Poverty - what can be done?

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4 years ago

Why in your opinion there is so much of poverty in the world? What in our opinion could be done to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in the world? What in our opinion could be done to decrease the level of poverty in the US? What could be your own contribution to this goal?


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   The dimensions of poverty spread globally to individualsliving in impoverished countries that are economically deprived.That is easily said, but the challenge of diminishing its power isvery difficult. In order to truly understand why there is so muchpoverty in the world we have to analyze two aspects of poverty:financial poverty and emotional poverty!
    The challenges of financial poverty lead to hunger andloss of suitable living circumstances. Poverty stricken peopleusually are affected from the cut backs in health services,educational services, inequality between the rich and the poor, andthe diminishing of agricultural farmers.
    The value and privilege of education shapes an individualto elevate their skill level. In return, wide ranges of jobofferings are readily available increasing their income forthemselves and their families. The cut back on education servicesdecrease the chances of this happening and eradicate thepossibilities of families and their children making substantialearnings.
    Moreover, the diminishing of health services has alsoequated to poverty causing malnutrition to persist in impoverishedcountries as well as in the United States. The global hungerproblem continues to soar in many communities in that variousgroups lack the sufficient energy, they are burdened by infectiousdiseases, and are ultimately excluded from affordable and efficienthealth services due to their socioeconomic status. With the cutback in health services it is more trivial for those in need to behealth sufficient! Furthermore, without health care services peoplecan’t sustain their mental and physical capacity to providefor their families. Eventually, its leads into impoverishedcircumstances!
    Moreover, the question is why the cutback? The economicdepression has definitely been the major cause of theseshortcomings and lead to community poverty. To fix the problem,loans and repayment had to take effect and that meant other areasof personal development had to suffer i.e. health care andeducation! The result of this economic and governmental shift hasdrastically changed the way the poor live to survive.
    Farming has been a valuable resource to those living inimpoverished nations. Learning to grow nutritious fruits andvegetables provided sufficient health advantages for poor familiesas well as giving individuals the chance to sell their product onthe market. Moreover, it has created jobs for many of theunfortunate. The problem that maintains the poverty in some areasis free and or cheap prices on food! If food is costing less andless for inhabitants below the market price, local farmers are outof the job and forced into poverty.  This divides countries apartand gives governments total dominance over impoverishedcommunities. It ultimately creates inequality between the peopleand the government in that it suppresses the inhabitant to make anindependent living.
     On a global aspect, poverty and hunger could beeradicated if we begin to speak against poverty publically. Thereare many organizations that make their voice heard and spread theirmission statements through partnerships around the world.Eventually, if we begin to spread our message against povertyothers are inspired to join and participate for this one purpose. With large networks and strong partnerships of knowledgeable peoplefood bank warehouses, public focus groups, and affordable housingcan be provided to aid in the possibility of  diminishing povertyglobally. Affordable housing can definitely eradicate povertyconsidering it can support families living in the streets.  Onegreat example of this kind of support is Andre House of Phoenix. Itis a great ministry to the homeless and poor populations inPhoenix, AZ.
    To decrease the poverty in the United States we mustdecrease the power of the emotional poverty as stated previously.Emotional poverty is the poor mental state of mind whereindividuals lack the motivation to succeed and mental strength todo better for themselves. The way to conquer this misfit in theU.S. is to create more jobs that pay more money for the lower classworker. Other important developments that need to be made areaffordable housing (mentioned previously), the use of more foodstamps, receiving access to higher education, and cutting taxes forthe remaining public. Ultimately, income would rise and definitelydiminish emotional and financial poverty in the U.S.
    Finally, my own contribution is quite similar to focusgroups except that I would want to establish faith programs aroundthe community. I am a strong believer that establishing afaith-based community on religion can create strengthening andemotional bonds between different cultural groups. It is this bondthat creates a sense of community and defaces the inequality amongdifferent social classes. This program would alleviate emotionalpoverty in the public and motivate those at the bottom to overcomea state of learned helplessness.  Like all projects, thisdevelopment group would build on other global partnershipsdiminishing poverty in various communities.

            There is a greatdeal of poverty in the world today.  In my opinion, althoughthere are various reasons for widespread poverty, the main reasonshave to do with the perceptions and values of those who have themost wealth and power in the world, because they are the people whoare in a position to change things.  I feel that learnedhelplessness plays a large role in these problems.  Most people would agreethat they want to help those in need, but the problem is too big tohandle and they don't feel as though they can personally make adifference, so they just don't think about it.  It is really easy toignore the fact that so many people are living in poverty when youlive in a wealthy area and are never exposed to it.  Also, diffusion ofresponsibility is a factor involved.  Everyone just expectssomeone else to fix the problems, instead of doing something aboutit. 

