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Discussion #22 - Poverty Elimination

The cost to provide basic education, clean water/sanitation & basic health & nutrition (for every person in every developing country) - $40 billion per year.

The cost for world military in 2012 - 1.76 trillion ($1,756 billion)/yr.
In other words, we could solve world hunger for less than 1/40th
the cost of military spending. The U.S. alone spends almost half this amount (39%) on their military. (Almost 20 times the cost of eliminating world hunger)! Why aren't we doing this?!!!

80% of all human beings are living on less than $10 a day.
Half (over 3 billion of 7.6) are living on less than $2.50 a day.
There are 2.2 billion children living in the world currently.
Almost half (1 billion) are living in poverty.

Pretend for a minute that you were born into a poor family in Ethiopia. You did nothing to choose this, did nothing to deserve it, just your portal into this physical world. Now imagine for a minute that you (& your entire family) are trapped in this life. Unable to earn enough to eat, let alone save for an escape. As you become more hungry, you have less & less energy, until the day comes when you cannot work much at all. Thus the downward spiral. This is the reality for almost 1 billion people on Earth. We can easily solve this problem, almost immediately! Why don't we do it?

A good portion of this basic education should be allocated for birth control techniques etc. (not difficult to do), but it's not necessary for 22,000 innocent children to die every day! World governments can EASILY afford to solve the problem RIGHT NOW, but for some bizarre reason are choosing not to.

We have compartmentalized humans on this planet for many generations, but this is changing quickly. Thanks to the internet, air travel, and other forms of modern technology, the entire world is now starting to see and communicate with each other. Big business is starting to utilize previously untapped human resources. Many people who are not well informed, are very afraid of this growing trend.

They are convinced they may lose their good-paying job or career as a result, but if you look at the bigger picture, you realize that growing global financial equality is actually economically good for everyone. Good-paying jobs in developing countries mean more consumers and more taxpayers, which ultimately helps to create more jobs in The West. It's only if the exported jobs (or jobs performed by those immigrating) are extremely low-paying that this hurts the global economy.

Where it gets tricky, is in the area of consumption. Lifting all, around the world, out of poverty is an easily achievable goal. It's basically just a distribution problem, since the world is already plenty rich enough to accomodate this, even without more global GDP growth. The much tougher challenge, is dealing with the added consumption that this would inevitably create. Economically, we would all benefit dramatically, but our environment on Earth, that's a very different story.

More affluence means more consumption, things like driving cars, using air conditioning, consuming meat, air travel, etc. We must somehow balance the massive economic and humanitarian benefits of eradicating global poverty, with managing the added consumption that this creates. Currently, if nothing changes, we're on track to almost triple the global economy by 2050. This means close to triple the production & consumption as well, with very little change in poverty levels. This is a problem, as we're struggling with climate change as it is.

Then there are the historical issues, meaning that those individuals who have been living in poverty their entire lives, have not yet burned even close to their fair share of fossil fuels, or used their fair share of AC, etc. This is why it's so important for the entire world to transition to renewable energy as soon as humanly possible. Then the economic advantages will far outweigh the consumption negatives, AND we get to survive as a species.

Extreme poverty numbers are very misleading. If you ask Google how many in the world are poor, Google will say 8 or 9%, but this number is based on only $1.90 income per DAY. This may be enough to keep someone alive in some countries, but just barely. The far more important number to care about is those living on (& earning) less than $7.40 per day. This number represents approx. the minimum cost for a human to live with basic nutrition and a full life expectancy. The international poverty line of $1.90 a day (USD) is so obscenely low, that it's use has only one purpose, and that is to make the rich feel a little bit better about themselves.

There are currently approx. 4.2 billion people on Earth (over half the global population), who are below this number right now. These people are obviously not likely driving a car, using air conditioning, or flying off somewhere for vacations. Lifting all out of poverty right now would instantly double our global consumption. Then almost triple THAT amount again by 2050. This is why the new global obsession must become sustainability. We also must eradicate poverty, so the challenges we face as a species are not small.

