This conversation is closed.

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.

  • Jan 15 2013: I think you may be asking the wrong question. Poverty is the normal condition of human beings. The real question is this: "What can government do to increase prosperity?" Socialism (including communism) is a proven failure at wealth creation. The only places where socialism is considered "successful" is where it exists as a parasite on a capitalist base. Without a solid, free market, capitalistic base to provide revenue to the government, socialist states are unable to remain financially viable.


    The other issue you need to consider is how the rich coop socialism for their own gain. The high taxes, tough regulation and government substitutes are often tools to keep the poor and middle class down. The rich don't pay income tax -- they have no "income". Their already have wealth. Instead, the high "progressive" taxes rob the small business owners and upcoming professionals of capital to compete with established wealth. Regulations can be use to prevent competitors from entering markets. Finally, government subsidies mostly go to well connected. If socialism was truely the means to end poverty and power of the oligarchy, then Argentina should have succeeded decades ago.
    • Jan 17 2013: that is a myth. first off which form of socialism or capitalism are you talking about. I assume you are using WW2 and the cold war as example of why democratic capitalism is the superior form of government.

      in point of fact that argument ignores about 90% of the reasons America and Anglo societies became predominant in the 20th century.

      non-democratic forms of government have been assumed to be less effective than capitalism. If one takes Germany circa 1933 as an example, within 8 years with a nationalized government and at a serious population, resource, and production disadvantage Germany came within an inch of beating the US and the British Empire. If Japan had not jumped the gun the likelihood that we would have in fact defeated Germany is questionable. Same with the soviets. They started at a massive cultural and technological disadvantage which we knew and exploited to destroy their economy. Besides Soviet communism was about as much communism as Mitt Romney is a true free-market capitalist.

      most of the wealth creation in the 20th century derived from technological advances by the militaries of a few countries all of which were substantially nationalized in military/industrial production and R&D at the time of the advances, so that whole nationalism/socialism/communism does not work is pure malarky. A rational examination of history actually shows that it works quite well to provide the foundation of a capitalist economy. without nationalized R&D there would be much less "wealth creation".
      • Jan 19 2013: How many times must an experiment fail before you admit defeat? Communism, Socialism and good old Big Government programs do not work. Why? They all assume that everyone wants to work together for the greater good. And yes, people will say that is what they want. The problem is that is not what people do. They act in their own self-interest.
        If everyone is equally rewarded, then everyone will do the bare minimum. That is what happened in the United State back when the Pilgrims arrived. All the land was held in common and each family was to be given according to their need. They all nearly starved to death. They realized their mistake, divided up the land to each family, and went on to create the biggest economy on Earth.
        This same story has been repeated countless times with more disastrous results. The Soviet Union’s “Harvest of Sorrow” killed tens of millions. Communist China’s “Great Leap Forward” resulted in death of at least 50 million people. Many other counties has tried and failed. So what does the defenders of the grand socialist model say? They did try hard enough! What a load of nonsense.
        Capitalism, with all its faults, works because it assumes people will act in their own self-interest. Free trade and market economies mean that it is a win-win solution for everyone. Ok, some will not do as well as others, but everyone – especially the poor -- is better off.
        • Jan 19 2013: A government which robs Peter to pay Paul, can always count on the support of Paul -- George Bernard Shaw
    • Jan 23 2013: What makes you say that poverty is a normal condition of human beings? It's been a common characteristic ever since the emergence of civilizations, that is correct, but so used to be slavery, which was abolished in recent history. I have in faith in mankind. Although we may be self-interested, I do believe we all feel compassion for suffering people. This is not the case, for instance, when people are not treated justly. I've heard many people complaining that they're "tired of supporting lazy people with the taxes I pay (the poor who receive the Govt. subsidies, the majority of whom do not even seek for a job given this monetary help)". This could be different if every person could be treated equally. Nobody (except maybe the capitalist oligarchy) would mind helping the needy if they did all the things they do (work, pay taxes, etc.).

      Just because there is no clear solution to poverty at the moment, it doesn't mean we have to accept the Status Quo. Even though socialism and communism have indeed failed, as you say, capitalism is obviously not the way to go in the future. We have to find something better, I'm sure we can.
  • thumb
    Jan 18 2013: In every country there is poverty. Governments can not cure poverty. If they could, it would have been done long ago. They can cause poverty, they can maintain people in a level of poverty as to provide political support as you have noted.
    People are impoverished because they do not know to create wealth or they are prevented by outside forces. Capitalism is the easiest way for an individual to create wealth. He does this by taking his stuff transforming it to something that others want and exchanging it for what he needs. He gains wealth through his efforts. It's really simple. The problem is that most people in poverty have lost the desire to escape, they live in despair and I know of no answer to that problem.
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: In the current economic model shared by the vast majority of the globe, the human quotient, people, have relatively no value. Why?…In capitalism that which is rare has value, and people are not rare. In a "tribe" there is no poverty,everyone has a job to do and everyone works for the group, which translates to everyones needs being met; in a city however, you have ten people and five apples..…Absolute Poverty is not based on dollar amounts, it's based on allocation of resources. This planet is capable of providing the basic needs of every human on it and more, so NOT making available those resources to everyone is a choice made by those who "own" those resources. The people in poverty live outside a system which considers them to be common, valueless, yet, are taught to believe that same system will provide for them if they work hard enough, are lucky enough, or smart enough...

    So the in addition to education, population reduction needs to be established and redistribution of population, as concentrating populations in smaller and smaller areas is also a major factor in creating poverty and conditions which make said populations vulnerable to fluctuations in resource allocation models that are often outside our control....Ofcourse the first question from the established power structure is, "Who is going to pay for it?". The answer is everyone. Do we "need" a new stadium?…Do we "need" a tax cut?…Do we "need" a bigger military?…Do we "need" an individual with a billion dollars in their bank account?…It shouldn't be our governments we look to change first, it is our own individual perspective of ourselves and our place and purpose, here and now that must change first.

    And though contemporary definitions point to economic parameters and "prejudices" to describe them, the First, Second, and Third Worlds actually refer respectively to NATO Allied, Soviet Allied and Neutral countries during the cold war era… Them vs Us...Perhaps our language should change first.
  • Jan 14 2013: Governments, all of them, are evil.

    The idea of Government is fine. The application is terrible.
    Governments are "property" driven. They control areas.

    United States citizens cannot and do not control their Government.
    It has morphed into a 2 party system. Both parties taking turns
    having a majority that govern.

    Elections are bought and paid for, using monies reaped by solicitation
    of party members, major corporations, and unions.
    Political Advertisements are churned out by a corrupt media.
    Until citizens become convinced only 2 candidates are viable.

    There is no way any other candidate for high office can get
    a message to the citizens who vote. Except of course with
    a soap-box in the park.

    Democracy is chanted world-wide by media. Government just
    keeps making WARS and Weapons. Peace is a word seldom spoken.
    Freedom is a word never spoken. Erosion of citizen rights in this century
    foretell of a broken society.

    Hunger and starving peoples in far away lands are ignored.
    A fleeting glimpse in a news article, then forgotten.
    Promised Foreign Aid has too many strings attached.
    Monies and foodstuffs seldom get to where they are needed.

    All Governments are evil.
    • Jan 16 2013: Frank, although I agree that every Government has its own share of corruption (Sometimes in a really high level), I don't agree with what you say about Democracy.

      Fundamentally, I believe Democracy is the best form of Government we can hope for. Why? Because each individual is equal in relation to politics. Everyone can vote and choose a person to represent them, and anyone (theoretically) can aspire to lead the country. Of course it has its faults (Corruption, Unrepresented minorities, etc.) but for now, it's the best humanity could come up with. You say "citizens cannot and do not control their Government", but how do you think they could control it?

      I have to admit some democracies around the world are missing transparency, but still, we can't get any better than that. It's really difficult to make everyone feel represented in a democracy,

      I know it's not perfect, but we'll have to live with it, at least for now.
      • Jan 17 2013: Matias Haro,

        I do not know the answer as to how citizens can control their Government.

        But, I do know that each political party (Democrat and Republican) pay enormous sums
        to media before, during, and after political campaigns.

        Like snuffing out a candle, voters are blinded, and never give it a second thought.

        24/7/365 Voters are entertained by media, in a grand design. Up to and including election day.
        all expenses are paid by contributors to one or the other of the two parties. Solicited funds,
        from registered voters, major Corporations, and Unions, pay for the Media Circus.

        Choices for voters are simplified. A choice of Incumbent, or a Republican, or Democrat replacement.

        Occasionally an Independent is elected, but usually if researched, he or she has ties to
        one of the two parties.

        Mid Term replacements are appointed by each State's Republican or Democrat Governor until elections can be held.

        The "Media Circus" continues from election day to election day. Non-stop for two and four
        year periods.

        No one who is not a member to either party, has any 'standing' with voters,
        nor any road-map to find supportive voters. Media control is absolute.

        It all boils down to a soap-box in the park...
        The media excludes mavericks, they point fingers at them and make fun of them.
        England uses the same tactics, and has for years. It works.

        In almost exactly 100 years the United States has gone from prosperity to bankruptcy.

        I hope you have understood my point.
        I do not know the answer.
        I know only that we need one.