            Additionally, Ifeel a large portion of widespread poverty today is due to themanner in which corporations are run today.  Because corporations areowned by many shareholders, who invested in the company solely tomake a profit, the decisions of the company are made purely basedon what will maximize profits.  In a privately ownedcompany, the owner can make choices as to what he will pay all theworkers, where he will open factories, and how he will generallyconduct business based on his own values and priorities, whichgives the owner more responsibility for the lifestyles of hisworkers.  In a corporation,however, the CEO is responsible for maximizing profits for theshareholders and does not have as much personal responsibility forthese issues.  This creates a great dealof diffusion of responsibility within a corporation and no oneperson is personally accountable for the overseas workers and theirability to live a decent life. 

            There are a fewdifferent ways in which poverty can be reduced worldwide.  The basis of all theseplans is informing people in developed countries about the problemsof poverty and exposing them to the lives of those living inextreme poverty while empowering them to help those in need.  Instead of just providingnegative statistics, such as how many people die of hunger eachday, this should be paired with statistics about how these problemscould be solved if everyone pitched in.  Once people are informedand want to help, there are a few different approaches that couldhelp.  One approach isboycotting merchandise that is manufactured in substandard workingconditions.  If companies lost salesbecause of their labor policies, then it would be in their bestinterest to improve wages of laborers in poor countries.  Another approach isgovernmental regulations on foreign factories.  If, for instance, the USgovernment imposes a minimum wage for American companies to pay inforeign nations, this could increase the standard of living inthose nations, unless the companies decide to move out of the US. 

            Additionally, Iread in the Community Psychology textbook that some developingcountries spend 1/3 of their GDP on interest to foreign lenders.   I was shocked thatdeveloped nations charge interest to these countries, especiallywhen they are giving loans in order to help these nations grow andflourish.  On a smaller scale,interest on loans and credit cards can devastate people who are onthe brink of poverty and make it virtually impossible to everrecover.  That is why people aregiven the chance to file for bankruptcy and start over fresh.  With entire nationsdrowning in debt, it is no surprise that so many people are livingin poverty.  It is very sad thatpeople are going hungry so that their nation can pay interest todebts they accrued out of necessity and will never be able to payoff.  I don't really knowenough about politics to give a good solution to this problem ofnational debts in impoverished nations, but I think somethingshould be done.   

            The issue ofpoverty in America could be addressed by some of the same means asworldwide poverty.  Education about povertyis really the first step, because if people don't know about aproblem, they can't work toward a solution.  Also, if people weresuccessful in raising the standard of living for factory workersoverseas, then American companies may choose to open factories inAmerica, providing more job opportunities for Americans.  Additionally, I feel thatthe view of the poor in America needs to be changed.  The American ideal thatanyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and become wealthy isn'tbased on reality.  People do have more orless opportunities in life than one another and by looking atthings this way, people dismiss the poor as lazy or unmotivated.  I think it is alsointeresting that when a single mother is on welfare and does notwork, she is seen as lazy, but if a married woman decides to stayat home to raise her children, she is not.  Both women are raisingtheir children full-time, but having money makes one seem like abetter person to society.

            One of the mostimportant issues in American poverty to me is child care.  With the cost of childcare as high as it is, many single mothers are unable to work,because it would end up costing them money.  It is possible to obtainsubsidized daycare.  However, it is verydifficult to qualify and there is a long waiting list for theseservices.  As a mother of twins, Ihave personal experience with this.  The requirement to applyfor subsidized daycare is that you have been working full-time forat least a month, which is not possible to do without child care ofsome sort, then you are placed on a waiting list if you qualify,which I was told is currently a 2 year wait.  Also, the amount of moneypaid toward daycare is much less than what most daycares in Arizonacharge.  When my twins werenewborns, I looked into daycare for them and the cost would havebeen between $400-$500 per week for full time childcare, so I foundthat I was unable to work, because it would cost too much money.  I think that issues likethis are a large part of why many of the Americans in poverty arechildren.  I feel that the socialwelfare system should be changed drastically.  The way things are now,people go to many different offices to apply for differentservices, such as public housing, subsidized child care, foodstamps, and medicaid.  Then the individuals aretold whether they qualify and either receive the services or donot.  There is no communicationbetween the different service offices and no effort is really madeto inform the individual about what other services there are or howto obtain these services and there is no guidance about how toimprove the individual's situation.  It seems to me that itmay be more efficient to combine these services and have caseworkers actually work with people to obtain the services they needand create a plan for improving their situations.

