Shift in poverty


For much of history, despair often bred despair among the poor. The poor rejected help simply out of depression ab...
For much of history, despair often bred despair among the poor. The poor rejected help simply out of depression about their future. Farmers, for example, might refuse new types of fertilizer even if told it would aid their harvests.

The UN report suggests a possible end to this mental mire, with hope perhaps now breeding on hope.

The UN report finds countries that emphasize investments in social policies _ gender equality, health, and education _ do better in the traditional measure of progress, economic growth. And the most successful developing countries have also been more open to world markets, such as welcoming foreign investment.

While these steps of progress _ from free-trade pacts to water wells, from roads to new seed varieties _ have helped reduce poverty, the overriding effect seems to be an improvement in the poor_s image of themselves as able to use the assets made available to them.

Optimism alone, however, doesn_t provide certainty of progress. In fact, the UN report also warns that climate change could disrupt recent gains. And resentment over income inequalities could disrupt many societies.

The report is well-timed as the world_s attention turns to a new Roman Catholic pope, Francis, who is noted for setting an example of siding with the poor by his humble lifestyle as the church_s leader in the capital of Argentina.
Each generation must challenge the frozen attitudes of its time. Based on this latest UN report, perhaps humanity is challenging the notion of poverty as hopelessly inevitable.

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