Globalization is going to continue whether we like it or not. It's part of the natural evolution of humankind. We do however, have a great deal of control over how this plays out. We can continue to marginalize massive pockets of the human race, or we can start to treat each other as equals. This too is part of the natural evolution of mankind (if we choose it to be).

It really does all boil down to this one basic question; do we believe in human equality or not. If we do, then we should really choose to eradicate poverty right away. If we do not, then we can continue on this ridiculous path of elitism (shared by all races and religions) and suffer the consequences. When people ask me where I'm from, I normally reply Earth.

While it's true that there aren't enough sustainable resources on Earth for all to live in the lap of luxury (and by this I mean things like red meat), there is plenty for all to be extremely happy and healthy. There will never be complete perceived equality, nor does there need to be, as this does create an extreme motivation for some to succeed greatly in life and provide much-needed services in the world.

The real tragedy here is the lack of opportunity to succeed (or survive). To me, in this day and age, it seems basically like criminal activity. A form of oppression similar to slavery (a practice still very much alive in the world today). In many countries, even those working extremely hard, long hours are earning ridiculously low wages, and when visible to the rest of the world seem like virtual slaves. The world is fully aware of sweatshops, but not fully aware of the massive scope of this.

Most people are not overly thrilled about escaping their comfort zone to think about this subject, but it's extremely important that many do. This is a global problem that is starting to affect everyone in the world (economically). Ignoring it will not make it go away. If you are the one who (for example) owns the factory, and are presented with all of the options, you are likely to make similar decisions about it's future (assuming you care about being profitable). It's easy for us to sit back on our haunches and think this issue will never really affect us, but the reality is that it already is (and this is just the tip of the iceberg).

Politicians can only get away with doing basically what the "political will" around them will allow. This means that it's on us, the citizens of Earth, to choose our course. Obviously, dribbles of charity and humanitarian aid (which are basically just teasing the situation) are not working. They make us feel a bit better about ourselves, but do very little to solve the root problems of extreme poverty.

Poverty is also, of course, not limited to developing countries only. There is a huge and growing problem in many of the richer countries as well, including the US. Poverty in these countries had a huge increase in the great recession of 2008. Many jobs were lost (permanently) as companies had to restructure to stay competitive. Also, many small businesses were lost due to the credit crunch, as bailouts were given to larger companies and not the smaller ones. Much of this form of poverty is strongly linked to the widening wealth and income gaps in these countries, which are effectively wiping out their middle classes.

There is a growing trend of formerly highly successful and educated individuals (and families) that are being forced to live in their cars (or similar). There are even "safe parking" programs popping up in various states and cities in the US. These programs utilize church and business parking lots at night for the specific purpose of providing a safe place for recently homeless people (or families) to live in their car. While these programs are providing a much-needed and valued service, they are also on many levels quite a disturbing trend.

These programs are growing in numbers quickly, and while the solution is not ideal, it's better than the alternatives, which are shelters or living on the streets. Many recently downsized individuals still have their car or van, and find it far cheaper than rent or a mortgage. This situation is actually just the tip of (another) iceberg, as many middle and upper-middle class families can normally live comfortably for many years off the equity in their main asset, their home.

This has actually quietly been happening quite a bit in recent years, and it's especially upsetting for families and individuals who have lived most of their lives in relative luxury and comfort, to be ultimately forced into this situation. Much of this problem is being driven by globalization and technology, as many of the formerly decent-paying jobs become outsourced or automated to increase or maintain company profits.

While the debate is just beginning to rage on this next conversation, universal basic income (UBI), in my humble opinion, is definitely NOT the solution to growing poverty levels in the richer countries. There are decent arguments on both sides of this debate, but the bottom line is that the cost to tax-payers would be astronomical. Even if governments could afford to do this, it would be far wiser to use that money to encourage early retirement for seniors.

Using it to encourage young people in their 20's & 30's, to sit around and play video games all day, is not going to help the situation. Early retirement for folks who have already put in 25, or 30+ years of work, will free up a vast number of jobs, and give young people the sense of purpose & challenge that they so desperately need at this stage of life.

While there are some that would use the opportunity to go back to school & become higher educated, there are many others who would see it as an opportunity to do nothing productive at all. This would result in much less tax revenue pouring into the system, and much more pouring out.

