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What can governments do to end poverty in their countries? Is a solution possible under capitalism?

Hello, I come from Argentina, and in my country, poverty is an issue we still can't eradicate, even though extreme poverty has been around for many decades now.

What still baffles me is the fact that although the Government gives away money to those with reduced incomes, poverty is as bad as always. Poor people can now (at least) fulfill their basic needs, but they have now become dependant on the Govt to give them the necessary resources for life (and politicians do not care about this, since this way they can keep on "buying" their votes with cash). They don't have jobs (and some do not even bother to find one) and most still live in slums under really poor conditions. So, it's obvious this solution is only benefitial in the short run... eventually the Government is going to run out of money and we'll still have the same number of people in the streets.

Moreover, I read yesterday how India is going to start doing the same thing, but I guess that probably won't go anywhere either.

Now, what do you think is the solution to stop this vicious circle of poverty? What is your Government doing about it?

Bear in mind that Latin America has just extreme poverty levels (not as much as Africa), but still much more than the First World countries. At least in my country there is a surprisingly high number of slums (check some photos in wikipedia: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_miseria )

In my opinion, emphasis should be made on giving labour to these people outside-the-system. But for that, we need to offer public AND quality education. Yet I'm conscious that a malnourished child is not going to be able to be properly educated, is he?. So what can we do to ensure that child will have a better future? It's difficult to come up with a solution, but we're in the 21st Century now, it's about time we stopped poverty.


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    Jan 3 2013: Matias, I am going to go nurd on you for a minute. Up until 1916 Argintina was the second largest economy on earth. Then Hiplito Yrigoyen was elected and immediately enacted socialism and social and economic reforms. First he attacked the rich and took their money ... that did not work as the social programs grew and little money was coming in ... so he attacked the middle class and that did not work. With all the wealth gone and no industry could function the only jobs were government and so all the people left the farms and sought government jobs which made everything even worse if that was possiable. But socialism hung in there as the peso was now inflated to over 3000 percent. In 1946 a even worse event .. the election of Peron and history is very unkind to Argintina since then.

    In the last two elections Cristina Fernadez De Kirchner has brought some stability back to your country. She has realigned your country with the US and Britian in hopes of international trade and a spot on the map as was appreciated prior to 1916. She has great vision and is working hard for your country and some results are being seen.

    The poor will not go away. The socialist programs have inspired generational welfare reciepants. This will be hard to correct. When welfare prograns provide a better life than working there is little incentive to work. That is the major problem .... solve the welfare mentality and you will be on the right track.

    As industry and the economy grow then requirement for education will follow ... with these events you will see vast improvements in where you wish to go.

    All the best. Bob.
    • Jan 3 2013: Bob,

      First of all, thank you for your contribution. You do seem to know a lot about my country, and that's astonishing coming from an American...

      However, there are some things you just wrote which are not entirely true or are missing important details. Yes, he was a popular President (the first elected by popular vote) who stopped the power of the oligarchy. But where did you get that story of his Government? Even though he believed in social justice, I've never heard he "took money from the rich" to give it to the poor... (If he had done that, I doubt the still powerful oligarchy would've coped with it). He did face economic troubles, but you forgot to mention the causes (they were not minor): the First World War during his first presidency and the Great Depression during his second presidency.

      Now, it's ironic that you regard Peron's arrival to power as a bad event for the country, since his Government was REALLY SIMILAR to the Kirchners'. HE was the first to implement social programmes (with the help of his wife, Evita, who ran a foundation (which actually DID take away a compulsory small sum of money to both Businesses and Labourers)): not only did his Govt. invest in house creation for the poor, education and health (all through the Public sector), he also established a minimum salary, the employees' right to have holidays and free-Sundays. AND he started giving away cash to the needy, in what are known as "asignaciones familiares" (Or family benefit payments) with which the Kirchners' Governments nowadays get a lot of support. So, it's kind of funny to be against Peron's politics while the Kirchners call (and called) themselves "Peronists".

      By the way, it's also important to say that the poor are not "getting in a better position" nowadays. Because of the faulty education system, most are spending the money they receive in expensive shoes and clothes. But who can blame them, though? This money is not enough to get a house (even under mortgage).
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        Jan 4 2013: What I read said that money was taken from the rich and then the middle class to support the government that was broke. Admitted that there was some short cuts in history and I am to blame. I did not know that the Peron's era was considered a political or economic success. I bow to your first hand knowledge of the history of your country.
        I agree with your follow on statement. Politics are perception .... as long as they throw money at the problem they will be garnering voters. As you say there is no resolution in sight for that type of diplomancy. It does, however, diminish the work ethic.

        Thanks for the reply and I have learned from your input. Thank you. Bob.
        • Jan 4 2013: Hahaha, thank you Bob!

          I've already told you that you know more, much more than other people all over the world about my country. So feel proud of what you knew, and it's great to know you can learn from what I knew. I wish I knew USA's history, at least a little bit. It's a shame we don't get International History subjects at school :( (At least in my case)

          But well, getting back to the topic, this is quite a problem, don't you think? I'm torn between whether to support the Kirchners' economic policies or not. Theirs is obviously not a viable solution in the long run, but I guess any other President would either do the same thing in Cristina's place, or if a liberal comes he'd stop helping the poor altogether. That's mainly why I asked this question. I sympathise with them because they're trying to help the poor, but as I see it, eventually they will run out of money and the poor will still be poor.

          And it's a little disheartening to know poverty still exists in MANY countries, especially in those of the Second and Third World, and that nothing serious is being done with it. But communism/socialism doesn't have a solution to it either...
    • Jan 3 2013: So that's why I wonder whether this money which the Government gives away could be put to better use to ACTUALLY get these people away from poverty. But I guess it's easier to get political support from giving away cheap money than from investing in the long run in Education or Construction of Houses.
    • Jan 3 2013: "Up until 1916 Argentina was the second largest economy on earth."

      You really believe that? The British Empire was of course the biggest economy at the time but you're saying Argentina's economy was bigger than that of the following colonial powers: Germany, France, the United States, the Russian Empire, Italy, the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands and Japan? I mean seriously...

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