HEADLINES OF THE DAY: ANOTHER 15,000 PEOPLE DIED YESTERDAY BECAUSE THEY WERE TOO POOR TO LIVE. THE RICH INCREASED THEIR WEALTH YESTERDAY BY $0.3 BILLION. THE 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS ONE DAY NEARER.
“O Ye rich ones on earth! The poor in your midst are My trust; guard ye My trust, and be not intent only on your own ease.”
A preview of the unpublished book A CIVILIZATION WITHOUT A VISION WILL PERISH: AN INDEPENDENT SEARCH FOR THE TRUTH by David Willis at email@example.com. CHAPTER 1: INDIFFERENCE TO POVERTY (Part 82). This blog is a continuation of the review of ENDING GLOBAL POVERTY: A GUIDE TO WHAT WORKS by Stephen C. Smith, published in 2005.
The First Key: Health and nutrition for adults to work and children to grow to their potential
Health requires good nutrition, safe water, and knowledge, as well as access to medical care when needed. Nutrition in turn depends on health. In the poorest countries all these requirements are sorely lacking.
Undernutrition is responsible for more than half of the infant and child deaths in poor countries.
The poor do not need much to meet their basic nutrition. In most cases an extremely small amount of money would be enough for people to escape undernutrition traps in which they have too little nourishment to be able to work with sufficient strength.
To end poverty we must make it a top priority to address hunger.
If the poor are well nourished (and have the other keys to capability), they can frequently use their creativity to earn a basic living in microenterprises and other activities.
Food security has three components: food availability, food access, and adequate food utilization (knowing and providing a proper diet, safe water, and sanitation).
There is no shortage of food in the world as a whole – there is only a shortage of entitlement to food.
Shipping food as part of foreign aid is not effective for two reasons
As a general policy, shipping food as part of foreign aid is not effective for two reasons. The first is the perverse effect it has on the rural population where poverty is concentrated. Food shipments will generally lower the price of food in the cities, where better-off people tend to live. Very little food aid will reach the rural areas where the chronically poor live, largely because they lack the political clout to demand it. The impact may well be to make poor farmers worse off, because the greater supply of food has lowered the national food price.
The second reason
The second reason that food aid does not work stems from a blend of politics and markets. For example, the government of India calls the country “food self-sufficient”; but this is because the market demand for food is met by local supply. However, the market demand is woefully low because of the impoverishment of nearly half its people.
A permanent solution is to increase the purchasing power of the poor – and create local entitlements for people when for whatever reason they cannot provide a minimum number of calories for their family.
As long as most of the poor remain farmers, it is vital to improve the productivity of their farms, along with ensuring their claim on the income from that productivity.
This in turn generally means helping the poor farmers to gain the keys to capability.
Access to clean water, and to basic sanitation, are also critical. If the water is not safe, the poor have to boil it. This uses up scarce fuel wood.
If the water is not safe, people will get sick. The poor are sick many more days than the non-poor.
Better health knowledge among the poor is critically needed.