Quote of the day:
"You will never miss the right way
if only you act according to your feelings and conscience."
Today's post is all about poverty. What's that you may ask? Well, as an Australian, lucky enough to be BORN in the 'Lucky Country', I'm forever grateful for what I have ... and have had. Some people, in their entire lifetime, will never have had, or experienced, a minute percentage of what I've been fortunate to experience. At least I had one thing: OPPORTUNITY! Check out these facts:
- Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
- The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.
- Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
- Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
- 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).
Sadly, many people would not give a moment's thought to those who are doing it tough. Why, maybe because they have not travelled - or travelled with their eyes open. It is, they say, common for humans to close their eyes to things that make them feel sad. Mm ... like people who knew what was happening during the holocaust ... or other atrocities to humanity - and did nothing. Absolutely nothing! My personal view is blunt: What an atrocious situation!
Having told you that I live in an extraordinary country of 22, 500,000 people, which has untold wealth beneath the ground, the world's largest coal and uranium deposits, a democracy, freedom and some of the best beaches in the world, here are some facts on homeless people in AUSTRALIA.
- 99,900 houseless people in Australia (105,304 in 1996)
- 54% adults over 24 years of age
- 10% under the age of 12 years
- 36% young people between 12 and 24 years
- 42% of houseless people were female
- 58% were single (58,116)
- 19% were couples (18,840)
- 23% were families (22,944 people or 6,745 families
- Male (42%)
- Female (58%)
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (18%)
- People from non-English speaking backgrounds (14%)
- Average age of female clients: 30
- Average age of male clients: 33
Most common reasons for house-lessness:
- Domestic and family violence (22%)
- Eviction/previous accommodation ended (11%)
- Relationship/family breakdown (11%)
- Usual accommodation unavailable (11%)
- Financial Difficulty (10%)
Why is this so?
The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.
By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.
Around the world, in rich or poor nations, poverty has always been present. In most nations today, inequality—the gap between the rich and the poor—is quite high and often widening. The causes are numerous, including a lack of individual responsibility, bad government policy, exploitation by people and businesses with power and influence, or some combination of these and other factors.
Many feel that high levels of inequality will affect social cohesion and lead to problems such as increasing crime and violence. Inequality is often a measure of relative poverty. Absolute poverty, however, is also a concern. World Bank figures for world poverty reveals a higher number of people live in poverty than previously thought.
The World Bank's view:
"Jobs provide higher earnings and better benefits as countries grow, but they are also a driver of development. Poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empowering women lead to greater investments in children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs bring together people from different ethnic and social backgrounds and provide alternatives to conflict. Jobs are thus more than a byproduct of economic growth. They are transformational—they are what we earn, what we do, and even who we are. High unemployment and unmet job expectations among youth are the most immediate concerns. But in many developing countries, where farming and self-employment are prevalent and safety nets are modest at best, unemployment rates can be low. In these countries, growth is seldom jobless.
Most of the poor work long hours but simply cannot make ends meet. And the violation of basic rights is not uncommon. Therefore, the number of jobs is not all that matters: jobs with high development payoffs are needed. Confronted with these challenges, policy makers ask difficult questions. Should countries build their development strategies around growth, or should they focus on jobs? Can entrepreneurship be fostered, especially among the many microenterprises in developing countries, or are entrepreneurs born? Are greater investments in education and training a prerequisite for employability, or can skills be built through jobs?
In times of major crises and structural shifts, should jobs, not just workers, be protected? And is there a risk that policies supporting job creation in one country will come at the expense of jobs in other countries? The World Development Report 2013: Jobs offers answers to these and other difficult questions by looking at jobs as drivers of development—not as derived labor demand—and by considering all types of jobs—not just formal wage employment. The Report provides a framework that cuts across sectors and shows that the best policy responses vary across countries, depending on their levels of development, endowments, demography, and institutions. Policy fundamentals matter in all cases, as they enable a vibrant private sector, the source of most jobs in the world. Labor policies can help as well, even if they are less critical than is often assumed. Development policies, from making smallholder farming viable to fostering functional cities to engaging in global markets, hold the key to success."
Clancy's comment: Tough, eh? Can you imagine what it's like? Mm ... today, when you tuck your kids or grand kids into bed, give them a big hug, knowing they have you to take care of them. Heaps have no one. The group I care about most are the kids - ALL KIDS. They deserve, at the very least, the opportunity to attend some semblance of schooling, and have food water and shelter.