While pondering the idea of retirement in America, I started thinking about all the poor people in the U.S. who will not have enough to retire comfortably. This is a fact many are slowly coming to realize.
But while we sit in Wendy’s or McDonald’s and contemplate their situation, all the while scarfing down a Big Mac and some fries, I don’t think we really understand what poverty is. Basically,
Poor People are everywhere.
Poor people are the majority in most countries of the world. And they are really poor!
In the central areas of Africa, the UN estimates that, at the present rate, it will take a century just to bring the daily income up to $1.25. A buck and a quarter a day! Think about it.
In 1990 the estimated number of people living in extreme poverty was almost 2 billion people. The World Bank estimates that the number has been cut to 700 million by 2015. That’s great news for half of them. They are now making over one dollar a day! The absolute poverty of the world is astounding.
In July of 1969, Neil Armstrong took the first steps by a human on the surface of the moon. It only cost the United States the equivalent of 130 billion dollars in today’s money. The United States spent 130 billion dollars to plant a flag on the moon.
The Borgen Project calculates that extreme poverty could be eliminated for less than 25% of what America spent to go to the moon. $30 billion dollars, wisely invested could lift hundreds of millions of people up from the depths of extreme poverty.
One in nine people in the world does not have enough food in their bodies to actually live a productive healthy life.
That’s over 700 million people who are starving right now. Two-thirds of them live in Asia, according to the World Food Programme. But in every country, including the United States, people are starving today.
One billion, or one in six people on earth is seriously malnourished. The causes are as old as man; disease, pestilence, war, and even climate change all contribute to the problem.
In the USA, 40% of the food produced never gets eaten! According to the NRDC America wastes the equivalent of 165 billion dollars of food each year. It ends up in landfills and dumps.
Studies by several major universities in the United States have calculated that $4 million dollars worth of food is being thrown away each day in our schools. All the while, in other countries and even here, millions starve.
The main cause of hunger, according to the World Hunger.Org is poverty. The flip side is that poverty also is the main cause of hunger. If you’re too hungry to work, you can’t make enough money or grow enough food to support yourself. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break.
In southeast Asia, including India and Pakistan, Cambodia, and Thailand, 300 million people are seriously malnourished. This is the leading cause of disease and stunting of growth. Without proper nutrition, millions of babies are born each year already severely deficient in the nutrients they should have had before birth. This leads to mental and physical setbacks that can never be overcome in later years.
Over 160 million children under five years of age were estimated in 2015 to be permanently stunted in their growth and development.because of malnutrition and starvation.
Here in the western hemisphere poverty and hunger still ravage many countries.
In Haiti, 2 out of 3 Haitians live on less than $2 dollars a day! 50% of urban Haitians are unemployed and Haiti imports 80% of its main food source (rice) and grows only 50% of its own food. Less than half of the households have drinkable water. One in three children are permanently stunted in development and have little chance of physical improvement.
While countries like Haiti are suffering from lack of development, some developed countries suffer as well.
In Venezuela, millions are currently starving from gross mismanagement of the economy. Attempts by the socialized government to control the production and distribution of food and other products have set the entire country into a downward spiral of economic death. Thousands are streaming over the borders into neighboring countries in a desperate search for foods and essential items. Medicine has all but disappeared as well as basic medical supplies. Hospitals are virtually non-functioning and many needy go without the most basic care. This is man-made poverty.
While The problem seems overwhelming, the solutions are available.
This year the world will produce enough food to feed itself, but it just won’t get where it’s needed.
The world average per capita is almost 2700 calories a day and still, people are starving.
Better distribution of food, better ways to store food, better and cheaper methods of production all can contribute to wiping out starvation and, by extension, poverty. The solutions to these problems are being developed, but what is needed is the will of the world’s people to help each other. The problem is as old as man.
Much has changed in the world as I have grown old, but much remains the same.