        I could go on, but I have had my full of disgust.
  • Jan 9 2013: I believe that it is in fact possible to have very little poverty in a Capitalistic economy. And the way I see it happening is by changing everyones individual perspective on their own capabilities of obtaining money. Not by a President or leader altering various taxes and government spending policies. But by altering the psychologies of individuals to be more equipped and structured to not fall gullible to the only solution of being solely dependent on Government aid. But by no means am I saying that we should cut those policies, because they do provide a service of helping people who unexpectedly fall victim to inconvenient circumstances such as being fired or laid off of work.

    Along with a few others who have posted, the only way I see this happening is by altering our current educational systems. By educating our generations, present, and future ones to be individuals to follow their dreams and have self worth and not allowing them to limit themselves on obtaining those dreams solely on their financial standings and the thought of a linear path to money, I feel we will see a shift of people's perspectives on what poverty really is in a radical way.

    I find this saying to be true, "Your best weapon is an educated mind."

    If we could have a mass collection of individuals whom are more educated enough to know their self worth and instill enough courage in them to pursue that self worth while giving them enough psychological armor to not be brought down by the opinions of others, we could easily eliminate poverty.

    But education does not come only from a "school", we receive some form of education everyday. And when we're in our early adolescent stages we don't think to question the education that we receive and everything we perceive in these stages forms our beliefs later on. So being raised in a heathy psychological environment that instills the beliefs of not putting yourself above others while maintaining a balance of individualism and community is vital.
  • Jan 29 2013: I would suggest you read a book titled, Poor Economics by Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflos. To get an idea of what is being done in the world to help reduce poverty.

    This is a complex question with multiple compounding causes. There is no simple solution here and what works for one country may still fail in another country.
    • Jan 30 2013: I should check that one out!

      Adding it to my list of Must-Read books! :)
      • Jan 31 2013: Nice, its a good read, from that book I learned what is currently being done to combat poverty, and that many of the old believes and practices employed to tackle is this issue is actually ineffectual. The authors go to lengths to demonstrate why and how the current approaches fail.
  • Jan 29 2013: Capitalism -- Bah. Humbug.

    I find it incredible that people want to believe in a system of commerce
    that is so bad that it actually causes poverty instead of ending it. .

    I'm not writing about Mom and Pop businesses in small communities. They work.

    I am writing about Corporations grown world-wide and completely uncontrolled.
    I am writing about Corporations with Limited Liability Protection from the Laws.
    They operate above the laws that regulate every business owner & private citizen.

    Poverty cannot be erased unless Governments can eliminate Limited Liability Laws.

    That is the problem.
  • Jan 26 2013: Poverty is a worldwide fear for most people in the world.

    Few men or women wake in the morning with a desire to rush to work
    because they want to continue their achievements of yesterday.

    I know, I've been in both situations.

    I learned to control both situations and decided that continual achievement
    far surpassed fear or rolling over and going back to sleep.

    As a daily test, I would leave the house with $20 in my pocket on Monday
    and vow to have $1000 on Friday. My average was over $800 for the 5 days.
    this was my net. After all expenses.

    Separate from the test; I've had 21 businesses. "OPM" (Other People's Money)
    worked best to get started.

    There was a recession in the 1970's, I only vaguely knew about it. It was
    when the women started taking Jobs, and the Freeways became busy at 5am.
    I recall Tacos, at the 'you know where', were 20 cents each, and on Thursdays
    10 for a Dollar. Harsh times that motivated both parents to find employment.
    I love those Tacos.

    During that recession I founded a company and had 34 women employees with
    only 4 men. In 20 months I sold and retired when 39 years old . I've had at least
    6 businesses since, maybe more. Too many stories, so little time.

    Poverty is a state of mind. It is real. But, an individual can put himself or herself
    into another state of mind that is not Poverty Stricken.

    Because your situation befuddles you, is not an excuse. Look at what tools you have
    and change your situation into something better. It doesn't take 24 hours.
    It does require Courage, and Faith in yourself.

    I will give you these 2 explanations: Use them. Use them with Honor and do well.
    1. Courage: Means to be afraid to do something, but, to go ahead and do it.
    2. Faith: Means a belief in myself that cannot be changed by contrary evidence.

    I wanted to hit the "Submit" button but need tell you one more thing.
    3. Get your butt out of bed at 4:30am.

    nuff said.
    • thumb
      Jan 28 2013: What is are current understanding of what work is as far as physics goes?

      W=fd
      • Jan 28 2013: Casey,
        At age 10, My paper-route required me to be up at 5am, 7 days a week.
        2 hrs to deliver papers. School days, returned home and slept until school started.

        At age 11, A shoe-shine job inside a barber-shop after school and all day on weekends.

        At age 12, A job moving boulders and brush from the end of a runway at the local airfield.
        I drove a 1939 Willys car with a trailer-cart behind to carry the boulders and brush to the edge
        of an arroyo, where I dump them. Only a summer job.

        At age 13, after school, I worked at a ceramic dish manufacturing company packaging and shipping orders. The job ended one evening when the two-wheeled dolly with 7 crates of
        ceramic dishes aboard, hit a piece of ceramic while going down a ramp. The dolly stopped,
        and as I watched in horror, every crate flew through the air to crash and destroy the dishes,
        My employment was terminated. My pay was docked for the losses.

        That was not the worst part of my day.
        I had an appointment in a park that evening. 2 school boys, who later became my chums, had promised to kick my butt and I was forced by youthful honor to meet and fight them both. The smaller of the 2 was my height but outweighed me by 30 pounds. The larger boy was huge.

        You can imagine my terror as I walked those 8 city blocks, alone, to the park.

        I picked my first opponent, the huge taller boy, named Daryle 'Allred'.
        Grabbing his right arm, I jumped into the air and hit him several times until he quit.
        The other boy left quickly by himself.
        2 friends who had come to cheer, or collect my body, were cheering.
        Thereafter we all called Daryle, Daryle 'All Red' Black and Blue.
        Not such a bad day after-all...
        ===
        Work is hard, sweaty, and little appreciated in most cases.
        We work to "get ahead".
        Unless we do, we are nothing.

        Sorry, I got off our topic.
        • thumb
          Feb 1 2013: If zero distance traveled no work would exist, but we can't reach zero. Check out my ted conversation. Us simply measuring zero=nothing=no thing would be us observing it; Heisenberg principle. As far as our current physic say everything is work and will always be work. But that doesn't mean we should have slavery of any kind. And yes you are a slave to your wage and debt. You’re a slave to the money you make and the debt it creates. But this is fine because we wouldn’t have gotten as much accomplished as we have if it wasn’t for our current system. This is a hard reality to admit but in a way we needed slavery. Not any more

          http://www.ted.com/conversations/13925/is_our_math_wrong_is_it_our_a.html

          Basically I believe I have come up with the flip to capitalism, even in a not pure capitalistic society that we live in today. Currently it’s more of a socialist-capitalist system where the government gives handouts to company's who for some reason people (flesh n blood) people think the company is a person. However I think this has something to do with how Lincoln freed the property the best way he could.

          Capitalism creates poverty because someone has to make less so others can make more.

          Inspired by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and their kids donating their kid’s inheritance to charity I will make less so others can make more. I will not worry about trying to personally make a billion dollars to try and be number one, or king of the money pile. Instead I will automate my employee’s jobs while still paying them their salary. I think I might be able to get other people to join my cause. What do you think
  • Jan 17 2013: I concur with Greg Fox. THAT is the true question. The first thing is to create opportunities for unskilled labor, so anybody can work. Once the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing are met and the standard of living starts to rise, the people will then get interested in higher education and continue to the path of better prosperity.
  • Jan 13 2013: Poverty is a moving target. It's relative, not absolute. If someone is starving, their caloric need can be calculated and adjusted. Poverty, however, exists only in relationship to wealth. Many who live in poverty today still live richer lives than royalty of a few hundred years ago. Consequently, poverty is also more of a zero sum game than hunger. No one is hungry simply because someone else is eating. But, someone is poor if someone else is rich. Eradicating poverty assumes equally distributed ambition to escape poverty. Lacking this, you wind up with economic parasites who feed off the body politic. I think eliminating poverty is unrealistic for these and other reasons. I believe that focusing on equality of opportunity is much more likely to enhance our general well being. Poverty is not the real problem. The lack of opportunities to escape it is.
    • Jan 15 2013: David,

      Poverty is the real problem.
      The lack of opportunities to escape it is the responsibility of Government.
      And it follows that All Governments are Evil.

      When the US Congress develop a plan of Commerce they included Corporations.
      And as a Carrot on a Stick to keep Corporations within the borders, Congress
      added Limited Liability Laws.

      The effect was a "Get out of Jail Card" for Corporate Boards and Executives.
      The Corruption was complete.

      Other nations, DAILY offer US Corporations the same and better deals
      to move their successful businesses to those other nations shores.
      And it follows that All Governments are Evil.
  • Jan 11 2013: I would also encourage you to look at highlights from the upcoming book on Urban Poverty in the Global South by Diana Mitlin and David Satterthwaite - They point out the issues around simply defining poverty and the impact these definitions can have on solutions. http://urb.im/blog/upgs
  • Jan 11 2013: There are some very interesting conversations related to this topic on Striking Poverty http://strikingpoverty.worldbank.org In particular, the current conversation is looking at Slums and Service Delivery to the Urban Poor. Much of the discussion so far has explored innovative private-public partnerships and the role of government in conjunction/consultation with NGOs and community groups. I would encourage you to also pose your question in this discussion.

