Issues of Poverty

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Three main points to think about issues of poverty in the future

Poverty is a complex problem that is easily understood but hard to solve. We understand that on the global scale, poverty rate is on a decline as a result of economic development that lifts millions of people out of the poverty trap. In fact, the World Bank estimated that people living on less than $1.25 a day dropped by from 1.8 billion to 1.4 billion between 1995 and 2005. Although this is a remarkable gain, it shall not understate that more than 1 billion people are still living in extreme poverty. So, there remains much work to be done to solve poverty and it helps to think of the issue in terms of the following frameworks.

First, business can help solve poverty conditions. For the longest time, people view business as a profit-making organization with the goal of creating wealth for the shareholders. But increasingly, the business community has developed a greater awareness of the plight of underprivileged people that need attention and aids. Some businesses incorporate social objectives into their mission, while some others take social responsibility as the main goal. Regardless of the orientation, society has gained significant benefit from businesses’ greater investment in socially responsible causes. These benefits include greater market accessibility to the poor, better environmental protection, and more employment opportunities among many others.

Second, actions to alleviate poverty should focus on local needs and be sustainable to maximize its positive impact. We have witnessed the remarkable success of microfinance – a social business that focuses on making financial services accessible to the rural poor. Microfinance fills the gap where large commercial banks are unable to provide due to the cost constraint. Microfinance provides the avenue for the poor to take out small loans to grow their domestic business as well as a relatively safe platform for saving and investment. It...
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