What is Global Poverty?

15/12/2014 23:13

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Poverty refers to the state of lack or the state of being poor. Global poverty basically refers to the number of people around the world whose standards of living are so low they barely have enough to survive and as a result some of these people end up dying of hunger, starvation or disease. The number of people living in absolute poverty around the world is alarming. According to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), approximately 22, 000 children die every single day due to poverty; many children in the developing world are underweight; more than 865 million people in the world live on less than a dollar a day, every 5 seconds a child dies of hunger, 1 in 30 women die during child birth in Africa.[1] Not only are these statistics devastating, but the fact that the number of people still living in absolute poverty doesn’t seem to be decreasing is worrisome. Considering the billions of dollars that have been sourced out in form of aid and development in the developing world, one would think these statistics would be less tragic.  Unfortunately, it seems the current system of funnelling money to poor nations isn’t working, even though we continue to pursue this as a solution to poverty eradication. New modes of development and aid initiatives need to be implemented if we hope to ever live in a world where the living conditions of the majority are considerably better than what they are right now.

Poverty exists in every nation in the world, but much more so in nations that have to deal with trade imbalances, debt, and imposed monopoly over natural resources. It is a common myth that poverty doesn’t exist in the developed world – a myth that needs to be busted, because many people in the developed world, especially those living in slums experience urban poverty. Equally, those living in rural areas of the developed world are caught in poverty traps, although the governments in the Global North have been vigilant in supporting their citizens, by offering subsidiary services in form of welfare packages and benefits, which helps alleviate the suffering of those living in a state of lack. 

While I would not dismiss the circumstances in which such people live in, the primary purpose and bulk of the material discussed on this blog will be focused on global poverty, in the context of the developing world, where poverty is much more blatant. Only 25% of the world’s population lives in the Global North, also commonly known as the developed world, and yet 75% of the bulk of the world’s wealth and resources also happens to be in the Global North. There is no question that this imbalance and disproportionate distribution of resources explains in part, why global poverty is still prevalent despite numerous, unsuccessful efforts to end it. In the next series of articles, I will discuss what I think are some of the key contributors to global poverty. 

[1] The Millennium Development Goals Report, 2007: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/mdg2007.pdf accessed on July 6, 2014 at 6:00pm