Poverty in Argentina

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December 8, 2011

Poverty in Argentina

Poverty by definition is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. In specific absolute poverty is the inability to afford basic human needs, which include, but are not limited to: fresh and clean water, clothing and shelter, nutrition, and lastly healthy care. Rodriguez, (2002) There are about 1.7 million people who live in absolute poverty in today’s society. According to Tomas Raffo, an economist with the Argentine workers Central trade union’s Institute of studies and Training, 2004 “Argentina has beaten an all-time record: it is the only country in the world where poverty has grown faster than the population.”

In Argentina there are deep disparities in income and wealth. Rodriguez, (2002) In the year 2000 the richest ten percent of Argentina’s population earned roughly thirty six percent of the country’s income, whereas the poorest ten percent earned merely 1.5 percent of the income. Needless to say, these statistics are sad to say the least. These estimates are determined by surveys done on sub-groups, and the results then being weighted by the number of people in each group. An example would be rich nations employ more generous standards of poverty, than the poor nations do. Rodriguez, (2002) In 1970 the population of Argentina stood at twenty two million people, of which one million were poor. Now the population is at thirty eight million and eighteen million of these people are poor. This is basically stating that there are sixteen million more people in Argentina and seventeen million more are poor. Majority of the nations unfortunate conditions come primarily from one issue, which is genetically engineered crops, the effect it has on children, and it’s relation with political regulation.

One of the key underlying causes in regards to the poverty rate in Argentina has to do directly with genetically engineered (GE) crops. In many other parts of the world this is actually helping to feed the world, but in Argentina the effect is opposite of that, in which it is actually increasing poverty and hunger. Argentina has used GE crops more than any other location other than the United States. Since they were originally introduced in the year 1996 the area that is under soya cultivation has more than doubled, but during this same period food insecurity has increased greatly (Rodriguez, 2002). If you set aside export led growth as well as models of globalization, the reality is that Argentina has hundreds of thousands of children who are currently malnourished or at risk of this. GE crops may not be the only reason for poverty in Argentina, but the spread of these crops has undermined the resilience and capacity of people to look after them when the government fails.

GE crops essentially lock Argentina into the wrong kind of trade: a model of export-oriented agriculture that serves a few privileged, but in turn undermines the food security of normal people at home (Rodriguez, 2002). A large part of their GE soya crop is actually turned into fodder and used on livestock. The production methods that are used rely on a heavy use of chemicals is destructive to local environments as well as local communities. There are also other false claims that go along with the production of GE crops such as they are no more productive than other varieties. The gains in production that can be seen simply come from turning more land over to agriculture and not actual productivity movements. The GE soya production poses an even further threat to Argentina’s most valuable rainforest areas. There is much evidence that shows that GE-free, patent-free, and chemical free farming already is working in positively in other parts of the world as explained by Rodriguez, (2002). On top of this there is tremendous potential to provide livelihoods and food security to millions more not only in Argentina, but around the world as well.

Roughly 700,000 children...
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