Essay on Poverty Anywhere is a Threat to Prosperity Everywhere
This creative statement serves to be one of the key principles of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration of Philadelphia. It was declared (on 10th May 1994) to renew the traditional objectives of ILO. It further proposed two new agendas.
This included the need for international economic planning and the centrality of human rights to social policy. The statement aims to imply that the effects of poverty can hardly be contained. They spread far and wide and have a tremendous impact on prosperity too. There are multiple instances to prove this fact.
What is Poverty?
Poverty can have multiple definitions. It could be a lack of material possessions or a deficiency of income. It could also refer to a scarcity of the basic necessary things required for a person to live. It is, in the easiest terms, a state of being extremely poor.
The main goal of the World Bank Organization is to eradicate poverty. It interestingly describes poverty as:
“Poverty is hunger. Poverty is a lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not having access to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job; it is fear for the future, living one day at a time.”
If you try to understand the depth of these words, you will be able to comprehend what poverty exactly means. The minimum income level (also known as the international poverty line) is set at $1.90 a day. If a person’s income falls beneath this line, he/she is considered poor.
However, as stated by the World Bank Organization, poverty is not solely defined by the income level. It depends on multiple factors like unemployment, overpopulation, poor utilization of resources, education, etc. It is a slow poison that eats away the foundation of our society.
How does poverty threaten prosperity?
“Extreme poverty anywhere is a threat to human security everywhere.” This statement was quoted by Kofi Annan, who was the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations. It means the same as our above mentioned phrase.
Prosperity means having a comfortable and peaceful life. And poverty has always been a barrier to achieving this. Poverty is capable of driving people towards insanity. It tortures them with hunger and humiliation. It creates imbalance and keeps the social disorder alive. People stricken with poverty are forced to adopt unfair means for their survival. They steal resources from the wealthy and prosperous people. This endangers our entire society.
Some instances of poverty threatening prosperity
An excellent example of how poverty anywhere threatens prosperity everywhere is North Korea. As an aftermath of the Second World War, Korea was divided into two parts: North and South Korea. South Korea adopted a system of democracy as the government. In due course of time, it became one of the most developed nations in Asia.
On the other hand, North Korea adopted a dictatorial regime (which it still follows). People of North Korea are subjected to barbaric conditions (way different than people living in South Korea). They lack basic human rights, deal with socio-economic issues, and live under extreme conditions of poverty.
The world we live in is like a globalised village, where all of us are part of a big community. The actions of one country will most definitely affect other countries. Hence, the eradication of poverty is a necessity in our current conditions. It is, in fact, one of the goals of Sustainable Development.
How can we solve this problem?
To quote Nelson Mandela, “Poverty is not an accident. Like slavery and apartheid, it is man-made and can be removed by the actions of human beings.” He had also once said, “Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life.”
Several steps can be taken to reduce the levels of poverty in the world. Most of these must be initiated by the government. Let us go through some of them.
Creation of jobs: The best way out of poverty is a well-paying job. The unemployed and jobless people cannot possibly earn money to support either themselves or their families. This problem can only be solved by creating more employment opportunities.
Other Incentives: Corporations and all businesses, in general, should provide paid sick leaves to their employees. Nearly 4 in every 10 private-sector workers and 7 in every 10 low wage workers do not have a single paid sick day. Without these incentives, most individuals cannot manage to balance their work and home affairs (without sacrificing their income). Paid leave is one of the most beneficial anti-poverty policies adopted by multiple countries.
Free Healthcare: The price of a single vial of insulin currently in the United States of America is almost $275. Medicines cover huge expenses, especially when you are fighting a disease. Not being able to cope with this makes us vulnerable. The most important step to control poverty includes the provision of free healthcare.
The government is largely responsible for preventing this outbreak. However, it won’t work without our contribution. There are multiple charitable organizations for us to join. There are websites and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that accept donations. They carefully spend the donated amount for helping people who fall under the poverty line. We need to do our part.
There is a very beautiful saying that goes like this: “In the well-being of each lies the well-being of the whole.” Of course, this ancient proverb cannot be argued within any form or way. This is because of a very simple reason.
We can compare this to our bodies. Our body is made up of several organs that work together to form multiple systems. Each system corresponds with the others to ensure the proper functioning of the whole body. So if any of these systems is not fine, as a result, our body would not be fine. But there is a silver lining in this too. If the nervous system were to recognize the poor condition of the other systems and make amends to help it, the whole body would survive.
Likewise, if one family or class suffers under any condition, the whole country will shut down. However, the prosperous people can be generous and make actual efforts to help the poor. This will ensure a change in the condition of our lives. And our world would be supreme.