Social Welfare

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Jason Liou
Professor Alex Munroe
SL 100 oc
17 November 2010
Poverty

Poverty is a problem that is expanding throughout every nation in the world. Some face higher levels of severity and others less but it is a problem that requires the collaboration of every nation to help fight against it. Although some countries are significantly wealthier than others, poverty still exists in the all countries worldwide nevertheless.

Poverty can be defined as “the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor; indigence.” In other words, those who are unable to support themselves with the basic necessities to survive are categorized as living in poverty.

In the society that we live in today, approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide are living under the poverty threshold, which is also known as the poverty line. Prior to 2008, the international poverty line was set at approximately $1.00/day. In 2008, the poverty line was revised to a more accurate number of $1.25 after careful studies by the World Bank.

Out of all the nations in the world, the Republic of Zambia, a country in the interior of Southern Africa has the highest percentage of its population living below the poverty line at 86%. Like many similar developing countries, the gap between the wealthy and the poor is fairly immense. The poor often have no say in global decisions, policies and practices as these are normally under the influence by the rich and powerful. The government is left powerless and a small number out of the entire population stays wealthy while the majority are left finding themselves struggling with survival.

Overtime, with the efforts of many world-wide organizations such as the Red Cross and the World Bank, the percentage of people living in poverty throughout the world has slowly started to decrease. From 1981 to 2005, China’s rate of poverty fell from an astounding 85% to a mere 15.9% which is a total of approximately 600 million people. Although the number of people living in poverty as dramatically decreased, China’s faced with other problems such as the scarcity of natural resources and the destruction of the ecosystem due to the deterioration of the environment.

China decreased its poverty rate vividly by improving its human capital, opening up to foreign trade and investment and created a better investment climate for personal profit. When China joined the World Trade Organization, a global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations, the average tariffs dropped below 10% which helped increase importing and exporting throughout the nation.

In the late 1970’s, China’s government announced the Household Responsibility System (HRS) which allowed individual households more freedom in the decisions they made over their land and resources they used. In return, China saw its productivity rise and little by little, the difference between the wealthy and poor decreased therefore, decreasing the poverty rate of the entire country. Eventually, with China’s economy and its production on the rise, the rate of poverty decreased greatly over only a few years.

Experts have come to the conclusion that the primary factors that lead to poverty are a combination of overpopulation, the unequal distribution of resources in the world economy, inability to meet high standards of living and costs of living, inadequate education and employment opportunities, environmental degradation, certain economic and demographic trends, and welfare incentives depending on the different areas.

The verb “overpopulate” is defined as to fill with an excessive number of people, straining available resources and facilities. If a country is said to be overpopulated, it could be described as having a high population density meaning a high people to land area ratio. As the number of people per square kilometre increases, it limits the amount of common good a person can consume....
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