    Related, an earlier discussion on transparency/accountability in large mineral and oil contracts focused on role of governments. One of the panelists (from Revenue Watch Institute) shared training and tools for governments on how to share contracts with their citizens and promote community oversight. Take a look here if you are interested: https://strikingpoverty.worldbank.org/c121031

    URB.im http://urb.im has some conversations that touch on this topic as well. The conversation on addressing electricity needs of the urban poor brings up the role of government in various ways: enforcing compliance with environmental laws in Nairobi (http://urb.im/#quicktabs-qt130107=5) and in Mexico - examining the complex regulatory barriers the government puts up that may contribute to energy "retailers" going outside the legal routes http://urb.im/#quicktabs-qt130107=2 and in Rio they are looking at incentives to encourage people to "become legal". URB.im looks at urban poverty alleviation strategies and many of the ideas shared by the different city hubs showcase various roles for government in addressing poverty.
    • Jan 12 2013: Thank you Jill for pointing out these sites!

      It makes me happy to see how people are concerned about these issues.

      It's great the Urb.im team is focusing on finding ways to make energy available to all the citizens: Unavailability of electricity is a consequence of poverty which is not easy to get over, especially considering that alternative forms of energy need to be found urgently.

      I had no idea about that book coming out. It sounds unbelievably interesting, from what I read on the website. Do you know if it is going to have a worldwide release, or is it just coming out this January 25th in USA?

      By the way, given that we were talking about books, I was wondering if anyone here has read "The End of Poverty" by Jeffrey Sachs (http://www.amazon.com/End-Poverty-Economic-Possibilities-Time/dp/0143036580) and could tell us whether his ideas are worth reading the book.
  • Jan 9 2013: Many of you have said that education is the key in the long run to solving poverty and I agree. I am not an educator but know that early intervention at a very early age is most important. In developed countries this usually means smaller class sizes and extra help for young students. In less developed countries creative solutions are required since education infrastructure is probably lacking - for example I recently read that in a remote region in Kenya with no teacher available, the young kids were given inexpensive tablet computers with good learning software, and proceded in small collaborative unsupervised groups to teach themselves language skills.
    To education I would add some sort of values and "life skills" education to counteract some of the poor family environments younger kids might come from. I am not sure how to do this best but non government charitable organizations might come into play.
    Governments can help with all of this by setting up good education programs. As far as capitalism goes the most benefit probably comes from tycoons who have already made their billions and set up foundations to do good - such as Bill Gates.
    • Jan 15 2013: Government is great at 8 things only. Secrecy, Propaganda, Begging Money for Political Gain, Borrowing Money to Make WAR, Borrowing Money to Pay Welfare Benefits, Borrowing Money to pay Interest on Borrowed Money, and Collecting Taxes.

      Government is worst at these 7 things, and many others. Open Government, Honesty, Integrity, Constitutional Checks and Balances, Campaign Promises, Staying within a Budget, and the
      Regulation of Commerce.
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2013: Re: "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."

    Great point. It often seems to me that it is an illusion to think that government can "fix" economy. Poverty is of the spirit. First and foremost, it's inside our heads. Take indigenous people in the Amazon forests. Do they live in poverty? WE would think so. But do THEY think so? Compare the definitions of "rich" and "poor" in U.S. and in an Amazon Indian tribe.

    Perhaps, a better question is "how to end human suffering?"
    • Jan 9 2013: Interesting point. But the thing is, these indigenous people are not part of society, they don't belong to Capitalism. They can satisfy their basic needs, can't they? Maybe they don't have proper health care, but they have enough to survive.

      While the Poor of our societies do not even have the chance to satisfy their basic needs. And that's sad. They don't need BMWs, Porsches, or a house in Beverly Hills... they need to be able to live in good condition, that's all.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: The definition of "basic needs" varies from society to society. It also changes over time in the same society, even in the same family. Who considered a cell phone or Internet service to be a "basic need" 20 years ago?

        Doesn't it baffle you that indigenous people in Amazon jungle, as you say, can satisfy their basic needs and have enough to survive, and people in modern societies don't?
        • Jan 9 2013: But I'm not considering cell phone or Internet service to be a basic need. I feel like that's a "secondary need" (It's important to be computer literate these days to get a job), but some organisations are regarding it as a basic need, as you say.

          It does baffle me that some people in our societies don't have enough to survive. I'm obviously not talking about the WHOLE of society (quality of life has improved, on average) but a small sector of society that still can't live on good condition. And economic growth has a limit. It would be wrong to say, since the economy is expanding and GDP per Capita is going up in the long run, that eventually we're going to be better off! That might be possible, but in expense of other being worse! And I'm not just talking about a First World country... do you really think that some African or Latin American countries can just eradicate poverty when their economies are just based on exporting natural resources?
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: Again, I see economic growth as a spiritual issue. There is such thing as "spirit of the nation" - the idea that unites the people. E.g., freedom, democracy, and individual rights is such an idea in the U.S. It makes people enthusiastic and proud of their country. I grew up in Soviet Ukraine. Soviet propaganda created enthusiasm around the idea of communism. Media maintained a positive image of the country. Negative domestic news were downplayed or suppressed. Achievements were announced on every corner. This artificially inflated enthusiasm and stimulated the economy. Soviet Union "broke Hitler's back bone", developed nuclear technology, launched Sputnik, and the first man into orbit. People had access to free college education, free medical care, etc.

        Ukraine has resources for a first-class European economy. It's as big as France and almost twice larger than Germany. Best soils in Europe. Huge resources of coal, iron, oil. Access to Black sea - huge asset for trade, navy, and tourism. Strategic location for gas and oil pipe lines from Russia to Europe. Soviet Ukraine produced steel, automobiles, buses, tractors, trucks, tanks, airplanes, TV sets, etc.

        Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, people took pride of "independence". But the spiritual slavery remained. Politically, Ukraine never acted as an independent country. All post-soviet history, the government fractions were fighting over whether Ukraine should suck up to Russia or to the West. I do not understand why. Why being a truly independent European country was never an option? There is no national pride as far as I know from talking to my friends and relatives. Corrupt politicians are selling immense natural resources for personal profit. It's the same inferiority complex that prevents individuals from success. It works the same way at the national level. It's a spiritual issue, in my opinion.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: Now, consider the U.S. economy. Financial crisis seems to be over. Interest rates are historically low. People are there. Resources are there. Corporations have slimmed down and accumulated a lot of cash. Why is there unemployment? Because companies don't hire people. They fear economic instability, fiscal cliff, changes in tax policies, European crisis. Negative news are all over the media. But why economic news are negative? Because people don't have money to spend. Corporations do not pay, some companies have not raised salaries for years and laid off a lot of people. Isn't that a "catch 22" problem.

        It may be possible to jump-start the economy "Soviet style" - by suppressing negative news in the media and creating a perception of bright economic prospects. Government censorship or publishing deliberate lies don't seem to be a good idea, but, perhaps, the media could simply shift focus from problems and disasters to progress, achievements, and opportunities. Changing the public mindset is all that it would take. Economic demand is still there - people still need places to live, food to eat, and cars to get from place to place. There is no need to mint trillion-dollar coins or waste public money on subsidies. Just let go of "needless worry and undue anxiety" (that's what they routinely pray for in Catholic churches). Again, it's a spiritual issue.
        • Jan 10 2013: What you're saying reminded me of sth I read in an Economics textbook:

          "In December 1975 the Government of Portugal — a provisional government in the process of establishing a democracy—feared that it was facing an economic crisis. Business owners, alarmed by the rise of leftist political parties. issued dire warnings about plunging production. Newspapers speculated that the economy had shrunk 10-15% since the 1974 revolution that had overthrown the country's longstanding dictatorship. In the face of these reports of economic collapse, some Portuguese were pronouncing democracy itself a failure. Others declared that capitalism was the culprit, demanding that the government seize control of the nation's factories and force them to produce more. But how bad was the situation, really? To answer this question, Portugal's top monetary official invited his old friend Richard Eckaus, an economist at the Massachusetts lnstitute of Technology, and two other MIT economists to look at the country's national accounts, the set of data collected on the country's economic activity. The visiting experts had to engage in a lot of educated guesswork: Portugal’s economic data collection had always been somewhat incomplete, and it had been further disrupted by political upheavals. For example, the country's statisticians normally tracked construction with data on the sales of structural steel and concrete. But in the somewhat chaotic situation of 1975, these indicators were moving in opposite directions because many builders were ignoring the construction regulations and using very little steel. Still, they went to work with the available data, & within a week they were able to make a rough estimate: aggregate output had declined only 3% from 1974 to 1975. The economy had indeed suffered a serious setback, but its decline was much less drastic than the calamity being portrayed in the newspapers. (While later revisions pushed the decline up to 4.5%, that was still much less than feared
        • Jan 10 2013: That is from a Macroeconomics textbook by Paul Krugman. So yes, you do have a point that media and public perception of the economy affects the overall result of the economy. But even if this information was not expressed the same way, I guess the economy would still be slave to these "I'm going to stop consuming/investing because worse times are coming", since its in the human nature to "save for the rainy day" even if the cause underlying this was not clear.
      • thumb
        Jan 10 2013: Re: "its in the human nature to "save for the rainy day" even if the cause underlying this was not clear."

