Saturday, July 9, 2011

Can Poverty Be Eradicated???

Statistics show that almost half of the world’s people (over three million people) live on less than $ 2.50 per day and at least 80% of all humanity live on less than $10 per day. In Nigeria alone, 64% of the population lives below the internationally recognized poverty line of $1.25 per day. Virtually all nations have on their agenda the eradication of poverty, every potential government latches on to the catchphrase “the eradication of poverty”. However the elephant in the room (the question we never ask ourselves) is “Can poverty really be eradicated?”
Let us start by looking at this question from this perspective: There is this principle called the 20/80 principle (the pareto law). Economically stating this principle and integrating it with all this talk on poverty; it means that 20% of the world’s population controls 80% of the world’s resources. According to statistics, the richest 20% accounts for three-quarters of the world’s income and the world’s wealthiest countries (approximately 1 billion people) accounted for 36.6 trillion dollars out of world income of 48.2 trillion dollars (that is, 76% of world income) in 2006; these statistics thus validate the 20/80 principle as it regards the world’s economy. Given these statistics and the fact that as individuals we tend to think foremost of ourselves, I mean so long as it does not affect me how is it any of my business; it simply means that the world’s resources will remain in the hands of the smaller 20% and the problem of poverty will by no means be solved. However, let us factor in the possibility that some of these smaller 20% are blessed with kind hearts and then they are engaged in so much philanthropy as is the case nowadays, how come poverty is by no means being assuaged since some of the world’s resources are now being diverted from the 20% to the larger 80%. This is where corruption, inadequate policy programs and inefficient administrative techniques come in. It is no secret that the larger proportions of the 80% reside in the developing nations and that these nations are in dire need of aid to battle poverty and in fact large amounts of aid has been sent over, but over the years the effect of this aid has largely not been felt. A large percentage of aid sent has knowingly found its way to private pockets and a substantial percentage has been used up on inadequate policy programs and even policy programs with potential have been inefficiently administered. Also government funds earmarked to tackle poverty have by no means fared better. In the face of these statistics and problems that confront us, let us seriously ask : “Can poverty really be eradicated”.

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