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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 5 2013: At my small level of understanding of economic forces, it would seem that a debt-based financial system running a capitalistic society would naturally produce two groups, the very rich and the very poor. It it is a well run capitalistic system, the vast majority of the population is in the middle (a sort of bell curve) makeing up the middle class.
    Systems where this breaks down and the underclass is elevated by government hand outs, the rich take over as in the USA today or the middle class is hollowed out (also like the US), the system begins to run more poorly and public unrest accerates.
    • Jan 5 2013: I think welfare payments only weaken poor people. If they were given a training allowance instead and were paid to show up 5 days a week at the Skills Training Center, unemployed people could learn and practice employable skills. They could also be taught all kinds of lifestyle skills that would help them improve their lives and benefit their children. Showing up for daily training would also build up their mental and physical stamina so that they can do a productive day's work and keep a job. If some people spend their whole lives in training, at least they will be doing something to benefit themselves and society, instead of being a burden or a criminal outside of productive society. I was a Special Education teacher for 28 years. Everyone can learn to do useful things. Nobody should be pushed aside because they are not skilled enough, or productive enough yet.
      • Jan 6 2013: There is only so much valuable work to go around, the reality is technology makes much of the population redundant but old capitalist ideals can't handle this excess population.

        Without handouts you'd have more public unrest, in countries that don't have them or have been totally abolished you see massive unrest.
      • Jan 7 2013: Bob has a point about that, but technology hasn't still replaced a human labourer. For example, no machine can do community work, like helping to keep the streets clean, manage the public parks, etc.

        So I agree with Frank that a job could be found for the poor, and I firmly believe they would be able to learn anything, or at least simple skills. But here's the main issue: Most poor people are malnourished to start with, so they can't properly learn much or keep their attention span for a long time (esp. doing physical work). They don't have a home or they live in one under awful conditions. They can't shower, they wear the same dirty old clothes... what kind of employer would hire someone like this when there are better-prepared people who would take the job? That's where I think the State needs to come in and give not only proper training as Frank mentioned, but also finding them a job in the public sector.

        Maybe it's a left-wing kind-of idea, but I don't see how these people can be employed in the private sector under over-population (at least when talking about India or China..)

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