Recently I posted a short article explaining what is wealth inequality, its effects and how can we put a stop to it. This time I am going to deal with the people who are affected most drastically by it, the poor. Poor is a very degrading term but it befits their predicament and the conditions they are living in. Though they don’t have much to spend, lack the basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter, I would like to call them “the unfortunates”, as it is a milder term and a bit less degrading.
So, how did these unfortunates came into being and why is their number still increasing? Is it because of the ever growing population, is it lack of employment, is it lack of education or all of the above or none of it. You would be amazed to hear the answer. Poverty came hand in hand with wealth, as soon as people started earning money, there was a gap between them as some people earned more and some less. Each individual earned according to their capabilities and talents and so naturally there was gap between them.
Over the years this gap started to increase and poverty spread globally like an epidemic. The origins of poverty can be traced back to the 16th century, when the trade system was introduced. The traders became rich as their goods were being transported all over the world and there was a high demand for them. On the other hand, the general population had to suffer because they had to pay twice the amount of money which they used for the same commodity as more taxes were levied on imported goods like, freight tax,(the tax for moving goods from one place to another).
Thus, as the merchants grew richer and richer, the general population became poorer and poorer. They were many rebellions against the merchants but, they were all suppressed. Then came the Industrial Revolution, everything that till now was done by human hands was taken over by machines and many small businesses had to close down because of it. More and more people became unemployed and thus contributed to the increase in poverty.
In the beginning of the 20th century, there was a global realisation that poverty is a major issue and we have to deal with it. There was a major rise in poverty, globally there was 5% increase in world poverty, which means more than 40% of the global population lived in poverty. Today, an astonishing 80% of the world population lives in poverty. And poverty is just a start of it all. From poverty hunger arises, from hunger arises a nation’s need to feed the general population, to feed the general population of billions the nation has to import tons and tons of crops from different countries which is paid through a loan taken from IMF(International Monetary Fund). These are just a few examples of how poverty affects a nation, there are many more like better health facilities, sanitation, housing, education etc.
So how do we reduce poverty? Poverty is a disease, and almost every disease has a cure.
There are many ways to curb poverty, poverty in huge numbers exists only in underdeveloped or developing economies. These economies are mainly agro-based economies i.e the main occupation of people living in these economies is agriculture, the government can provide better agricultural facilities like better tools, tractors, multi-harvesters, high yielding seeds, efficient irrigation etc. They can also invite foreign countries to open up industries so that the country can slowly move towards their own industrial revolution, providing free education facilities, free government hospitals for treatment of the poor, better working conditions etc. They can start trading goods from outside countries and learn how to make them in their own native land more efficiently. There are many solutions to poverty, but they would only work if the ones suffering from it want to change things around.