            Another solutionto American poverty is the alleviation of hunger in America.  Food banks are extremelyimportant in providing food to people who are unable to affordfood, and cannot qualify for food stamps, such as illegalimmigrants, people on social security, homeless people, and thosewhose income is too high for food stamps, but too low to reallysurvive.  This includes peoplewhose income recently dropped and they are no longer able to paythe bills that they are still responsible for and people who arecutting back on food to avoid foreclosure on their homes.  The food bank programsand the faith-based organizations, such as Andre house make a hugedifference for the hungry in Arizona.  

            I couldpersonally contribute to this goal by becoming involved in any ofthe potential solutions I listed.  I really feel that themost important part of this change is educating and informingpeople about the realities of poverty, both in America and aroundthe world.  I think the views thatpeople have about poor people being lazy or deserving poverty needto be changed, because these ideas create excuses to not help,instead of finding ways to solve the problems.  I could personallybecome involved by informing people of the issue of poverty andvolunteering within the community to fight local poverty. 

 “Why in your opinionis there so much poverty in the world?

There are many different things that contribute to poverty in thisworld. One being lack of education; many people in this world lackthe knowledge or the opportunity to rise up and above the povertyline. In the United States there are many people who live inpoverty but in other counties it is far worse. Minimum wage is notenough to feed a family in America; in other countries they mayearn a fraction of that amount. Poverty could be a direct result tomany environmental factors as well. There are poor countries outthere where people barely scrape by; this could be a direct resultof a natural disaster or lack of natural resources. Poverty is soprevalent in the world because many people look at it as anecessary evil. In this evil, someone hast to be poor, and if itisn’t me, then there is no direct problem. This way ofthinking is problematic. Turning the other cheek is the easiest wayof dealing with poverty since you are really not dealing with theissue. When this occurs nothing changes.

Poverty could be result of a country being war torn. The SouthernUnited States, Germany, even many parts of Russia for example, wereall severely impoverished after times of war. Many counties inAfrica are in constant battle with each other. There is no time toworry about your home if you are more worried about living untilnightfall. Lack of exposure to poverty is also a major reason forthere being so much poverty in the world. I live in Scottsdale,Arizona and I am not exposed to poverty to the extent as someone inCamden, New Jersey. The point I am trying to make is a city, state,or country, which has more money typically does not have the sameamount of poor people as the un-wealthy city, state, or country.The wealthier place holds more power to change the conditions ofimpoverished places but fails to do so, because poverty is notcustomary and running rampant in the area.

What in your opinion could be done to eradicate extreme poverty andhunger in the world?

I strongly believe that there is very limited exposure to extremehunger and poverty to people in wealthier countries. In order tohave poverty and hunger eradicated there must be more than a 2minute commercial, during the wee hours of the morning, stating forjust a dollar a day, you can feed this child. In order to make adifference children at a very early age should be aware of theextremely poor and hungry. It is not cruel to say a third gradershould watch a video of the starving people in Africa; it does nottake away their innocence. If you show the same video to a highschool kid, odds are, they are going to think the video was sad,thank whatever god they pray to that they were not born in an areaof extreme poverty, and that’s about it. In order toeradicate hunger and poverty a superpower like the United Statesmust not be going through a economic crisis. The richest country inthe world has an effect on the countries it trades, buys, and sellsfrom. This domino effect leaves the world in a state where everyoneneeds to take care of themselves. This closed door mentality is theexact opposite behavior needed to make a difference in poverty andhunger.  The United States cannotafford to pour mass amounts of money and resources into othercountries, when it is having its own crisis on its door step. Themost important way to eradicate poverty and hunger is by havingpowerful countries with a lot of money being in an economic boom.By fixing the problems on their home front the United States wouldbe able to share its wealth with other countries around theworld.

Hunger would be the easier problem to fix than poverty in general.There is enough food in the world to feed everyone in it; theproblem is getting to food there before it gets rotten. I findpeople starving to death unacceptable and I believe hunger is amore universal feeling to everyone in this world than living inpoverty. Missing one meal is inconceivable to most people but thethought of someone who hasn’t eaten for days, can really havean impact on people. People may not care if someone is poor exceptthat if the poor person is hungry. What we do is donate money tofeed them but not improve their quality of life. Fixing hunger iseasier said than done but overall I think it is a more conceivablegoal than eradicating all poverty. It can be done by changing ourtransportation of food and making sure that nothing goals bad. Weneed to Insure the hungry people in the world that if food is beingunused, it will find them.

What in your opinion could be done to decrease the level of povertyin the US?