        If that were the case, the governments wouldn't be dealing with trillion-dollar debts and the social security programs would be unnecessary.

        Re: "I'm going to stop consuming/investing because worse times are coming."

        Sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy. What does seem to be in the nature of social species is to pick up each others emotions spreading them exponentially. Perhaps, it serves for survival when one frightened animal causes the whole herd to flee. It's easy to explain how this behavior evolved: it's better to flee when there is no predator around than not to flee when there is one. It also seems to be the basis of empathy.

        But on the other hand, this behavior often does a disservice causing panic, for example, or economic downturns as we are discussing.

        If you read Matthew 6, it seems to offer a solid advice for economic prosperity and a recipe for happiness at the same time: 1) give to the needy - from your heart, not to appear righteous, not for tax returns or public approval; 2) never ask for more than "daily bread" (basic necessities for today); 3) forgive debts; 4) resist temptation (for this we need a solid understanding of what constitutes "our daily bread" as we discussed above); 5) limit consumption (fasting) - not to appear righteous, but for your own sake - to develop will power to resist temptation and make it easier to help those truly in need; 5) invest in people, not things; 6) do not worry for tomorrow - let go of fears. That's my secular interpretation. Don't you agree?

        I hope, I don't sound too moralistic...
        • Jan 11 2013: Let's see. I didn't say that "saving for the rainy day" meant that we'd survive these "rainy days". Sometimes it cannot be predicted. Other times it is not enough to avoid "catastrophe".
          Social security programs actually serve for this purpose. You are ensuring that in the future you'll have enough to get by, by putting money in today.

          Interesting case about Governments. In my opinion, these actually work the other way around, since they serve short-term purposes for the politicians (not losing political votes and to come through their term of office), so getting in debt even when things are going relatively well is not a bad thing to do.

          I think you are right maybe it's not that people are just "prudent" but that they rather behave "irrationally", as you said, just like a herd would do when one of them reacts at something.

          I didn't know about what Matthew 6 said (I've never read the Bible to be honest). While it does seem like a good "moral path" to follow, I guess it's impossible for everyone to follow it. Heck, I don't think ANYONE follows number 2 and number 4... not in our capitalist society.

          That's just my humble opinion on this matter. Feel free to give me your own opinions :)
  • Jan 5 2013: it's a brilliant question and i think you hit one of the problems. giving money directly to the poor only makes them dependent as you've noted, and really it's just a lazy way to govern. what you do notice throughout the world, and particularly in comparisons of regions within countries (such as india, which is a good one) is that poverty naturally declines in proportion to education. this means that governments should indeed spend the money, but on providing free education rather than directly to families. this will in turn ensure they have better skills to bring to the workplace. the system needs to be carefully watched though, to ensure schools remain neutral which allows students to get ahead on merit alone, rather than by buying a house near a better school happens in the USA and the UK, giving an unfair advantage to the rich.

    next then is protecting employment. here in japan employment is actually mandated by law - is your company makes X amount of money then you must employ Y number of people - and this is the reason that japan is the world's 4th biggest economy despite having close to 0 natural resources. capitalists might be quick to scoff that it's throwing away money if you have to hire 3 people when 2 will do, but this is an overly simplistic view because the same law also ensures that every business has more customers than it otherwise would. that extra person the law forces every company to employ is making a wage which they spend back into the economy. the rich don't create jobs, customers do!
    • Jan 7 2013: Spot on. Education needs to be accesible to everyone! Though what you mentioned about merit is another debate. I mean, what do you do with those students who are not interested in studying? Here, for example, if the educational system wouldn't be so flexible, then many kids would've dropped out of school because of continuous bad grades and inabilty to pass the school year. But on the other hand, since we are too flexible, most children don't receive the best education and can get away with finishing school without having learnt much.

      You mentioned an interesting fact about Japan. I didn't know that! That would be a good model to follow in the rest of the world. Finding a balance between Employment and Education is key for a stable economy. Even if we had the whole of society educated, if companies are not established in the country AND seeking employees, then improving education would be worth nothing.

      But at the same time, it's impossible to have "0" unemployment, right? I've heard that having full employment would produce inflation, and the upper classes wouldn't like that. That's why there is maybe no solution under this system... I don't know, it leaves a lot to think about.
      • Jan 7 2013: sorry i didn't mean such a narrow definition of merit. i don't mean that we should all study the same things, i mean that a child who is very good at math (for example) should be able to go to one of the top math schools, and not miss out on having his potential realised because rich parents already bought in to all the places. grades and only grades, not where you live or what school you previously went to or whether you can afford the fees, should apply. actually that's one of the problems with education here in japan, universities have reserved places for students from select high schools, so it doesn't matter how terrible your final scores are, as long as you went to that school you can get into that university.

        0 unemployemnt is not attainable really, since it takes time for employees to find the right job and employers to find the right employee. if everyone had a job, and you wanted to expand your business, there'd be nobody to hire! what we do have to be careful of those is long-term unemployment. if people are not becoming employed even after trying for over 6 months, then it could be one of 2 problems, either the job-seeker is being too picky - the dream job they want just doesn't exist - or employers are being too picky - they want a brilliant employee but won't offer the salary that such a person would deserve.
        • Jan 7 2013: I see what you mean. I certainly didn't know either about how in Japan students can reserve places at university just because of the school they go to! That is outrageous! I don't think that happens anywhere else (at least not in my country) but private universities are a challenge for those from lower-income families. Here in Argentina, luckily, we have quality public universities. But places like Chile, where you can't access higher education if you don't have the means, is just unacceptable. Same for USA: the fact that parents have to begin saving money for their kids almost since they are born is just crazy for me! Scholarships help to diminish this problem, but it's still not at all fair. Why do your grades need to be splendid to get a scholarship and go to University, while others can have had average grades in high school but they can easily get into it by $$? That should not be happening in the 21st Century!

          Regarding 0 unemployment, you are totally right that it is unattainable for those reasons. Also, people would emigrate to that country on behalf of promising job opportunities. It is quite impossible to achieve full employment!
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: “Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices”
    ― Thomas Paine, Common Sense


    "Ending poverty is a want and thus it is society that will end poverty, government is just in society’s way."
    - Don, TED Forum ;)
    • Jan 4 2013: I see your point, and I agree we have to stand up for our wants. But what would we tell the Government to do? We can't expect it to do magic, right?
      • thumb
        Jan 4 2013: LOL Yep we can’t expect it to do magic, in fact I say the only magic governments seem to know is how to make money disappear.

        Like Thomas Paine was say government should only restrain our vices and in this case that would be a few peoples’ desire to take advantage of those in need.

        Society/majority of people has natural desire to help those in need and the government acting as a middle man is often the cause of poverty. So government needs to stop taking money from society to ineffectively stop poverty and let society keep the money so it can effectively end poverty.
      • thumb
        Jan 4 2013: they could show us a cool disappearing trick
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: For a moment I almost thought you were painting a picture of India. Our political class is failing and falling. Poverty alleviation is the last on their agenda if at all. In my view education is the only long-term solution but I doubt any reforms are likely at least in our lifetimes.
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: I am convinced that governments will never be able to solve the problem of poverty, the people of the earth need to do it on their own initiative and without leadership from government leaders (elected or otherwise).

    Something along these lines is what is needed IMHO:

    http://www.wesolver.org/wiki/Create_a_Global_Economic_System_Based_on_Human_Beings
    • Jan 3 2013: Some countries already have eliminated poverty and without cheating too. Countries like Sweden and Denmark. I do not see why an initiative of the people should be separate from the state. Welfare states are the direct result of popular initiatives carried out through democratic means.
      • thumb
        Jan 3 2013: So the populous voted for the government to pay for their lives? What does that say about the populous? "I vote that you pay for my life, and in return, the value of my productivity will be less than I cost." Something doesn't add up there.
        • Jan 3 2013: "I vote that you pay for my life, and in return, the value of my productivity will be less than I cost."

          Lol, if that were true no business in Sweden or Denmark would be profitable, yet they are among the richest countries in the world... Their people used to be exploited before the 1950s and now they're exploited no longer. Now they get a fair share of their own productivity.

          When you take back what is rightfully yours it's not stealing.
    • Jan 4 2013: Hmm.. this was what I was looking for! Interesting to know other possible ideas.

      But do you think it's possible to change the world like this? It sounds kinda Utopian to be honest. Does any organisation already back up this idea? Is it starting to mix in the political world?

      I think Humanitarian Political Parties should stand up for this. But they don't, from what I know.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: A solution to Corruption would enable the revenue needed to fund solutions for poverty. If all governments take a serious stance against the earnings genererated while in office by the politicians, leaders and their respective famalies they would realize enormous amount of wealth being stolen off government contracts and by offering political favors.