Also, there are NOT an infinite number of higher-educated higher-paying jobs to be had, and record numbers of young people are already choosing to go to university or college as it is. If far too many choose this path, large numbers will not end up with the higher levels of employment they deserve, yet they'll still have the student loans to pay off in the end. There are far too many "volunteer internships" being offered to young university graduates as it is.

There is no doubt that drug addiction, depression, anxiety, and the suicide rates among the younger generations are completely unacceptable. However, encouraging the idea that having a job or career is not necessary at this stage, is going to have far more tragic results. Promoting earlier retirement, on the other hand, is a much wiser strategy. A senior citizen, who has already worked 25, 30, or more years, is far better equipped emotionally to handle this extra free time. Normally, much better equipped financially as well.

A gradually shortening work week for EVERYONE (for no less pay), would also be a much better solution than UBI. Why not let virtually everyone of prime working age be productive in society, instead of overworking some and underworking others. Also, technology will never stop permanently eliminating human jobs, so why not spread the remaining work around for everyone. Many extremely advanced countries in Europe have already been doing this for many years, with incredibly successful economic and quality of life results. It should not be just the rich who benefit from advancing technology in the labour market, everyone should benefit from it.

Although the arguments and attitudes of "Social Darwinism" are basically the way the world works now, there are just far too many aspects of life that are simply beyond our control. The very definition of a fair economic situation is where everyone has an equal chance at financial success. While this has obviously never been the case so far in human history, it should still be the ultimate goal of world governments. Not to coddle the already rich elite.

Almost 100 years ago, a well-known fellow by the name of John D. Rockefeller commented that if the masses had any idea about the reality of the scope of economic inequality that exists, there would be a massive uprising. Now, with the information highway and many other forms of modern communication, it's not going to remain a secret much longer. (When he passed away in 1937 at the age of 97, he had a net worth of over $400 billion in today dollars). He basically made his fortune by maintaining a monopoly on selling oil (in the US) for many years. While individuals like John are normally extremely industrious and ambitious people, there is always a huge element of luck (and often corruption) involved.

As individuals, we know that solving the problem of poverty in the world is far beyond our control. But, the collective will of the majority, in any given democratic country, can absolutely solve this problem, and in a very short period of time as well.

It's easy for us in the richer countries, to almost forget about the immense number of people living in poverty worldwide. It's our human tendency to compartmentalize, but we must look at the bigger picture if we truly do care about others. Making this world a better place for everyone should be something we're ALL striving for, not just a small number of celebrities & activists. It's all about political will. If enough people feel strongly about something, then it will generally come to pass.

In recent years, with this pandemic, we're seeing some very interesting things happen. Most importantly, the poorer countries of this world are experiencing much lower vaccination rates than the richer countries. At first glance, this might seem like an unbelievable tragedy. When you look a little bit deeper however, you start to realize that this might actually end up being a much bigger benefit to these countries than a negative.

If you look at India, for example, they had a huge covid outbreak back in May 2021. And yes, the numbers were off the charts bad. But currently, (in October 2021), just a few months later, their new daily covid cases are literally one fifth of my own country of Canada. And my country is doing extremely well compared to most other rich Western countries!

What I'm saying here, is that many in the West, and around the world, are starting to realize that natural immunity is proving to be far more effective in combating this virus than vaccine-induced. Currently, just over 17% of the citizens of India are fully vaccinated. In Canada, for example, that number is just over 71%. Per capita, as of October 2021, we have 5 times the number of new daily covid cases, and in the US, that number is double what my country is experiencing. In the UK (Oct 2, 2021), they are experiencing literally more new daily cases than India, and the population of India is 21 times that of the United Kingdom. This means approx. 25 times the number of new covid cases per capita, and the vaccination rate in the UK is 67%!

Yes, the people of India, and many other poor countries of the world, do generally spend less time indoors. But the main reason for this unbelievably massive difference has got to be natural immunity. If not, then we need to quickly find out what IS causing this difference, and modify what's happening in the richer countries, so that we can hopefully one day keep up with them in this pandemic!
Discussion #22 - Poverty Elimination

The cost to provide basic education, clean water/sanitation & basic health & nutrition (for every person in every developing country) - $40 billion per year.

