government expects you to take a health insurance to access good healthcare. Failing to offer people opportunities is like expecting your child to acquire language fluency one day yet you lock them in a room and have never spoken to him or her. Therefore, poverty can only be eradicated through providing equal access to opportunities and social services to all individuals regardless of their background.
Murali, V. (2004). Poverty, social inequality and mental health. Advances In Psychiatric
Treatment, 10(3), 216-224. http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/apt.10.3.216
Sarah B. (2009). Behind the Development Banks: Washington Politics, World Poverty, and the
Wealth of Nations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Smeeding, Timothy M., O'Higgins, Michael & Rainwater, L. (1990). Poverty, Inequality and
Income Distribution in Comparative Perspective. New York: Urban Institute Press.
Smith & Stephen C. (2005). Ending Global Poverty: a guide to what works, New York: Palgrave
Undesadspd.org,. (2015). Poverty and Inequality. Retrieved 15 November 2015, from
Globalpovertyproject.com,. (2015). Global Poverty Project. Retrieved 15 November 2015, from
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