    India, Pakistan, Latin Americas, USA and several countires have the same going on all the time. Each politician should have a set income and all wealth assimilated by them and thier families should be accounted for while they are in office. All income and wealth that cannot be accounted for shoudl be seized and invested in programs to provide support, education, and industires that help the poor. The amount of politicians with millions, fi nto billions stashed away is a blatant indication of corruption in these countires. These are the moneis that are not being spent to develop the country, economy and poverty.

    Even the wealthy individuals and corporations need to contribute to the country and solutions for poverty. Many do today but we need more participation. After all 100 million or 1 billion gets them enough for a generation or two. What about the other excesses and where does it sit locked up?
  • Feb 1 2013: I feel the fundamental problem with global action is that the masses don't care, enough. Put the subject on the table & most people feel empathy for those in poverty... But these issues are always quickly forgotten as we all deal with our own individual lives. I feel most of these talks are as fruitless as the discussions 'people's front of judea' from 'the life of brian'.

    Following, with each countries population mostly concerned about their own welfare & prosperity, their leaders/politicians will always make decisions that are going to get them re-elected. This means very little is spent on things that benefit others or long term goals in general. I really can't see this cycle changing for a very long time. We can't even get our leaders to save our planet from the uncertainty of climate change.

    I think the keys to a comfortable & sustainable future for us all are cheap clean renewable energy & population caps. We need to remember we are animals. Like all other life forms on earth, from simplist single cell to the most complex organism, life has always been about reproduction. We have always fought for space & resources in order to thrive and spread. Are we smart enough as a species, to overcome our instincts? Or will our population keep snowballing until something inevitably goes dramatically wrong?

    As for clean, cheap energy... The answers are coming. It's frustrating we aren't putting more effort into getting the technology sooner. But once we have it, each country living in poverty should have the ability to pick THEMSELVES up.
    I think that scientists globally should suspend some areas of less important research & work on this one goal.
    • Feb 2 2013: Brilliant! You have figured it out. Al;though I would note that prosperity seems to automaticallly lead to birth control,, so energy is enough.You might be interested to learn tha scientists have ALREADY solved the energy problem, but politics and various other complications have so far interfered with carrying it outI'm referring to the secret Cold War development of a nuclear fission aircraft engine, called the Thorium Liquid Fueled Reactor.(LFTR) Perfect for civilian power, as it is failsafe and has a great many more virtues than the common Uranium LWR reactors , like the Fukushima type. LFTRS have no high pressures, steam, water, hydrogen explosions, or solid fuel rods.. In addition, they can safely burn up LWR long lived waste, using it as fuel. Their big drawback , and the real reason they were abandoned 40 years ago is that they do not make usable bomb material. Their inventor, Alvin Weinberg, thought that Uranium LWRs were completely unsuitable for civilian power, whereas Thorium LFTRs were exactly right. Look this up on Youtube, or read "Thorium : Energy Chealper than Coal", by robert Hargraves, if want to know more . Or website "energyfromthorium.com"
  • Jan 24 2013: I dunno I am certain this young lad made many mistakes in his presentation however he did the best he could with what he had to work with at the time and I think ted.com should look him up and see what he has to say today about poverty in the world: I wonder if he ever made it to University ?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbACCGf6q-c
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2013: Nelson Mandela said it best: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ...to educate and lift a person, whether they are rich or poor, creates within that person a desire, a need, to move towards more. Education awakens, in the midst of difficult challenges and circumstances, a person to the opportunity within the very difficulty that immobilised them prior to their increase in knowledge and understanding. And most of all, education brings with it a creation of self respect and dignity that most, if not all, people, once they have tasted it, do not want to lose.

    My opinion, education is the answer...and their are strong cases throughout history and the world that support this.
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2013: I am selfish. I see poverty - extreme poverty - on a daily basis. Unfortunately I decided to become almost immune to the misery that I can witness with the naked eye. Poverty could be eradicated if humans really acted like a real family, but most people are like me. We learn to become blind to misery as long as it doesn't affect us directly.
  • Jan 20 2013: I used to live in a nice house, a home I was proud of.
    Suddenly, cancer, an operation, a business closed, and recovery of health started.
    After 8 years I felt better, but my energy level was almost non-existent.
    Walking 6 blocks to and from the market became too hard.
    I moved to a small apartment in an apartment complex, situated within 2 blocks
    of all my needs, the senior center for lunch, post office, library, bank, and market.

    That is when I learned about people; poverty, welfare, alcohol and drug behavior.

    In my early youth, we had 1 town drunk. He was shunned by all.
    I watched once. He smelled bad and staggered down the street to his destination.

    We had no drugs.
    That came in the 1960's when, parents quit their responsibilities to govern their children.
    I assumed, cows milk had been tainted by radioactive tests fallout, and nationwide,
    parents and teenagers were afflicted. Society moved downhill, so I ignored it.
    My life was full. I couldn't waste my time sitting or laying about drugged to the gills...

    Now elderly, I watch the impoverished. They only work at taking. Taking welfare and charity.

    There is little the government can do. Today they pay liars Welfare, just as if the liars were
    truly needful. The better the lie, the bigger the monthly check.

    Capitalism isn't the answer. Nor is the archaic Justice system.
    But your question might get a usable answer or two...
    We can only hope.
  • Jan 19 2013: What can government do to end poverty? Here are specific remedies. No theory, philosophy or political language. Just straight forward ideas.

    GIVE MONEY DIRECTLY TO INDIVIDUALS WHO MEET THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA
    :

    1. Give every woman who does not have a child at the age of 21 a $15,000.00 dollar check.
    2. Give every woman who does not have a child at the age of 25 a $25,000.00 dollar check.
    3. Give every man & woman who graduates from college a $25,000.00 check.
    4. Give every married couple a $10,000.00 check every year they remain married after 5 years.
    5. Match with a 50% contribution in CASH the amount of savings a person or couple saves each year up to $50,000.00.
    Ex. I save 50K, the government matches it with a 50K contribution.
    6. Give every person or couple a 10k bonus every year they make more money than the minumum poverty level. Those who make more than 100K do not qualify.
    Ex. The poverty level for a single male is 25K. If I make 25K or more (up to 100K), the government gives me a bonus of 10k.
    7. Give every person or couple a 10K bonus for qualifying to purchase their first home.
    ---qualifications are: 30% down, no subsidies.
    8. Give a 50K bonus to everyone who earns more money than the appropriate poverty level WHO WAS MAKING BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL THE YEAR BEFORE.
    9. Give a 5k bonus each year to each convict who is not convicted of a crime after being released from prison (Not Jail) the FIRST TIME.


    IMPLEMENT THE FOLLOWING

    1. Do not lend money for College.
    2. Do not subsidize housing.
    3. Eradicate SS
    4. ANY product that is not made in the US that is imported, except raw materials, apply a 100% import tax, or higher of necessary, thus encouraging companies like wal mart, nike, etc..... to stay in America to produce their goods.
    5. Bring ALL military in foreign countries back to the US.
    6. STOP ALL IMMIGRATION TO THE COUNTRY UNTIL POVERTY LEVELS ARE ERADICATED. THAT MEANS ALL.
    7. PHASE OUT ALL WELFARE PROGRAMS O
    • Jan 19 2013: This will be a good start.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2013: give ... give ... give ... phase out all welfare programs
      • Jan 29 2013: Krisztian, "...phase out all welfare programs"

        Maybe instead; Tighten up the Programs.

        Require annual Verifiable "Means" Tests from all applicants. Check them.
        Have NON-Disabled beneficiaries of welfare limited to 2 years,
        as California did. Impoverished young Mothers with babies, etc., and others..
        A one time only opportunity for 2 years of aid.

        Have Disabled beneficiaries re-examined each 2 years,
        by "Vetted" Medical Doctors who are paid employees of the Government's
        Social Security Disability Insurance Fund.

        No subcontractor Doctors, which TODAY may be a big big problem.
        "Vetting" of Medical Doctors to be accomplished every 5 years.

        Making lazy people look after themselves might improve them all.
    • Jan 19 2013: So, if all I did was have $50k in the bank, I would make $50k a year doing absolutely nothing.

      Epic fail.
      • Jan 19 2013: Getting something for doing absolutely nothing is what we have right now. That is not my proposal.

        If you were able to save 50K in one year, that would demonstrate the following:

        1. You are Working --- making money.....You can't save what you don't earn.
        2. You are Saving. --Putting somehting away for a rainy day, or an investment idea, or retirement. Similar to a 401K where the employer matches a percentage of what you put into the 401K, except you are completely in charge of the account....

        For example, let's say someone makes 35K per year. Assume they can budget and put 10% of that into a savings account. That is 3.5K. The government matches that and now that individual (or couple) has 7K in Savings. Nice reward for working, planning and putting something aside.

        Many people do something similar with their withholding so they receive a check at the end of the year from Uncle Sam.....But that does not equate into an incentive to save.
        • Jan 21 2013: Sounds to me like the only people that can benefit from this are those already making enough money to save. Maybe we should increase the minimum wage to make this feasible? Perhaps we can even have Bernie Madoff manage the investments?

          Privatizing retirement with public funds is a bad idea. In the end, it is much simpler and more reliable to keep social security. There is far too much corruption on wall street to ever entrust it with the well being of our entire nation's elderly in their retirement.