The cost for world military in 2012 - 1.76 trillion ($1,756 billion)/yr.
In other words, we could solve world hunger for less than 1/40th
the cost of military spending. The U.S. alone spends almost half this amount (39%) on their military. (Almost 20 times the cost of eliminating world hunger)! Why aren't we doing this?!!!

80% of all human beings are living on less than $10 a day.
Half (over 3 billion of 7.6) are living on less than $2.50 a day.
There are 2.2 billion children living in the world currently.
Almost half (1 billion) are living in poverty.

Pretend for a minute that you were born into a poor family in Ethiopia. You did nothing to choose this, did nothing to deserve it, just your portal into this physical world. Now imagine for a minute that you (& your entire family) are trapped in this life. Unable to earn enough to eat, let alone save for an escape. As you become more hungry, you have less & less energy, until the day comes when you cannot work much at all. Thus the downward spiral. This is the reality for almost 1 billion people on Earth. We can easily solve this problem, almost immediately! Why don't we do it?

A good portion of this basic education should be allocated for birth control techniques etc. (not difficult to do), but it's not necessary for 22,000 innocent children to die every day! World governments can EASILY afford to solve the problem RIGHT NOW, but for some bizarre reason are choosing not to.

We have compartmentalized humans on this planet for many generations, but this is changing quickly. Thanks to the internet, air travel, and other forms of modern technology, the entire world is now starting to see and communicate with each other. Big business is starting to utilize previously untapped human resources. Many people who are not well informed, are very afraid of this growing trend.

They are convinced they may lose their good-paying job or career as a result, but if you look at the bigger picture, you realize that growing global financial equality is actually economically good for everyone. Good-paying jobs in developing countries mean more consumers and more taxpayers, which ultimately helps to create more jobs in The West. It's only if the exported jobs (or jobs performed by those immigrating) are extremely low-paying that this hurts the global economy.

Where it gets tricky, is in the area of consumption. Lifting all, around the world, out of poverty is an easily achievable goal. It's basically just a distribution problem, since the world is already plenty rich enough to accomodate this, even without more global GDP growth. The much tougher challenge, is dealing with the added consumption that this would inevitably create. Economically, we would all benefit dramatically, but our environment on Earth, that's a very different story.

More affluence means more consumption, things like driving cars, using air conditioning, consuming meat, air travel, etc. We must somehow balance the massive economic and humanitarian benefits of eradicating global poverty, with managing the added consumption that this creates. Currently, if nothing changes, we're on track to almost triple the global economy by 2050. This means close to triple the production & consumption as well, with very little change in poverty levels. This is a problem, as we're struggling with climate change as it is.

Then there are the historical issues, meaning that those individuals who have been living in poverty their entire lives, have not yet burned even close to their fair share of fossil fuels, or used their fair share of AC, etc. This is why it's so important for the entire world to transition to renewable energy as soon as humanly possible. Then the economic advantages will far outweigh the consumption negatives, AND we get to survive as a species.

Extreme poverty numbers are very misleading. If you ask Google how many in the world are poor, Google will say 8 or 9%, but this number is based on only $1.90 income per DAY. This may be enough to keep someone alive in some countries, but just barely. The far more important number to care about is those living on (& earning) less than $7.40 per day. This number represents approx. the minimum cost for a human to live with basic nutrition and a full life expectancy. The international poverty line of $1.90 a day (USD) is so obscenely low, that it's use has only one purpose, and that is to make the rich feel a little bit better about themselves.

There are currently approx. 4.2 billion people on Earth (over half the global population), who are below this number right now. These people are obviously not likely driving a car, using air conditioning, or flying off somewhere for vacations. Lifting all out of poverty right now would instantly double our global consumption. Then almost triple THAT amount again by 2050. This is why the new global obsession must become sustainability. We also must eradicate poverty, so the challenges we face as a species are not small.

