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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 8 2013: Education is the solution to the problem. Imagine a country that had an eduction policy that failed 99 out of 100 pupils and the population put up with it, you'd think they were stupid. That is what we have with our economic policies, it only works well for 1%.
    The politicians, mouth pieces for the rich and powerful, know that if we had a real education, no one would be daft enough to vote for them.
    We are all brought up to be good capitalist with a perverse notion that we have deserved poor and deserved rich.
    If we cannot make the change ourselves then at least equip our kids with the tools to come up with a better system. Introduce philosophy lessons into primary schools and sow the seeds of thought.
    • Jan 9 2013: Yes, that's exactly true! It's like when we are children, it is put into our minds that there's nothing you can do for poor people, and that's the way life is.

      I second introducing philosophy lessons into primary and secondary schools. If not, the kids will keep on learning only about historical facts, wars, etc. What about the important thinkers mankind has had? What about man's wonder at his nature, his surroundings, etc? Overall, education can be improved in so many ways. I'd go as far as to say Philosophy should be a main subject over Art, P.E. or other subjects of no importance.
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        Jan 9 2013: Re: " I'd go as far as to say Philosophy should be a main subject over Art, P.E. or other subjects of no importance."

        Strongly disagree. PE has tremendous importance for brain development. Controlling our muscles is why we have brain in the first place: http://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_wolpert_the_real_reason_for_brains.html
        It also builds self-confidence, self-control, social skills, friendship, etc. These are the qualities that "poor" people lack in the first place.

        Art has huge importance for emotional development. How do you suggest to build empathetic society with people who don't understand emotions? Music, in particular, develops same brain areas as math. Musicians have no problem understanding patterns, fractions, and other math concepts.
        • Jan 9 2013: Believe me I'm not against Art, but that could be an optional workshop. No need to waste time on that!! I've specially suffered from it because of my inability to have any talent in music or drawing. I had to do such a big effort I hated it!

          It's good for the ones who like it, and having Music & Art at school can help develop the students' skills in these areas. But it should be optional. At least, that's how I see it, from my experience.

          About P.E., I had no idea that it was important for brain development. While I am in favour of having a healthy life-style and stay fit, it's a bit tough to see how some people struggle with jogging or other activities (given that they're overweight) and sometimes they're even teased for it. And I don't believe it builds self-confidence, friendship or sth like that. It's actually the other way around for some lads. In my case, I've never felt more of a "friend" with everyone through sports.

          But I don't know, I may be a bit biased against these school subjects. I'm not saying they shouldn't exist, but why do they need to be compulsory?
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        Jan 9 2013: Mark Twain said "What work I have done I have done because it has been play. If it had been work I shouldn't have done it." That's how it works. My son loves computer games. He selected to take a computer game design class in his high school (it IS optional). He got an F in his progress report, because he has not completed assignments.

        It's a good question for a different conversation whether we should always do what we like and good at or challenge ourselves once in a while. Perhaps, we need to do both to be successful. I have read in some motivational book about mentality of wealthy people that many of them like to take risks and do something "out of their comfort zone". Yet another spiritual challenge. Government cannot help here.
        • Jan 10 2013: Absolutely. These kind of activities we are talking about "free" the soul, help us find ourselves and what we are...

          But the thing is, if you do not find success in reaching this goal when doing these activities, then what's the point of doing it? Maybe I could challenge myself to be an artist and express my feelings with the brush... I may get a certain pride if I manage to do it, but I'm certain I wouldn't have enjoyed it. And it wouldn't be important for my future, right? When will I need to draw and paint anything in my life if I'm not going to be an artist? Pictionary?

          While as you said, having technology classes is VERY important for a person's future career... nowadays you need a basic knowledge of computer systems to get a job. So even if you were silly in that area, you'd know that if you push yourself to learn it you'll have a reward for the future. Doesn't happen with music, or art.

          Anyway, we are all entitled to our opinions. In fact, I'm astonished no other person has attacked me for my comments on this topic LOL The majority supports having more creative-like schools
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        Jan 10 2013: I agree with you. It seems true that we need to challenge ourselves to go beyond our "comfort zone", but it also seems useless to venture somewhere completely outside it. "It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward." -- Chinese proverb.

        For some odd reason, nearly every problem involves a circular reasoning - economy, consciousness, abortion, religion vs. science, cosmology, freedom and risk vs. security, social policies, education, sex and violence in media vs. sex and violence in society, chicks and eggs, yin and yang - you name it. Did you notice?

        Sorry, I'm getting up high into philosophical clouds :-).
        • Jan 11 2013: You are too funny Arkady :) Fly, fly away in the philosophical clouds!!

          Indeed, everything comes to circular reasoning at some point. At least that makes it fun, right? We're all entitled to our own opinions, and nobody can *really* prove us wrong, because while our logic may be flawed, it is still an argument "by itself". (I don't know if you get what I mean. When I philosophate, I hardly make any sense xD)

          In the matter we're discussing, there are two points of view, and we can never really prove them. Especially because it depends on the person's own perspective, and the way he/she has experienced it.

          All I can say is, "Well argued!" and let us go back to the main debate. After all, we pretty much agree Education is key, and that's the important thing.

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