          Naturally, you may invest your OWN funds if you wish.

          on a side note:

          I recommend people take advantage of funds matching from an employer, but not because it is about savings, it is about maximizing earnings per hour. Of course, employers have already figured this out, and most don't like to match funds anymore.
        • Jan 29 2013: If the world's leaders were to put together a forum
          that would allow small groups of people to bring their problems to light,
          and within 24 hours, through a full discussion, between the people and the forum,
          find an acceptable solution, our world could be a better place.

          Most Prophets of God seemed to work that way.
          I suppose their ideas just never caught on.
          ===
          The United Nations approach, while somewhat successful,
          is just too unwieldy a vehicle. When they built the tall tall building,
          they should have known.

          Governments do love large buildings, short hours, and vestments
          of power.
          Politicians who occupy those large buildings despise the little people
          that they consider beneath their exalted stature.

          There in lies the rub....
    • Jan 21 2013: "7. PHASE OUT ALL WELFARE PROGRAMS O"

      One day, the wealthy are going to figure out that the poor outnumber them. Welfare is cheaper than the law enforcement costs that would be necessary without it. Really, the question is, how much do we value stability? Revolution doesn't typically favor those currently in power (and I'm not talking about our elected officials).

      Sometimes, it's a good idea for the wealthy to throw down a few scraps from the table to keep the peace. Without it, they may just learn how hard that dog can bite.

      Consider that for just a moment. Welfare may actually be the most cost effective solution.
      • Jan 29 2013: Brock,

        Remember Rome? The Senate gave the slaves specially colored tunics.
        But when they saw how the slaves outnumbered the citizens, they took the
        tunics back.

        The revolt had it's start. Rome was doomed.
    • Jan 23 2013: Interesting. I like how people are putting forward their own ideas :)

      However, I don't really get how this would work.

      First of all, why are we giving money to the ones who already have it? (points 1, 2, 3 and 4) The majority of women without children are usually well-off. The needy have many children due to the absence of contraceptive methods knowledge (or inability to pay for them). Similarly, why are we giving out money to the ones who go to college? At least in the US, most universities are private institutions, so that would mean giving money as a gift to wealthy people. Moreover, the Government wouldn't have enough to pay everyone such a huge amount of money, unless it increased its taxes, but that would be taking what is being given at the same time.

      Finally, just giving incentive for the poor to earn money won't really work. How can they make 20K out of nothing? Besides, if you were handing out that money as a subsidy, then you can be sure they won't manage to use it efficiently if they didn't receive any education. As we have discussed previously in this debate, most people are financially illiterate and that needs to change.
      • Jan 23 2013: What can governments do to erase poverty?

        Who are the people (generally speaking) who live below the poverty level in the US?
        1. Unwed Mothers
        2. Divorced families
        3. Convicted Criminals
        4. Those born into poverty
        5. Those with no savings to fall back on when unforseen circumstances hit
        6. Those who do not have a collegiate education.


        What can government do to RAISE them above the poverty line.

        Give them financial incentives to meet the minumum levels of financial independence as set by the government''s poverty levels.


        1. Financial incentive to NOT have children out of wedlock
        2. Financial incentive NOT to divorce
        3. Financial incentive to NOT repeat criminal activity
        4. Financial incentive to leave living below poverty level
        5. Financial incentive to save
        6. Financial incentive to go to college

        By financial incentive I mean USD directly given to the individual.

        Instead of giving those money who fail to meet minimum poverty level living requirements (As governments do that all over the world and it does not eradicate poverty, it simply allows those in poverty to continue to exist at current levels), lets give them monetary compensation for achieving the minimum levels..

        There are very very very few examples in world history of communities living without poverty due to government action. Plutarch and Herodotus gave us Lycurgus and the 500 some year rule of his laws in ancient Sparta as an example. Yet many historians argue whether Lycurgus was even a real historical figure.

        Tribal, aboriginal, nomadic communities might be said to not have poverty, but of course they are not based on a "traditional" model like we are assuming.

        So, to the question, Is it possible for Government to eradicate poverty, and if so, how?

        My idea is to simply give those who fall below current poverty levels financial incentive to escape.
        • Jan 24 2013: I agree that they should be given an incentive to progress, since the Poor do not realize their rights as a citizen and that they can do better than they are doing.

          The thing is, if you don't give them the means, they won't progress whatever incentive you give them. Think about it for a minute. You've lived in poverty your whole life, you've never gone to school, you are hungry, you are need to buy clothes because you are cold, you need a decent house... So there comes the Govt. and offers you some money, and tells you "If you make this grow, I'll give you more", what would you do? You've never gone to school, in fact, you don't know where money comes from. Your tummy growls. And you shiver. Do you really think you can find a way to invest your money or improve your position? No, of course, you don't even know how to handle money, and you'll eventually spend it all without getting one more cent.

          That is not a way to help them get out of poverty. You need to educate these people first, you need to help them get a job so they won't have to depend on the Government..

          Lastly, I don't agree that unwed mothers and divorced families are the ones who mostly live below the poverty level. Nowadays, most women don't settle down and have kids until they are 30! So will you give extra money to well-off single women? It would be much simpler to just give money to the ones making below a certain amount a month. Just to ensure nobody gets any money they don't need.
      • Jan 29 2013: I don't think most impoverished understand what is required of them
        after they spend the free monies the government pays out.

        If the impoverished were asked to work at a project, such as farming,
        canning foods, or building homes for themselves and others, they might
        be eager to do so, when the carrot was a paycheck. If not responsive to
        working withing the welfare system, benefits could stop, and attitudes changed.
        The Mormons have a similar program, and it works quite well.

        Getting monthly checks for housing allowances allows other layers of the onion.

        Other layers are called Payees.
        Disability checks can be made out to the Payee/Disabled Beneficiary.
        The Payee, pays for the Disabled Beneficiary, a portion of Rents due,
        and such other debt payments as are authorized.
        The Payee gets paid the authorized Payee Percentage.

        Landlords, can charge and most do, rents far in excess of any Housing
        allowances paid by local government Housing Authorities. Thereby giving
        rise to the lofty title of "Slum-Lord".

        These impoverished peoples are referred to as Section 8's, or 5150's.

        The onion is once more peeled, and the government is a bit lax.
        Capitalism at it's worst.
  • thumb
    Jan 19 2013: in Capitalism, a country’s businesses and industry are controlled and run for profit by private owners rather than by the government. If a country is willing to support poor people through giving them money, the budget deficit will increase. I think all governments should play the role if the investor in order to create more jobs and support poor people. The governments should run and control companies like the individual owners. Neither Capitalism nor Communism are good economic systems.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2013: "in Capitalism, a country’s businesses and industry are controlled and run for profit by private owners rather than by the government." "Neither Capitalism nor Communism are good economic systems" .
      Well, it could be argued that Communism is more political then economic. So I think you are not happy with the capitalistic system.

      I would say that governments are businesses established by investors (taxpayers) to provide services. Put out fires. Direct traffic at the street corner. Arrange for an Army to defend against invaders at the boarder. Jobs that are too time consuming or requiring skills that not everyone has or wants to engage.
      When governments begin to see their investors as employees, bad things happen.
  • Jan 19 2013: Poverty exists because as a collective, we've always believed in possessions. The potential for eradicating poverty lies in the fundamental doctrines that we were taught, that we are born to a family, to a an ethnic group, to a state and a certain set of cultures. That the value of what we have is dependent on others not having them.
  • Jan 17 2013: The single most important thing you can do is to make sure that your government is following
    through on its existing commitments to support
    the Millennium Development Goals. At the
    Monterrey conference on Financing for
    Development, the industrialized country
    governments committed themselves to providing official development assistance equivalent to
    0.7% of their gross national income. To date, only
    five countries have achieved this goal, though six
    others have set out timetables to reach 0.7% by
    2015. Meeting 0.7% is critically important because only
    governments are capable of mobilizing the
    resources needed to achieve the MDGs. The
    Millennium Project has shown that the MDGs can
    be met using resources already promised – from
    0.45% to 0.55% of gross national income. As a concerned citizen, the best thing you can do is to
    help convince your government to meet its
    promises on aid.
  • Jan 15 2013: Mary,

    As we age, move into the world, and lose the close comradeship of family and youthful friends, time changes, and sympathetic feelings for the impoverished become less riveting. We become easily seduced by (the company store), those (clever government) offers of education now, on credit, for payment later. Or, we are
    seduced by (clever armed service recruiters and paid media), offers for risking life and limb now, in government made wars, for a promised education later.

    New experiences replace family values as we timidly strive to find our undereducated place in society.
    No more is the Peace Corp trumpeted by media. There is little shown by our media of so many millions who suffer relentless poverty, each day. Sensationalism replaced normal media gossip years ago. I could almost name the day it reached Los Angeles newspapers. And they say there is no devil. Ha!

    Government doesn't want to spend more money on foreign nation's starvation and poverty.
    If they did do so, they would not have anything left to shunt into their own pockets.
    And they do love to shunt.

    The love to War more, is a government trait, that forgets War is the direct cause of poverty,
    starvation, and death. By the millions of innocent humans, men, women, and wee children.
    Government sees only the carpet-bagger profits to be made from War.

    I have to stop. I've reached my full of disgust.
    • Jan 16 2013: Wow, it's a good thing I came back to the conversation and saw your new comment directed at me.