Decreasing poverty in the United States would require a change inperception of the poor.  Most Americans in theUnited States are 2-3 paychecks away from being in poverty. This isa far cry from being compared to the perception of a lazy beggarwho doesn’t want a job. In order to decrease the povertylevel, Americans need to understand that many times people are innormal middle class families, where one or both parents lose theirjobs. After watching the class videos my perception has changedgreatly about poverty in America because I can now see that poorimpoverished people don’t always make bad choices, or are apart of a cycle of unfortunate families, they are people like youand me who have been unlucky. Decrease in poverty in the UnitedStates requires more than just money but time and effort on thepart of everyone. The difficulty in achieving this goal is that oursociety is so individualistic, that we blame ourselves for our ownmisfortunes. We lack the collective culture that could help us getback on our feet in times of need. In many cases the programs andadministrations that are provided go unused because pride gets intothe way.  American value selfreliance so much that they deny helping hands when they areoffered. I believe the United States offers the opportunity forpeople to better themselves, no matter where they come from,through different programs and education. The real change thatneeds to be made to decrease poverty is how we approach the issue.Poverty should not be something that has negative connotation,something that people should be ashamed of, but should be treatedwith dignity.  By empowering the lessfortunate they will want to help themselves. It will also take thepressure off of others to attempt to help them. America’sindividualistic society is a great hindrance in helpingimpoverished people feels that they matter. We must show how theirindividualism can be maintained even if people in poverty ask forhelp.

What could be your own contribution to this goal?"

I think it is important that I treat those less fortunate than mewith more respect. I work at a gym, I’m 21, a full timestudent, and I make a little more than minimum wage; 9 dollars anhour but there are people who work there who are 45 and make lessthan me. These people needed a job for one reason or another, andin this economy, it is important to just have a job to put food onthe table. Whatever negative connotations I have had towards themseemed to have vanished the last week. I am embarrassed to say Ihad negative feelings towards them because they were so much olderthan me, and making the same amount of money as me or less.Watching the videos I remember Darren Handy speaking of how when hewould buy shoes for his daughter he was ok with buying two pairs ofcheaper shoes; one pair for his daughter, the other for someoneless fortunate. I think this sort of contribution is commendablebut unnecessary. We live in such an materialistic society, thatthat our lifestyles are not going to change so much that we willmake sacrifices for other people we don’t even know. In myown budget I would incorporate both the prices of the shoes mydaughter really wants, and the shoes for the less fortunate. Thisis more realistic, people work hard for the things they want andtaking these things away to give to others, would leave meultimately disappointed and frustrated. I want to empower the lessfortunate, not make myself less powerful.

Personally I can contribute by doing simple things, but in orderfor me to treat someone less fortunate with the greatest amount ofrespect, I want to make sure there is no reason for me to treatthem otherwise. I have had friends who wanted to work with me, theycannot however because they are under qualified compared to the 45year old. The easiest way I can contribute to the goal ofdecreasing poverty is by not being frustrated, but by making thesepeople feel involved or apart of the group. It isn’t easy forthem either, to work with high school and college kids. I stronglybelieve that if you believe in yourself, good things will happen.My goal is to make people feel good about themselves, to show them,no matter where they are in their life, things can always getbetter.

One of the greatest contributors to poverty in the world has beengreed. Since humans have started coming into contact with eachother there has been competition and greed. When people startedtrading with each other, the motive was "what is the best thing Icould get for this?" Greed has created the imbalance of first andthird world countries. Third world countries, in which poverty isthe greatest, are very much a product of the greed of first worldcountries. It is not only greed that creates poverty but also ourvalue systems. Living to impress our neighbors and feel good aboutourselves creates a society which sees the accumulation of wealthas the equivalent of happiness. If you're living in a society whichfocuses on wealth and possession, you're going to be hard put togive that money to someone else to allow them to live decently. Themembers of the panel were correct when they assessed an "emotionalpoverty" which leaves a person in poverty feeling ashamed anddegraded. These feelings develop from the values of society.Society focuses on wealth and when you are not in possession ofwealth, you are seeming to go against society or are not seen as aviable member of it. Another factor that has lead to global povertyis the uneven distribution of resources. First world countries haveand still do take advantage of third world countries. Corporationswill take resources from third world countries at severely belowmarket prices to manufacture goods. Also, rules for worker andenvironmental safety are usually nonexistent and this also adds tothe poverty seen in the world.

One of the things that could be done to help eradicate extremehunger and poverty is for the U.S. to reform the rules andorganization of financial aid to other countries. This is alreadybeing done with legislation being proposed by the House and Senate,as seen on the World Hunger Organization's website. This isimportant because the world still looks to the U.S. as one of theimportant world leaders and if we start making strides to be a moreresponsible and caring role model for the rest of the world, adomino effect will occur. Another way to eradicate poverty andhunger would be to help strengthen areas where poverty hits hardestby setting up sustainable procedures at the community level.Sustainable practices would help impoverished countries establishbetter water and agricultural systems. Also, better infrastructurewould help eradicate some levels of poverty by reducing slums andopen sewage. Basic changes in the infrastructure of impoverishedcountries would help reduce major incidences of diseases due topoor sewage systems and housing systems.

