Global Issues

The Poorest and Most Vulnerable People in our World Today

Why are millions condemned to poverty in the midst of the means sufficient for creating an abundance for all?

Unfortunately our world system is not able to serve the needs of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in our world today.  We function in a market economy where demand is fulfilled when two things are met: need and the ability to pay. This means that there is no inherent motivation for companies to meet the needs of poor people. For example, medicines for diseases which are not suffered in the developed world is not well served by our capitalist, free market system (ex: AIDS medicines for children – because there aren’t many children in the developed world with AIDS, children in the developed world, and in particular in Sub Saharan Africa where the AIDS epidemic is the worst, have to make do with drugs which were developed for adults). This is similar to our financial system, which requires collateral to get loans, again not accessible by poor people, who often have to borrow money with exorbant interest rates which are much higher than we ourselves would pay. In indigenous communities all over the world, the very way of life of indigenous people is being challenged by corporations and governments who have other interests for their land. Because these people are so poor and powerless, their needs often get overlooked and it is up to us to be voices for this issue. Empowered people and  innovative ideas can help alleviate these global problems. For example, Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has successfully brought financial services to poor people through microcredit. James Grant helped deliver low cost health solutions to poor children all over the world, saving the lives of at least 25 Million Children. I believe that reforms to our system and innovative ideas can allieviate global problems, and discussing and learning about these issues is the first step!

3 responses

21 05 2009
Graham

Great opening question. Four immediate thoughts: 1) it could be worth exploring the idea of “market failure” cf market adaption – some might argue that the market economy is constrained by government policies which exasperate the issues you raise and that the market can respond to those with limited resources – in fact it is because of the market economy, some argue, that so many people can exist on our planet. 2) Defining poverty – this might be worth exploring and unpacking and what it means in different contexts – eg developing and developed worlds – and the power of label to enable and constrain change. 3) Voice – I like this idea a lot but you may need to be careful – marginalized groups may not appreciate outsiders speaking for them…think about the different forms of “voice” that you might be able to offer. 4) Have you come across BOP entrepreneurs – they are worth checking out as well as a recent article in Stanford Social Innovation Review on BOP initiatives. Keep going – really interesting issues!

2 06 2009
giveavoice

Thanks Graham, when I explore more global issues in the future, I’ll keep these pointers in mind.

6 06 2009
christinehwang

I strongly agree with your point that a lack of resources for poor people, especially in developing countires, caused a never-ending vicious cycle of poverty and illnesses closely associated with deprivation.

As a part of solution to this problem, I have posted two articles about microfinance projects in my Blog. This is available under the category called “Solutions to Starvation.” I truly believe that this kind of novel solution should be implemented for the poor to sustain their existence.

While I was exploring my topic of world hunger, I came to realize that the poor people who are born with desperate situations are not able to escape the poverty circle as they lack resources to work and flourish. What is more concerning is that this poverty is inherited to the second and third generation, which further perpetuates poverty.

Thus, business organizations started to form a partnership to make actions to the third world country such as Kenya. This organization is called “Business Alliance against Chronic Hunger.” This alliance targets to improve the food value chain by offering expert information of Agricultural industry.
If you are interested in knowing more about BAACH, please feel free to read it from the Solutions to Starvation category.

Hope to see more insightful and innovate solutions to improve the quality life of homeless people.

Christine

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