      Perhaps you can find comfort in the fact that some humans, like yourself, who are very much aware of world conditions, and the corruption, are actively participating in changing lives by helping individuals to see a brighter future and giving them the resources to endure in this system of things.

      Just because one grows up, doesn't necessarily mean one stops caring.
      Otherwise, we would not be having this conversation.

      Be Well
      • Jan 17 2013: Mary, I just read your reply. about 9pm here California time.

        Seems we need a news outlet not supported by advertising dollars, nor corporations, nor unions, and certainly no political parties.

        We need a Buffet or Gates with deep pockets and a commitment not to try to run things,
        and we will most likely need to find a dozen such. Those types who recognize that
        governments are not the answer.

        We are used to wanting a Leader to walk ahead and pave the way,
        but that hasn't worked since Moses.

        The Web is leaderless, but it operates for it's own betterment when left alone.

        We need writers to carry the ball and inform with honesty and integrity,
        both ideas and methods, without centralized direction.

        This is a job that needs one step to start. But, It needs to get going.
        • Jan 17 2013: Frank, doesn't a leader govern?...........whether we want to call it government or not. Having a leader means being governed.

          I'm not trying to play with words, it is a thought that popped into my head.

          You brought up Moses, funny thing Moses. He was trying to help his people

          At first they appreciated it.

          Then they rebelled, and they whined and complained. Finally, they all had to loose the priviledge of seeing their promised land for lack of faith in their leader, both the physical one, and the spiritual one.

          And finally......and this is the sad part.........Moses himself, their leader, did not get to see a changed world......he did not get to enter the promised land. After 40 years of dealing with those stiffed neck people, he lost his cool and died before the reward.......he knew he would die, he was told by the Almighty.

          You know Frank, down deep inside, many individuals know that change is needed, and it is needed soon.

          The leader that is needed has to be a leader extraordinare........maybe he needs to come from out of this world. :) And the motivation for following that kind of leader has to be something other than material gains.......... perhaps the motivation has to come from deep within us..........love. :)

          As a Christian, I have faith in the Bible's promise of a kingdom that is to come, and an earth which will be wiped clean of all the troubles we see today. When will it happen?
          I don't know the answer, I'll have to wait and see, just like you, and the rest of humanity.

          Thanks for sharing your further thoughts with me, and for reading mine.
  • Jan 10 2013: Ending poverty starts with expanding the middle class. A strong middle class drives demand for goods and services, and that, in turn, drives employment.

    To do that, you need a progressive tax structure where the wealthy pay more, an inheritance/trust fund tax that keeps the wealthy from becoming a form of undeserved royalty, and a vision of what kinds of jobs the government can create that will ultimately make business more profitable. Building roads and bridges make it easier to do business. Hiring teachers creates an educated workforce that is useful in a 21st century economy. Most importantly, is that the government should pay its workers well, and there should be a livable minimum wage for all employees (workers are not the problem in an economy, they are the solution and they should be valued) - that is how the money gets back to the bottom.

    The wealthy might complain. They might try to say that they are the job creators, but they are not. Innovators are the job creators, and innovators don't produce goods and services unless there are customers to buy them. Money must flow back to the bottom from time to time. Money at the bottom equals demand and motive for innovators to produce goods and hire employees. Money's natural tendency is to flow in the upward direction. That is a good thing - jobs are created and production happens when it does.

    Money is like an engine...as it rises, work gets done. If you keep moving it back to the bottom from time to time, more work will get done. When money stays at the top, there is no longer an incentive to produce very many goods and services - maybe a few luxury items at the most, for a tiny sliver of your population, but that is about it. Increasing the customer base means more production and jobs. The middle class matters. They have enough income to drive production beyond agriculture. They buy televisions, computers, cell phones, and more.
    • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Comment deleted

      • Jan 13 2013: You are off topic on the solution I offered. Revenue matters, period. Equivocating individual finances and a 40 hour work week with tax policy is ridiculous, and yet, a person CAN still choose to work more.

        Try not to forget, the overall conversation is about ARGENTINA.
        • thumb
          Jan 13 2013: I see your point. You are absolutely correct, I'm off topic. How silly of me to take the titled question:

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

          so literally as to mean any government, including my own here in the USA.

          I'm afraid there is no solution for Argentina. Revolution perhaps. Their debt is too high and the government is reluctant to pay it off, leaving the "vultures" who financed that debt to swoop down closer to the kill.

          I need to get to deleting some of these off topic statements I've made.

          Thanks for putting me back on track Mr. Hardwood.
    • Jan 15 2013: Gee Brock...
      You got everything right except the thing that counts the most.
      Customers.

      When the Banks were draining the Treasury, businesses were looking at
      a tremendous loss of new business. Businesses cannot borrow money
      without support of customer's new orders. Supply needs Demand.
      So the Bankers around the globe, got GDP riches and businesses got the shaft.

      Not a peep from the National Chamber of Commerce...
      • Jan 21 2013: Money at the bottom = customers = demand. That was the whole point of moving money back to the bottom.

        The mechanism I talked about for doing this was the government hiring people at good wages. Naturally, it makes sense to hire people to do things that also make business more profitable - i.e. better roads and rail for distribution of raw materials and finished products, schools and teachers for an educated work force, reliable power grids, ports for shipping, etc.. This addresses economic growth on both fronts - supply AND demand.
        • Jan 22 2013: Brock,
          I disagree.
          We, the impoverished, find solace in dreams.
          Poverty in the United States would be eliminated were we to:
          Reduce the Military to 1950 levels.
          Eliminate the Federal Reserve Banking System.
          Eliminate Limited Liability Laws.
          Expand nationwide the VA Hospital & Clinic System.
          Eliminate Health Insurance companies.
          Tax like church's do, at a 10% level, collected monthly.
          Require the National Debt be Eliminated within 5 years.
          Require that Government be Transparent with NO Secrets.
          Limit Elected Officials to 4 year Terms.
          Pay Hired and Elected Govt Employees -
          - the same pay scale and benefits.
  • Comment deleted

    • Jan 9 2013: John have you looked at the technocracy inc proposals for abolishing the price system and allowing everyone to benefit from all the technology.
      Capitalism can never work, for the most part it encourages bad behaviour and as much as Gvts try you can't legislate for everything.
      How we go about a life worth living and the values that entails is something that isn't looked at or discussed in the mainstream media, it's more or less a corporate mouth piece, convincing us that the status quo is the only way.
      A lot of really bad things happen because somebody is making money, war, hunger, pollution, deforestation, poaching to extinction etc. and yet a lot of good things are done for nothing, volunteering being a prime example.
      • Comment deleted

        • Jan 11 2013: That is what they like us to think. I still have faith in mankind, we can do a lot better than this. More collective thinking required and networking.
          I can't see us having World War 3, unlike in the 1930's this type of economy might finally tank. Things may need to get a lot worse before we see a tipping point. A third of Greeks are now unemployed along with a fifth of Spanish so more people have nothing to lose by advocating a complete change of direction.
      • Jan 15 2013: Looks like we will be planting Victory Gardens again.
        Only this time it will be due to poor government.

        SuperMarket prices are soaring.
        We retirees on fixed incomes see just how bad it really is.

        The Fed lies and postures. But anyone with a lick of sense
        can smell foul weather ahead.

        Voters have been short-changed again. But they may not
        slide this time. There could be so very hard times ahead.
        Maybe that is why the gun-dealers shelves are getting bare.

        Obama today, made comments about people being afraid
        the government would take their guns away. But listening
        closely, I never heard him say that the government wouldn't.

        If he had been in a pie field, he wouldn't have stepped on any.
    • Jan 10 2013: Thanks for the reply John!

      I know I'm not being totally fair. I'm like "People tell me your ideas... and I'll find their weak points", while I don't come up with an idea myself. So I do appreciate your effort in this :)

      "Everyone on our planet is predominately affected by the activities in other countries." - Spot on. Globalisation has it weaknesses too.

      I didn't know about Boone Pickens to be honest. I should definitely watch his TED talk in the future. It's good to know that a millionaire is also worried about the future of our planet.

      Oh, do you have the websites of these people who have achieved something similar in their towns? It would be interesting to know how they managed that.
  • 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.
      • thumb
        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?
      • thumb
        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
      • thumb
        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.
  • thumb
    Jan 5 2013: You are right, those in positions of power will not be willing to subjugate themselves to the will of the people, the cool thing is that they never have and yet the world has changed, human rights were invented, unions created themselves, democracies exist in greater numbers on a global scale (in many flavors) than have ever existed in history.

    Always these changes start with a small group of dedicated individuals forming a team to get something done and then they do it. One team learns from another and the teams grow and their impact multiplies over time.

    The world is a better place (by any measure I can imagine) moment by moment and century by century ONLY because of the unknown, unsung people who made those changes. They never asked permission and they never apologized, they just did stuff until it worked.

    Thanks for the thumbs up!
    • Jan 7 2013: You deserve the thumbs up Armistral! :)

      That's quite an inspirational text! Something to keep in mind
  • thumb
    Jan 4 2013: I actually believe that this is the way it is going to happen and that it is inevitable if human beings survive ourselves this is the only way. There are many groups working for this and historically there has been a great deal of support for the general idea. If you think about how the current defacto world government or the UN is similar in nature to the Confederacy (with all of it's attendant issues) which lead to the creation of the USA then I think again, history is pointing towards it in our future and that future due to many factors (economic, legal, environmental, energy etc) are pushing us inexorably in that direction.