One of the major things that could be done to help improve povertyin the U.S. would be to change the view of people in poverty thatwe hold. This was one of the best points brought up in thediscussion with the panel. In order for drastic change to occur inthe U.S, our pre-conceived notions and assumptions about Americansliving in poverty have to change. Mr. Handy said that even hestarted out thinking that people in poverty were lazy or didn'twork hard enough. Essentially, this idea assumes that people aretotally to blame for their situation and is focused on blaming thevictim. Many Americans do not stop and think about the cycle ofpoverty that is almost impossible to break. Fr. Wack was correctwhen he said that most people in poverty are there because theyhave no idea what else to do. They have never seen and do not havethe knowledge of what else is out there. The young boy in the videoclip talked about how he wanted to go to college but had no ideawhat he could do and most likely will not go because he has no oneto guide him.

I personally would like to contribute to the goal of eradicatingpoverty by volunteering with Andre House after I graduate. Readingabout the history and the services that they provide, I felt thatthe organization is doing great things in the heart of wherepoverty is most prevalent. I also plan on supporting the House billwhich reorganizes and calls for greater transparency in regard toU.S. financial aid to other countries. I think this bill has beenlong overdue and will help revamp and gather support for the U.S.from other countries. Lastly, I think the easiest thing I could doto help the goal of eradicating poverty is to share what I havelearned from the panel and to talk to other people about it. Justas Professor Wosinski gave the example of the little girl who gavethe homeless man a quarter and hundreds of people followed herexample, people will follow my lead.

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The video of the course lecture on poverty really made a profoundimpact on me.  Particularly, the struggle of the mother and herfour children was heart-wrenching.  I think it is so easy to write off people who arepoor as a product of their own lack of ambition or drive, but thismother was willing to walk 10 miles a day in order to work at aminimum wage job and provide for her children.  She does not fit this stereotype.  Her incredible strength and determination to get toand from work and to not go on welfare made me incredibly sad, andit also illustrated for me one of the primary needs of peopleliving in poverty – to feel accomplished and proud ofthemselves.  This can also be seen through her son who seemsincredibly embarrassed by his social status.  He is driven to do well in school and to feelaccomplished, and I believe the video transmitted his prideregarding his school rewards.  However,  his desire to distance himself from hispoverty-stricken family also demonstrates his desire to fit in andto be seen as normal.  This is something that I think communityorganizations that work with people suffering from hunger andpoverty should try to keep in mind.  Too often, it is easy to forget that all people wantto feel included, proud of themselves, and accomplished.  I’ve worked at homeless shelters serving food,and experienced first hand the gratitude and surprise that popsinto people’s eyes when they are spoken to like they are realhuman beings rather than another homeless shelter number.  It is unimaginable to me that people blame povertyon the impoverished.  One of the aspects of poverty that I’vementioned before – but that is highly applicable to thisissue – is that people who have a tendency to believe in a“just world” wherein people get what they deserve, tendto discriminate more against people, including those impoverished. 

One thing that struck me about the course discussion following thelecture was the student who essentially said it was wrong for poorpeople to have so many children.  I think this is a “blame-the-victim”type argument that only leads to further problems.  People who are poor may not be as educated aboutbirth control, or have the financial means to pay for it (or knowwhere to get it for free), and I believe they have just as muchright to have as many children as they choose as do any of the restof us. 

Ivan’s and Billy’s stories, featured on 20/20 from thetown of Camden, the most dangerous city with the highest povertyrate (58% live below the poverty line) also really touched me.  These young people are truly struggling to survive,but both of them have their sights set so much higher.  Even homeless, without regular meals, Ivan ismotivated to learn to read and be successful, and is afraid ofbeing rejected by the other children.  Billy has managed to stay away from drugs and workshard toward graduating from college.  The drive of these young people in the face of somuch difficulty is truly inspiring.  Their stories, however, paint a picture of Americathat goes largely undiscussed.  As one of the videos mentioned, we live in therichest country in the nation.  Yet, we still have people in our country livingwithout housing or with horribly unsafe housing, and not evengetting one meal a day, let alone at least three.  Last week, I cleaned out my refrigerator, and threwaway probably $20 worth of uneaten food – leftovers –that had gone bad in my fridge.  When I think of the impact that even my $20 wouldhave made in the life of someone who has no idea where their nextmeal is coming from – it makes me so mad at myself.  One of the ways I know I can make a difference inthis issue of hunger and poverty is to even just donate a couple ofcans of food a week to my local shelter, and control the portionsof food I make so that I’m not making more than necessary andletting it go to waste!  It wouldn’t even affect my food budget!  This simple act, if everyone did it, could make sucha huge impact here in the United States. 

