By: Varun Seshadri
My grandfather was born in the slums. He lived his childhood there. It was only by luck that he was able to graduate into a good college. There, he continued to work hard, and finally was able to score a middle class job. This was during the aftermath of the Indian independence movement, where jobs weren’t readily available. It was his ability to get out of the poverty line in India that gave all of his descendants a better chance at life. Many people struggle to do as well as my grandfather. These days, organizations like the UN, Amnesty International, and even normal Governments, try to do as much as possible to eradicate poverty. Currently, there is less poverty than ever before. But there will always be poverty. Because that’s how our world works.
Modern statistics show poverty diminishing. Poverty rates across the world have dropped from 11.2% in 2013 to 10% in 2015. Quick maths using these statistics reveal that poverty will be eradicated in about eight years. Yes, governments are doing an extremely good job of helping out the poor. However, that is not the reason poverty will exist. Violence in the world plays a key factor. As long as there is violence, there will be poverty. War destroys families, making them lose everything, rendering them poor. Solving such issues is not that easy. Knowing how many viewpoints there are in modern politics, and how violent it gets, ending war is an almost impossible task. Of course, that renders today’s poverty practically incurable. Politics is what keeps poverty alive.
Most governments in the world are capitalists, meaning that the government has little to no involvement in the economy. This allows companies to compete, creating products, and a self-sustaining economy based on what people want. It is this economy that creates poverty, and that will keep creating poverty until it is changed, or there are no more people left. Here’s how that creates poverty. The economy runs on the theory of supply and demand, where if you need something, the economy will supply it. Say that a bunch of people have a need for something.The companies, seeing that they can make some extra cash, will try to make that product. Then price it, and people buy it. The basis of capitalism rises from this system, brought to life by Adam Smith. Thanks to Adam Smith, however, we will always have poverty. Why? Poverty fuels demand. Companies will always be able to sell to someone because they don’t have that item. A common example is clothes. There is always somebody that doesn’t have clothes, so they go out and buy the cheapest ones. That fuels the market for clothes, allowing companies to be alive. If there was no poverty, as per say, then everyone would have clothes. That would spell doom for the clothes industry, since they wouldn’t be able to sell clothes anymore. And since capitalism depends on economy, it too would fall. Hence, our system depends on the economy, and eradicating poverty would destroy it.
Poverty is a big problem, and we are doing our best to solve it. We have the lowest rate of poverty so far. Yet, it will always be there, fuelling the rich, and serving as a basis for the world to exist upon. For we know, thanks to economics and politics, poverty will always exist. People like my grandfather will still struggle. Given how resistant we are, to what ends are we willing to go to solve poverty?
- Smith, Adam, 1723-1790. The Wealth of Nations / Adam Smith ; Introduction by Robert Reich ; Edited, with Notes, Marginal Summary, and Enlarged Index by Edwin Cannan. New York :Modern Library, 2000. Print.
- Cnbc. “Global Poverty Rate Drops to Record Low 10%: World Bank.” CNBC, CNBC, 19 Sept. 2018, http://www.cnbc.com/2018/09/19/world-bank-global-poverty-rate-drops-to-record-low.html.
- Tanner, Jonathan. “’Ending World Poverty Is an Unrealistic Goal’.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 11 Mar. 2014, http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2014/mar/11/end-world-poverty-unrealistic-inequality.