Globalization is going to continue whether we like it or not. It's part of the natural evolution of humankind. We do however, have a great deal of control over how this plays out. We can continue to marginalize massive pockets of the human race, or we can start to treat each other as equals. This too is part of the natural evolution of mankind (if we choose it to be).

It really does all boil down to this one basic question; do we believe in human equality or not. If we do, then we should really choose to eradicate poverty right away. If we do not, then we can continue on this ridiculous path of elitism (shared by all races and religions) and suffer the consequences. When people ask me where I'm from, I normally reply Earth.

While it's true that there aren't enough sustainable resources on Earth for all to live in the lap of luxury (and by this I mean things like red meat), there is plenty for all to be extremely happy and healthy. There will never be complete perceived equality, nor does there need to be, as this does create an extreme motivation for some to succeed greatly in life and provide much-needed services in the world.

The real tragedy here is the lack of opportunity to succeed (or survive). To me, in this day and age, it seems basically like criminal activity. A form of oppression similar to slavery (a practice still very much alive in the world today). In many countries, even those working extremely hard, long hours are earning ridiculously low wages, and when visible to the rest of the world seem like virtual slaves. The world is fully aware of sweatshops, but not fully aware of the massive scope of this.

Most people are not overly thrilled about escaping their comfort zone to think about this subject, but it's extremely important that many do. This is a global problem that is starting to affect everyone in the world (economically). Ignoring it will not make it go away. If you are the one who (for example) owns the factory, and are presented with all of the options, you are likely to make similar decisions about it's future (assuming you care about being profitable). It's easy for us to sit back on our haunches and think this issue will never really affect us, but the reality is that it already is (and this is just the tip of the iceberg).

Politicians can only get away with doing basically what the "political will" around them will allow. This means that it's on us, the citizens of Earth, to choose our course. Obviously, dribbles of charity and humanitarian aid (which are basically just teasing the situation) are not working. They make us feel a bit better about ourselves, but do very little to solve the root problems of extreme poverty.

Poverty is also, of course, not limited to developing countries only. There is a huge and growing problem in many of the richer countries as well, including the US. Poverty in these countries had a huge increase in the great recession of 2008. Many jobs were lost (permanently) as companies had to restructure to stay competitive. Also, many small businesses were lost due to the credit crunch, as bailouts were given to larger companies and not the smaller ones. Much of this form of poverty is strongly linked to the widening wealth and income gaps in these countries, which are effectively wiping out their middle classes.

There is a growing trend of formerly highly successful and educated individuals (and families) that are being forced to live in their cars (or similar). There are even "safe parking" programs popping up in various states and cities in the US. These programs utilize church and business parking lots at night for the specific purpose of providing a safe place for recently homeless people (or families) to live in their car. While these programs are providing a much-needed and valued service, they are also on many levels quite a disturbing trend.

These programs are growing in numbers quickly, and while the solution is not ideal, it's better than the alternatives, which are shelters or living on the streets. Many recently downsized individuals still have their car or van, and find it far cheaper than rent or a mortgage. This situation is actually just the tip of (another) iceberg, as many middle and upper-middle class families can normally live comfortably for many years off the equity in their main asset, their home.

This has actually quietly been happening quite a bit in recent years, and it's especially upsetting for families and individuals who have lived most of their lives in relative luxury and comfort, to be ultimately forced into this situation. Much of this problem is being driven by globalization and technology, as many of the formerly decent-paying jobs become outsourced or automated to increase or maintain company profits.

While the debate is just beginning to rage on this next conversation, universal basic income (UBI), in my humble opinion, is definitely NOT the solution to growing poverty levels in the richer countries. There are decent arguments on both sides of this debate, but the bottom line is that the cost to tax-payers would be astronomical. Even if governments could afford to do this, it would be far wiser to use that money to encourage early retirement for seniors.

Using it to encourage young people in their 20's & 30's, to sit around and play video games all day, is not going to help the situation. Early retirement for folks who have already put in 25, or 30+ years of work, will free up a vast number of jobs, and give young people the sense of purpose & challenge that they so desperately need at this stage of life.

While there are some that would use the opportunity to go back to school & become higher educated, there are many others who would see it as an opportunity to do nothing productive at all. This would result in much less tax revenue pouring into the system, and much more pouring out.