Other ways to make a difference are through charity organizationssuch as those from our course readings.  Bread for the World, World Hunger Organization, andAndre House Phoenix are all the type of organizations that can helpend hunger and poverty in America.  Bread for the World, a Christian organization, worksto provide a voice against hunger in the United States and abroad.  According to the World Hunger Organization’swebsite, “WHY is convinced that solutions to hunger and povertycan be found at the grassroots level,”( therefore support community organizations that work to endhunger and poverty.    Moreover, a community organization, run by Fr.William A. Wack, provides shelter, food, blankets, and showers tohomeless people.  This type of grassroots organization seems exactlythe type that the World Hunger Organization would support –one that directly and meaningfully impacts and betters the lives ofpeople suffering from hunger and poverty in their communities.  I think that programs like these accomplish so much,but more needs to be done.  I think the government could put more money towardwelfare and equal housing for all by cutting back spending on themilitary. 

Also, this may seem like a radical idea, but possibly cutting outmulti-billion dollar agencies like NASA would allow for morefunding to go to people living in poverty.  I love the idea of NASA just as much as most peopledid when they were five and dreamed of being astronauts, but Ithink we should probably focus on the people living on our planet,and focus on other planets once we’ve reached a living incomeand fair housing for everyone.  Also, CEOs are often willing to give huge sums ofmoney to space travel and exploration in the private industry.  For a fee, people can pay a private company that hasbuilt its own rockets and planes with no government funding, totake them into space.  Can you imagine the impact that the approximately500 billion dollars currently being spent by the US government onNASA programs would have if it went to serving the poor andimpoverished people of the United States?  Estimating high, with 17% of the approximately300,000,000 million people living in the US living at or below thepoverty line (according to Wikipedia), that’s 51,000 peoplein the US.  If 500 billion dollars was routed into programs forbettering their lives instead of toward building rockets and spacestations, that would mean that there would be about $353 dollarsper person per year living below the poverty line.  Obviously, this would not just go to cash in thefamilies’ pockets (because it isn’t really enough toimprove the overall quality of life of the families) … itshould go to developing programs to end the cycle of poverty andhunger.  Couple this with cutting some of the fat out of theUS military budget, and we’d probably have somewhere in thethousands per impoverished family per year.  I know the idea of cutting out NASA programs seemsradical – I love the idea of uncharted planets and moonlandings and astronauts, and I know that NASA doing things likegetting our nation to the moon inspired millions of people, but thereality is that we should take care of problems at home beforeforking over that much money to investigating new places.  Once everyone achieves fair housing, education, anda living income, then we can bring back space programs!

To begin to understand why there is so much poverty in theworld, we need to define what poverty is. Webster's definition ofpoverty is the condition or quality of being poor; the deficiencyin or inadequate supply of something (Webster's, 1989). Ourtextbook describes it as a lived experience associated with hunger,illness, inadequate housing, illiteracy, human rights abuses andsocial marginalization (Narayan, Chambers, et al., 200) (p. 310).Darren Handy, founder of Common Good Ministry, says that even therich may be in a "state of poverty", i.e., emotional poverty.Apparently Mother Theresa agreed with him when she visited theUnited States and in her farewell speech remarked that India is notimpoverished, America is! However, for the sake of this writing, Iwill dwell specifically on poverty as it relates to inadequate foodsupply in our world.

Much of the poverty I see in the world today relates to the factthat natural resources in most countries are not being usedeffectively or are being abused, overused and misused. Some of theworld's poor don't live in a place where clean water and good soileven exist. Their land may have been productive at one time, butdue to war and natural disasters, the land is no longerproductive.

As our world becomes more interconnected globally, biggerdecisions regarding global policies and practices are implemented.The wealthier, bigger governments overpower the smaller countries,who no longer have a voice. This is when we begin to see corruptiontake place as smaller, weaker government officials seek monetaryhelp from the richer countries and keep it for themselves (Shah,2009). The money is not used for the citizens. Corrupt governmentslead to very impoverished nations. I've seen this first hand inKenya. Rich land, available water, but a corrupt government, oneyou can't trust. Even the police use bribery and extortion tacticsduring routine traffic stops. All they want is money. They use thismoney for personal gain, not to improve the living conditions ofthe people who live in Kenya.

