Poverty’s Death Throes?

African slums

Although I stand by my criticisms of BBC Comic Relief’s embarrassing superficiality, here is some positive news from Oxford University about diminishing rates of absolute global poverty:

Some of the poorest people in the world are becoming significantly less poor, according to a groundbreaking academic study which has taken a new approach to measuring deprivation. The report, by Oxford University’s Poverty and Human Development Initiative, predicts that countries among the most impoverished in the world could see acute poverty eradicated within 20 years if they continue at present rates.

I’m on an optimism high; humour me. I’d like to add some thoughts from a recent conversation I had with a fellow blogger: he rightly pointed out the progress that has been made in the last century is quite astonishing, if we note that “charities” under imperialism were rarely anything more than petty aid from missionaries. The emergence of secular charity shows how readily the once religiously-centre void was filled – a cheery merit to humanism. Poverty today is, for most, on a far less bleak scale to that which former aid workers faced.

But it’s excellent, I think, that although in another century things will almost certainly be improved we’ll still be trying to make them better. Generations do not judge conditions by the past but by inequalities within the present day, between fellow nation states and their collective class systems; and so the tendency, which I should probably emphasise with a little more caution than I am, is towards constant improvement. (Until a perfectly equal socialist utopia? Maybe not… but, still, progress!)

I reckon this news gives substance to that – hurrah!


3 Comments on “Poverty’s Death Throes?”

  1. Hmmm…. I’d introduce smthg… what abt China’s role in this process?…

    Africa is seen nowadays as the most important chinese expansion area in the globe…. they’ve been building infrastructures from Argelia to Angola in order to pay for access to resources, not without controversy and accusations of exploitation over locals, in some cases, but significantly -au contraire than europeans and westerns in general did historically- … letting Africans keep something in exchange.

    Africa’s resources are being exploited, same as africans themselves, but this time it seems, that the lack of chinese will for moral-political-territorial-imperial dominion has compensated their control over most of african trade in oil and other strategic materials.

    Liking it or not, also in some countries of latin america, led by controversial guys like deceased Hugo Chavez (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, …) chinese have played an interesting factor in moving their economy, again not at an optimal disribution of benefits for both sides but… at least letting smthg in exchange for what they take.

    So I’d say that we must consider how China is expanding its influence all over the globe and which have been their guidelines. They haven’t imposed their political siding to anyone… nor have intervened openly and publically to determine who rules and how those countries behave politically… they haven’t set military bases and expeditionary forces nor have sent their impressive fleets all over the globe to exhibit their undoubtable potential… (now is when you add a “…yet!” to all upper statements!!) … maybe something we should think about, in terms of how the “3rd world” is growing… since we don’t keep absolute control of the whole shyte? 😉

  2. Perfection is an asymptote, but we can construct the function of our society so that it approaches that asymptote as fast as possible.

  3. johncoyote says:

    Old wise saying. Hard for the poor to get poorer. Rich nations will fall and the poor nations won’t know. I have been told the poor countries are improving. I went on may food, water and medicine missions in the nineties to Africa, Asia and Central America in the nineties. Most of the countries had the resources. Most needed to be left alone and protected from violence. I believe the countries in Africa couldn’t get worst. I saw starvation and death only in my time in Africa. Thank you for your thoughts. We are one people on one planet. We must help our brother’s in places of need.

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