Also, there are NOT an infinite number of higher-educated higher-paying jobs to be had, and record numbers of young people are already choosing to go to university or college as it is. If far too many choose this path, large numbers will not end up with the higher levels of employment they deserve, yet they'll still have the student loans to pay off in the end. There are far too many "volunteer internships" being offered to young university graduates as it is.

There is no doubt that drug addiction, depression, anxiety, and the suicide rates among the younger generations are completely unacceptable. However, encouraging the idea that having a job or career is not necessary at this stage, is going to have far more tragic results. Promoting earlier retirement, on the other hand, is a much wiser strategy. A senior citizen, who has already worked 25, 30, or more years, is far better equipped emotionally to handle this extra free time. Normally, much better equipped financially as well.

A gradually shortening work week for EVERYONE (for no less pay), would also be a much better solution than UBI. Why not let virtually everyone of prime working age be productive in society, instead of overworking some and underworking others. Also, technology will never stop permanently eliminating human jobs, so why not spread the remaining work around for everyone. Many extremely advanced countries in Europe have already been doing this for many years, with incredibly successful economic and quality of life results. It should not be just the rich who benefit from advancing technology in the labour market, everyone should benefit from it.

Although the arguments and attitudes of "Social Darwinism" are basically the way the world works now, there are just far too many aspects of life that are simply beyond our control. The very definition of a fair economic situation is where everyone has an equal chance at financial success. While this has obviously never been the case so far in human history, it should still be the ultimate goal of world governments. Not to coddle the already rich elite.

Almost 100 years ago, a well-known fellow by the name of John D. Rockefeller commented that if the masses had any idea about the reality of the scope of economic inequality that exists, there would be a massive uprising. Now, with the information highway and many other forms of modern communication, it's not going to remain a secret much longer. (When he passed away in 1937 at the age of 97, he had a net worth of over $400 billion in today dollars). He basically made his fortune by maintaining a monopoly on selling oil (in the US) for many years. While individuals like John are normally extremely industrious and ambitious people, there is always a huge element of luck (and often corruption) involved.

As individuals, we know that solving the problem of poverty in the world is far beyond our control. But, the collective will of the majority, in any given democratic country, can absolutely solve this problem, and in a very short period of time as well.

It's easy for us in the richer countries, to almost forget about the immense number of people living in poverty worldwide. It's our human tendency to compartmentalize, but we must look at the bigger picture if we truly do care about others. Making this world a better place for everyone should be something we're ALL striving for, not just a small number of celebrities & activists. It's all about political will. If enough people feel strongly about something, then it will generally come to pass.

In recent years, with this pandemic, we're seeing some very interesting things happen. Most importantly, the poorer countries of this world are experiencing much lower vaccination rates than the richer countries. At first glance, this might seem like an unbelievable tragedy. When you look a little bit deeper however, you start to realize that this might actually end up being a much bigger benefit to these countries than a negative.

If you look at India, for example, they had a huge covid outbreak back in May 2021. And yes, the numbers were off the charts bad. But currently, (in October 2021), just a few months later, their new daily covid cases are literally one fifth of my own country of Canada. And my country is doing extremely well compared to most other rich Western countries!

What I'm saying here, is that many in the West, and around the world, are starting to realize that natural immunity is proving to be far more effective in combating this virus than vaccine-induced. Currently, just over 17% of the citizens of India are fully vaccinated. In Canada, for example, that number is just over 71%. Per capita, as of October 2021, we have 5 times the number of new daily covid cases, and in the US, that number is double what my country is experiencing. In the UK (Oct 2, 2021), they are experiencing literally more new daily cases than India, and the population of India is 21 times that of the United Kingdom. This means approx. 25 times the number of new covid cases per capita, and the vaccination rate in the UK is 67%!

Yes, the people of India, and many other poor countries of the world, do generally spend less time indoors. But the main reason for this unbelievably massive difference has got to be natural immunity. If not, then we need to quickly find out what IS causing this difference, and modify what's happening in the richer countries, so that we can hopefully one day keep up with them in this pandemic!