The only way to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger in theworld is to eradicate the corrupt governments who do not care fortheir people! How in the world are we going to accomplish that? Itbegins with the concept that the government leaders can changetheir way of thinking. The Thin Blue Line is a Phoenix based agencywhose mission is: "Restoring relationships between authorities andthe community through training, providing a sanctuary fortrafficked children, offering character education through theschool system, and working together with local churches."( They have done a tremendous work inHonduras where drug use is prevalent and trafficking children inthe sex trade is a common occurrence. The founder of the Thin BlueLine has developed a friendship with the general of defense inHonduras. Because of this friendship, the general has allowed herofficers to receive effective police training. Police now know whatto do in specific drug situations and most importantly in keepingchildren out of the sex trade. These kids are poverty stricken.They need help, and they are receiving help due to the friendshipsthat have developed between a passionate, driven man and thegeneral of defense.

The way to decrease the level of poverty in the United States isto follow the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have themdo to you." (The Bible, Matthew 7:12). In America I don't believewe're dealing with a corrupt government, per se, that keeps therich richer and the poor, poorer. We continue to have the mindsetthat "I deserve this" or "I'll make myself better." When are wegoing to stop thinking about ourselves and realize the needs ofthose in our communities? The organizations like the Association ofArizona Food Banks, the Andre House and Common Good Ministry domore than just feed the poor that come to their doors. They providejob opportunities and educational programs to give the poor notjust a hand out, but a hand up.

I am privileged to be a part of Orangewood Nazarene Church (ONC)who has formed Lifebridge Community Alliance, a non-religious501(c)(3), to meet the growing needs of the community it is locatedin. Lifebridge Community Alliance meets those needs by partneringwith existing groups and creating new programs. Through thisorganization ONC has opened up a Food Resource Center (food bank),and has partnered with Rio Salado in providing free GED and Englishclasses to adults in our community. In January 2010 ONC will open apreschool on its campus. I am proud to say that my husbandspearheaded the idea to feed hungry children on Sunday mornings andI've been happy to help. We call it the Kid's Breakfast Club andserve between 50 and 100 children and their parents a free hotbreakfast every Sunday in our church basement. I have theopportunity to serve them their food and make it a point to sitdown at every table and talk with each family. Many of the childrencome from poor, single-parent homes and their parents thank us overand over again for helping them out. It is a blessing to serve!

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I believe there isso much poverty in the world mostly due to greed and inefficiency.There are 3 billion people in other countries who live on less then$2 a day and 1.5 billion who live on less then $1 a day. We in theU.S continually overproduce and waste our resources. The food thatis mass produced in our grocery stores and restaurants is wastedcould be used to feed hundreds of thousands. I also believe thereis lack of support systems and lack of knowledge.  Individuals who fall victim to poverty often do nothave family or other people in the community where they can ask forhelp when it is needed and share the load of their responsibilitiesand the mouths to feed. I also think that we as members of thecommunity are not always aware of the needs that some individualshave within our communities, and therefore no actions are taken byus to help them because we are unaware of the need in their ownneighborhoods. In addition, at least in the U.S, there is a feelingof a need to keep up with the Jones’. One of the students inthe discussion mentioned that when our income increases so do thesize of our houses and the expenses of the things we buy. Becauseof this most people would end up at the poverty level after twomonths of no longer having a job. This mentality perpetuates theproblem of poverty.

In order toeradicate hunger in the world nations must work together and shareresources. There is such a surplus of food and money in somelocations that there is no reason why anyone should ever go hungry.We need to minimize greed and value human lives more. Organizationsshould be put in place, that government and major corporationsallocate funds to, which would be in charge of making sure thatpoverty stricken regions are assisted and programs set in place toprevent poverty from occurring in the various populations.

In the U.S, Ibelieve much can be done beginning on the community level.Awareness is key, and I think citizens must be aware of the levelsof poverty in there own community as well as others. By creatingmore awareness people will be able to become more involved. It isheartbreaking to see starving children who don’t know theconcept of three meals a day, or who walk ten miles to work eachday still to not be able to provide adequately for there family. Ifpeople realized how they could help improve the lives of strugglingfamilies I think they would be more inclined to participate inorganizations like soup kitchens and provide service. I think thefood industry need to be revamped so that there is a much loweramount of waste. The excess food that is produced on a daily basisshould be given to community organizations who can give to peoplein need is one way to reduce waste. I also believe there needs tobe an increase in communication about ways to reduce poverty within communities so that discussions can be held and possiblesolutions can be discovered.

I think that firstI can contribute to reducing poverty by first donating money and myown time to these various organizations. I can volunteer at soupkitchens and other organizations helping families in need. Next Ican increase awareness of the problem of poverty by letting peoplein my family, friends, and community know the prevalence of theproblem and ways they can help to minimize it. I can also make surethat I am not adding to the waste of the world. I can make surethat I am frugal and only buying food and supplies that my familyneeds so that we are in a position to help others when they are ina hard spot and struggling to make ends meet. 

