Monday, January 25, 2016

Creating Wealth and Poverty

Today, about half the world lives on less than $5/day per person. Improvements in recent decades have benefited the wealthy with comparatively little progress for lower income groups.

"... this process of poverty creation - the forceful extraction of commonly managed assets to serve financial elites - is exactly what recent social movements have called attention to. Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring, the African uprisings, even the anti-austerity stance of new political parties in Spain and Greece, all have one thing in common: the recognition that the only way for a tiny group of people to become obscenely rich is for huge masses of others to be kept chronically poor.

This cold logic of poverty creation tells us what needs to be done. Before obsessing about amounts of foreign aid, or pretending it can solve deep systemic problems, we need to all focus on changing the rules of economic systems to make them more inclusive, more participatory, more focused on creating well-being than simply extracting more aggregate wealth, and more accountable to those billions who are not being served by the current rules. This is how mass poverty truly can be brought to an end."  ~Jason Hickel, Joe Brewer, and Martin Kirk
Here in the developed world, we fuss over the availability of the bath soap we prefer or the car we really want or the house that measures up to the stature of the person we aspire to become.  The world's typical household, however, struggles to feed and educate their children, to fight off disease, to simply survive.  

It doesn't have to be like this, does it.  There are many things we as individuals can do.