The Biggest Problem with Poverty

Topics: Poverty, Africa, Poverty reduction Pages: 5 (1750 words) Published: June 4, 2007
There have many attempts to solve the problem of world poverty in recent years. Average people have begun to care and are willing to help with the age old problem. However, the world is making little progress toward the eradication of poverty. Many of the things we are doing, out of the goodness of our hearts, just aren't helping. For various reasons, the typical response to poverty of donating vast sums of money to hurting countries doesn't help the poor near as much as other solutions and sometimes may even make the problem worse.

Poverty is a huge problem in the world today. No one would disagree with this. "Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day." (Poverty Facts and Stats) Currently governments around the world are donating billions to poverty-stricken countries, but, for various reasons, it's not really helping. The world thinks that if the amount of money given was only increased, we could end poverty. "If all countries doubled their foreign aid contributions, spending 150 billion dollars every year between now and 2015, we could halve world poverty and be well on our way to its complete elimination." (Paying the Pauper) The US recently set up the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) to effectively distribute funds to the countries that need it most. Countries must be eligible and the US government works as closely as possible with the foreign government to ensure that the money is put to good use. This is a good effort, but not what is really needed. Most people fail to see the real issue behind poverty. The problem with the world today is that certain people have been shoved in a big box labeled: Poor. Money is thrown at them to try and help them out, but it is extremely hard for them to climb out of the poverty box and be a normal person. (The World Champ) Poverty activist and thinker Muhammad Yunus compares the poor to zoo animals. He says that they are handed money and taken care of when they are sick, but they live in a kind of captivity. They aren't challenged to go out and do something with their lives and wouldn't be prepared for the real world if they were given the opportunity. "They aren't stimulated to discover their possibilities, talents and creativity. They are robbed of every challenge. They are curbed in their development." (The World Champ) We need to treat those less fortunate than ourselves the same way we would want to be treated. We assume too much. This is one of the biggest problems behind poverty in the world today. "The approach to poverty is thwarted by our fixed convictions. "Poor people are helpless, unhealthy, illiterate and thus stupid, they have nothing, they know nothing, we must take care of them, we must give them food… It is completely wrong to think like this." (The World Champ) We need to understand that poor people are humans just like the rest of us. They have the same potential and abilities. They just were born into a bad situation and weren't allowed the chance of a normal life. This is true all over the world, but especially in Africa.

There are many reasons for the typical, yet wrong, response to poverty. First of all, it is the most obvious solution. Impoverished people are poor because of a lack of money. It seems obvious that the best solution would be to give them money. We fail to consider that they might need less money and more of other things. It is also the easiest solution. Nearly everyone is aware of the horrible poverty situation and would like to help. Giving cash is an easy way to help those in need without having to do very much work. Not many volunteer to work with a hands-on relief effort, but no one has a problem with slipping some coins in the offering plate or in the bucket next to the Santa ringing a bell. If people really understood the need and genuinely wanted to help, we would take much larger steps toward the eradication of world poverty.

Unfortunately, of the money donated to hurting countries...

Bibliography: "Paying the Pauper." June 1, 2007. Science & Spirit.
"Poverty Facts and Stats." June 3, 2007. Global Issues.
"Talking Points Index Page." June 1, 2007. NetAid.
"The Link Between Corruption and Poverty." June 3, 2007. The African Center for Economic growth.
"The World Champ of Poverty Fighters." June 1, 2001. Ode Magazine.
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