"Why in your opinion is there so much poverty in the world? Whatin your opinion could be done to eradicate extreme poverty andhunger in the world? What in your opinion could be done to decreasethe level of poverty in the US? What could be your own contributionto this goal?"

            In my opinion, there is so much poverty because ofthe lack of people who care. In so many of our institutions likethe universities and churches there is always talk of this topic ofpoverty and community action. This is not enough. Although, theseare good places to educate and address the issues of poverty, it isnot enough. The church community or faith community has set actionin motion to provide things like the Andre house and the foodbanks. Yet, there is no other links from major corporations that doanything about the problem of poverty. Corporations that move to orthat are based out of third world developing countries do little tocombat hunger. If the fear or stigmas associated with poverty weremore diminished by the well to do then more people may begin tohelp. At the end or towards the end of the video lecture by Dr.Wosinski he mentioned of the example necessary to command a chainof events for helping, where once one person is seen as helpinganother, then someone else will be willing to help as well. When Isay that we lack enough people who care, I mean that we lack enoughexamples of people who care. It is one thing to say that you are aperson who contributes to the cause, but actually being seen as acontributor is an awe-inspiring moment. I think that thecommunities that we live in or better yet the lifestyles we live inprovide us for the most part, a crutch of blind-eyes. A kind ofcrutch that will let us pretend that we do not see the truth of ourhungry members' existence. This crutch that what if I am seenhelping what will my friends and family think of me, this is socialdegradation that makes it difficult to be a volunteer. I am astrong person both physically and emotionally, and if one of myfriends or family was to give me grief about being a contributingperson to dissolve poverty I would stand up, and say no, I am not aweak person for doing this, I am strong because I am taking on achallenge that you never did, and I may even say I am picking uptheir slack.

            I also think that with strength we can eliminatethis hunger and poverty thing across the globe. By strength, I meanif more people cared less about their image then about the poorproblem in our own neighborhoods then we could resolve the issue. Ilook at this problem as a social problem that merely needsgovernmental guidance and regulation. It is not up to thegovernments of the countries to bring wealth to all. In oursociety, we have the three-class system, it is the lower class thatis poor and hungry, and this is one class of the three. If theother two did more to bring the lower class up a little bit thingscould be different. It is not helping the poverty and hungry when afamous actor is seen all over the media adopting children from thedeveloping countries, it is not helping the problem by giving moneyto the charity that you have never given to before, yes money isnecessary , but there is more to it. If you are rich and famousadopting a child from Uganda is not the answer, what about the 1billion other children still suffering, you going to adopt themtoo. The answer to resolving the issue of poverty around the globeis to create this sense of human togetherness. If one person in theworld is hungry, then we are all hungry. I know it is a lot tosaying well how can I who live in Arizona help someone to get feedwho lives in east Africa. It is simple stop thinking we cannot help10,000 miles away.

            To end poverty in the U.S. we need to come togetherto educate, participate, and integrate. We as a whole communityneed to stop being blind to the truth, stop caring about what otherpeople think of us and start to care more about the health of ourmembers then the wealth of our pockets. Sure, everybody wants toachieve their dreams of financial success, but is that only forthose who are financially able to; no, we need to allow the systemto give the same opportunities across the gamete of all three-classsystems. In the video of the mother and her sons, we saw that shehad dreams of being a schoolteacher, and then Darren commented thatall she knew was how to live poor, her sons that is all they knew,well it may be true this is because society has put stigmas and notgiven them the knowhow on achieving these goals. If we as a societytake the time to prepare, our people for what is necessary of themto be what they dream then we could end poverty.

            My contribution to this is that I work hard tochange the minds of my peers about the stigma of poverty. Therealizations that some have are wow I want to help or how can Imake it better. I remember one year I helped to deliver blankets tothe homeless for the winter, I took time away from my social lifeto do this, and my friends that I was with at the time asked mewhat are you in a hurry to do, I told them I needed to go downtownto give the blankets to the homeless, that same day my friends hadgathered up all the blankets they had not needed and dropped themoff to the homeless. Every year I see the same homeless man by thefreeway entrance by my house, around the holidays is the only timeI see him, me and other members of my family take him food almostdaily we give money to eat if we have it to spare. I forget hisname  now , but because of this topic I have remembered howimportant it is for me to remember his name now, but if more peopleoffer of themselves not because they are commanded by a religiousmanifest but because they want to help end the poor problem.

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Post Date:
September 21, 2009
Posted By:
Marek Wosinski

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