Are Citizens of the World Succeeding in Lessening Global Poverty?

March 16, 2016
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Poverty is a global phenomenon. Oxford dictionary defines it as: "a state of being poor". Poor is a person who has no essential food items to eat, no proper shelter to live, no potable water to drink, no proper disposal arrangements for garbage, no required transportation to travel, no needed medication for health and no appropriate institutions for education. In a nutshell, poor can't satisfy his/her fundamental needs.

There are two types of poverty: absolute and relative. Absolute poverty is referred to as the deprivation of people's basic needs which includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care and education i.e. they can't fulfill their needs. On the other hand, relative poverty is defined contextually: "It is the condition in which people lack the minimum amount of income needed in order to maintain the average standard of living in the society in which they live" i.e. they cannot satisfy their wants.

There are some important concepts which clarify poverty in a better way. Once these concepts are studied meticulously, it, consequently, becomes easy for individuals as well as groups to escape the mentioned calamity. The terms are poverty line, poverty trap, abject poverty and vicious circle of poverty.

Poverty line is used to earmark poverty level of an economy. In Oxford dictionary, poverty line is defined as the official level of income that is necessary to be able to afford the basic human needs, as those mentioned above. Poverty line allows organizations to determine the masses that are judged to be in absolute poverty. Research illustrates, more than 1.3 billion people live in extreme poverty which means they get less than $1.25 a day.

Oxford dictionary defines poverty trap as: "a situation in which a person stays poor even when he/she gets a job or support because the money one receives is insufficient." Poverty trap is a condition which makes it very difficult for deprived people to escape poverty, independently. In order to escape this adversity, it is argued that poor individuals/families must be given sufficient aid so they can acquire the required capital to raise them out of poverty trap.

Abject poverty is suffering from extreme poverty whereas the vicious circle of poverty is "the set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention."

There are many ways or modes through which every country can reduce global poverty. First; a country's government may support charity organizations and help its own poor masses directly. Second, at bilateral level, each country may cooperate with one another on this issue and find a solution for this evil menace. Third, countries in a regional block may take effective measures against poverty (e.g. members of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation can take a proactive part in reducing poverty among fellow member countries). Fourth, the international community and native governments may cooperate with each other in order to abolish global poverty throughout the world by prosperity sharing.

Entrepreneurship is an important and scarce segment of every society. An entrepreneur gives a boost to various economic activities. Generally, he/she lacks capital and is unable to operate his/her business and so the business doesn't run efficiently. More to that, government or rich citizens may finance these entrepreneurs. Consequently, poverty will reduce on account of employment generation and business activity.

The government may help young entrepreneurs by investing money in their business through good loans (loans which are returned as the business starts working smoothly and forgiven otherwise); in this way, one can increase the sustainability of the business which helps in lessening poverty.

Educated students with innovative business or welfare ideas can be separated out for proper entrepreneurial training. At an even higher level, the selected young entrepreneurs can be trained through effective business training programs. Generally young/new entrepreneur don't have experience with running/starting a new business, to overcome such deficiency, outstanding consultants/trainers should guide these entrepreneurs effectively which will lead their business to a successful and prosperous level.

Privately, citizens may lessen poverty through cooperative measures. For example, they can help their relatives if they need basic life necessities/wants or they can give charity to poor or destitute people. Moreover, they can finance or may give good loans to entrepreneurs.

Education is very important and supportive in lessening poverty. The government can help their state by educating the youth of the country. They can educate them in different ways; firstly; by giving students scholarships or free education, secondly; providing these students advance technologies which can help them in their studies. In addition, they can also train them for their future jobs and businesses. The government may also encourage or help talented students who are facing financial problems during education because these students might become entrepreneurs.

There are multiples causes of poverty. First and the main cause is illiteracy. Illiteracy is a lack of ability to read and write. According to analysis, almost every 1 in 5 people around the world are illiterate (2/3 of them are women). Illiteracy is a social issue; therefore, a social entrepreneur can manage it effectively.

Another reason that augments poverty is inequality of wealth. This issue develops violence among people, violence affects business activities, negatively, and as a result, low business activities increase poverty. If we look carefully, we see poverty takes us back to the stage of ignorance and inequality of wealth. This forms a vicious cycle. According to the definition of vicious cycle of poverty (given above) and a pensive study of inequality of wealth, we may conclude that latter is the main cause of former. In order to eradicate this cycle, the government can initiate actions against inequality of wealth, and harvest justice and equity amidst its state.

Trade can also diminish poverty. It is an engine of growth, trade is also an important business activity, it reduces poverty of involved (exporting and importing) countries. But there are multiple barriers (tariff barriers) during trade which increase poverty; hence, barriers-free trade is very helpful in reducing poverty. It is noteworthy that importers and exporters are entrepreneurs and they need less/no trade barriers for better working for their business. In order to reduce poverty through trade, the government may reduce trade taxes and tariff barriers.

Low business activity is another reason of poverty. Low business activity is surfaced on account of irrational rules and regulations, e.g., In Canada, it takes two days, two registration procedures, and $280 to open a business, while an entrepreneur in Bolivia has to pay $2,696 fee, wait 82 business days, and go through 20 procedures to do the same. Such costly barriers favor big firms at the expense of small enterprises, where most jobs are created.

Professor Muhammad Yunus (born on 28th of June 1940 in the village of Bathua) helped to lessen global poverty by starting a project named "Grameen Bank" in Bangladesh in 1976. He provided credits to poor for income generating activities and financing entrepreneurs. It was a very helpful innovative idea to reduce poverty. Muhammad Yunus also got a noble prize for his actions against poverty.

In Pakistan, Bank Alfalah and Acumen have partnered to launch a program entitled 'Eradicating Poverty through Entrepreneurship in Pakistan', based on a USD 40,000 grant as part of the Bank's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program.

Once Poverty is completely eradicated, it should be placed in museums so the next generation will know about the disasters which the previous era has coped with. As a result, they will try their best not to let it flourish again. I conclude my essay with the words of Ali "if poverty was a man, I'd have killed him."

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