TED Conversations

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

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.

+9
Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jan 5 2013: I think that it starts with education but included in the general education is a financial education. Even in the U.S, the majority of the people including the middle class are financially illiterate. that is one thing that the poor and the middle class have in common....they are both financially illiterate. I don't know a lot about stocks but would it be possible to come up with a stock that has explosive growth potential but could be bought at say$1 a share with no minimum purchase requirement. so if a person could only afford to buy 1 stock they start there and as it increases they buy more and after a while they have a reasonable income coming in after repeating this process. I don't see why its not possible. It would be good for the company that issues the stock and good for the people that invest in the stock. Nonprofits in the U.S could educate the people in the communities and NGO's could do the same thing internationally. I'm sure its not that easy but with the expertise that we have in the so called developed countries I feel it could be done. The question is the will and the egos of the people that have the power and expertise. That would be the main obstacle.
    • Jan 6 2013: Sorry but financial literacy is a scam, the whole economy DEPENDS on stupid people buying things. The best thing you can do as a smart person is to buy nothing and get everything free/second hand but that would tank the economy pretty fast.

      A capitalist economy depends on stupid people, lets face this fact. Just imagine if everyone was smart and behaved smart. Many business empires would crumble overnight.
      • Jan 8 2013: Sorry but I don't see education people as a scam. A scam is something dishonest. Secondly if that is the prevailing attitude and people are unwilling to seek to change the system then get used to crime ,violence,revolution, terrorism, etc. and stop complaining about it because it is a manifestation of certain conditions that people cannot see themselves getting out of. just for the record I am not a liberal but I don't see this country jailing and executing its way out of this situation. You have to look at the larger picture. And if people are going to be indifferent about educationg people how to survive and thrive in this society then they should be indifferent about crime and violence and stop complaining about it. It goes with the territory. I agree with your statement that the economy depends on the ignorant but if we want a more sane society we better make some adjustments. The economic system was not didvinely made, it was man made. If man created it, he can alter it.
        • Jan 10 2013: People wouldn't need to be "literate" if they were paid a living wage to begin with. I can look back at my parents and grandparents times when they could afford things my generation cannot with much greater ease and well paid jobs that no longer exist.

          The idea that 'financial literacy' is going to change anything when you can't get enough capital to invest to begin with is just nonsense squared.
    • Jan 6 2013: I think you've introduced an interesting point to this debate.

      Financial literacy, in an ideal way, could help the middle and lower classes understand how to make their money grow in the long run. However, we all know this is the Rich's game. Imagine if everyone in society bought shares in a usual basis. Stock markets would be prone to sudden overconfident boosts and the colapses would be absolutely fatal.

      I agree with Bob in that matter. If we all behaved rationally, the economy wouldn't work the same way. For example, what would happen if a new iPhone/iPod/iSomething came out and all the Tech-Fanatics waited a bit to buy it (maybe waiting for its price to go down or because they don't urgently need this latest gadget). That would be disheartening for Apple! It's overpriced shares would sharply fall.

      So, that's something to think about. The economy benefits from having uneducated/irrational people in society
    • Jan 7 2013: "I think that it starts with education but included in the general education is a financial education. Even in the U.S, the majority of the people including the middle class are financially illiterate."

      And so is a majority of rich people. In the real world you get rich through luck, not because you understand the economy completely. It's all about being born in the right country, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, winning your gambles at the start of your career instead of at the end, physical appearance and other such things.

      "so if a person could only afford to buy 1 stock they start there and as it increases they buy more and after a while they have a reasonable income coming in after repeating this process. I don't see why its not possible."

      The stock may grow explosively but if you divide the dividend by the entire population it would be pennies per person. Also, where do the gains of the stock come from if not from the labors of the population, the dividend can never exceed the people's own labors, so why bother working through dividends in the first place, why not just pay people an honest wage for their labors?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.