    The tipping point will be the people of the world uniting (at least in majority) for it and the only banner to rally them that makes sense to me is to make it of the people, by the people, for the people in a way and on a scale that hasn't been accomplished just yet.

    Some links for reference:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Federalist_Movement
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Constitution_and_Parliament_Association
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_government#Current_global_governance_system
    http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/12/11/vatican-calls-for-world-government-and-a-new-world-order/
    • Jan 5 2013: This is unbelievably interesting. I think it is the best solution proposed so far in this debate.

      The only drawback is its chances of becoming true. Powerful large corporations, conservative politicians, and the Upper & Middle classes are probably NOT going to be willing to change their organisations and way of life.

      It does leave room to think about this topic.

      But hey! Thumbs up so far for your proposal ♣
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: Most people actually do valuable things in their own time which aren't rewarded with a salary. A basic universal salary could address that, with the advantage of simplifying a lot the bureaucracy for aid and subsidies. Considering how many people already receive public income in most western countries, one way or another, this wouldn't be a dramatic change at all.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to poverty eradication. This is one problem that can not be solved in our world as it is, because of the variety of flawed economic systems that are in operation.
    There is too much dependence on government, which is surprising, considering the hypocrisy and corruption; and then the tendency to believe that what is being offered by the school system is the totality of education.
    1. Intergrity and accountability should be demanded in public and private sectors of the economy.
    2. Education should be seen as a personal responsibility; that is, learners should build on what the school gives and apply such for societal impact.
    3. We have to discourage the societal tendency towards unbridled materialism.
    4. Where there is a will, there's a way; but if there is no willingness and sincerity in the search for solutions, then all the talk about poverty reduction will be futile.
    5. Poverty will not end; but we should keep trying to end it.
    • Jan 2 2013: I definitely agree with what you say, specially with points 4 & 5.


      You DO have a point when saying it's important to discourage the societal tendency towards unbridled materialism. Pepe Mujica (Uruguay's president aka. "The World's Poorest President") said something similar in june during the Rio+20 summit:

      "We've been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty. But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left? Does this planet have enough resources so seven or eight billion can have the same level of consumption and waste that today is seen in rich societies? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet."

      Mujica accuses most world leaders of having a "blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world".


      Yet points 1, 2 and 3 seem pretty impossible to achieve. I hope I am absolutely wrong, but will anyone stand up to stop Hyper-consumption/Materialism? Will the public and private sectors be transparent without Govt. control? Or actually, can Govts. control the economic most powerful sectors without giving into corruption?

      It is definitely food for thought, don't you think?
  • Jan 2 2013: Wishful thinking as governments depend on poverty to support the wealthy and power hungry. Not a advocate of Socialism as that has shown many times over that it's as bad or worse than Capitalism, a failed idea. The only true answer is the evolution of the human mind, when ever that happens or does.
  • Jan 2 2013: Education can certainly be a key but what kind of education is the most important?

    Ted member and Poster Krisztián Pintér said this below:
    "governments actively causing poverty, so i would not expect them to come up with a solution."

    He's absolutely right, so what kind of education does the populace need?
    It doesn't need an education in how to become successful in such an unjust system that creates poverty which leads to slavery.
    Educate for the right and necessary things.
    It needs to be an education in how to change your country. How to change what is done, how it is done, how it is managed and above all, change who does the managing. It is more important how things are managed rather than "who is doing the managing." They are not doing their job, so you, we, all of us, don't need them. They have proven themselves to be irrelevant to all our lives because they don't solve our problems. As Krisztián said, "they create them," so why do we, or you, need them? Well, it's simple. We, you, don't!

    Educate children on how to change their countries, their governance, their institutions, that were and are supposed to represent their interests and not the interests of those in power and their close friends. We know that is what they have done since forever, so get rid of them.

    Change it and build in its place a just system. If it isn't just then it is inherently corrupt. Make it just. That is the education children of today need.

    Capitalism is a huge creator of poverty, slavery, inequality, greed, crime and ultimately war and death.
    Capitalism is "capitalizing on what another person doesn't know" or "capitalizing on another persons misfortune" so it is clear it has destruction, poverty, inequality, slavery, greed and crime already built into it as its default settings, so-to-speak.

    Education is for those who can afford it. Thus, they follow the wrong and crooked path of those who only sought education to try and become successful rather than changing their government
    • Jan 2 2013: Yes, I agree. But how would this just system be built?

      Of course democracy has its faults... but can we get any better than that? Or are you talking about Socialist or Communist revolutions?
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: Mass investment into Education, Science, Technology, infastructure, small business incentives, entrepreneurial low-rate loans and grants, leisure and tourism, focusing the country on trying to be #1 in a specific positive area, workable welfare system, tax incentives for trade, import, export and new business.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: governments actively causing poverty, so i would not expect them to come up with a solution.
  • thumb

    Gail .

    • +1
    Jan 2 2013: As capitalism was established to divide the rich and the poor, and then to sustain the inequality, it is impossible for poverty to be eradicated under capitalism or any system that uses money as the glue to hold the society together.
  • Feb 2 2013: The Capitalism of the past several hundred years has had more benefit to the society than damage, although a lot of unneessary suffering was involved. But it looks like that paradigm is about finished, thanks to the all-too-human clevernesss of the "Capitalists": at present, inspired by Ayn Rand (in "Selfishness as a Virtue") and enable by their controlling position to "game the system", they have lately taken to abandoning the Capitalist idea of creating Industries, mass production, and great profits, having found out that capturing the government, expanding into financial "casino" swindles, guaranteed by the taxpayers is, ever so much more lucrative for them than stuffy old "Business". And in the process , they have even managed to take control of :"corporations" away from the supposed owners, the stockholders, and siphoned off the profits for themselves. And by hiring the very best lawyers, they have managed to stay out of jail , so far. But it is unsustainable, because it is not really creative. It is not really capitalism, either. I guess the best system would be a Swedish type mixture of Socialism and Capitalism, but as the Russian Yeltsin noted, every country doesn't necessarily "have enogh Swedes".
  • Jan 30 2013: Thank you guys for your opinions!! I've enjoyed reading them all :)

    Just wanted to share something else with you:

    Here's an article published by TIME Magazine in 2005, concerning poverty. It's a really interesting piece: http://www.earth.columbia.edu/docs/endofpoverty/time031405.pdf

    Basically, the most important views of the author are these:

    COMMIT TO THE TASK. Oxfam and many other leaders in civil society have embraced the goal of Making Poverty History. The world as a whole needs now to embrace the goal.
    ADOPT A PLAN OF ACTION. The U.N.Js Millennium Development Goals, approved by all of the worldJs governments at the start of the millennium, are the down payment on ending poverty. The MDGs set out specific targets for cutting poverty, hunger, disease and environmental degradation by 2015 and thereby laid
    the foundation for eliminating extreme poverty by 2025. The rich and poor countries have solemnly agreed to work toward fulfilling the MDGs. The key is to follow through.
    RAISE THE VOICE OF THE POOR. Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. did not wait for the rich and powerful to come to their rescue.They asserted their call to justice andmade their stand in the face of official arrogance and neglect. It is time for the democracies in the poor world - Brazil, India, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and dozens of others - to join together to issue the call to action.
    REDEEM THE U.S. ROLE IN THE WORLD. The richest and most powerful country, long the leader and inspiration in democratic ideals, is barely participating in global efforts to end poverty and protect the environment, thus undermining its own security. It's time to honor the commitment to give 0.7% of our national income to these crucial goals.

    ...
  • Jan 30 2013: RESCUE THE IMF AND WORLD BANK. They have the experience and technical sophistication to play an important role. They have the internal motivation of a highly professional staff. Yet they have been used like debt-collection agencies for the big creditor countries. It's time to restore their role in helping all 182 of their member countries, not just the rich ones, in the pursuit of enlightened globalization.
    STRENGTHEN THE U.N. It is no use blaming the U.N. for the missteps of recent years. Why are U.N. agencies less operational than they should be? Not because of "U.N. bureaucracy," though that exists, but because the powerful countries fear ceding more authority. Yet U.N. specialized agencies have a core role to play in the ending of poverty. It is time to empower the likes of the U.N. Children Js Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and many others to do the job - on the ground, country by country.
    HARNESS GLOBAL SCIENCE. New technology has led directly to improved standards of living, yet science tends to follow market forces as well as to lead them. It is not surprising that the rich get richer in a continuing cycle of growth while the poorest are often left behind. A special effort should be made by the powerhouses of world science to address the unmet challenges of the poor.
    PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT. Ending extreme poverty can relieve many of the pressures on the environment. When impoverished households are more productive on their farms, for example, they face less pressure to cut down neighboring forests in search of new farmland. Still, even as extreme poverty ends, we must not fuel prosperity with a lack of concern for industrial pollution and the unchecked burning of fossil fuels.

    ...
  • Jan 30 2013: MAKE A PERSONAL COMMITMENT. It all comes back to us. Individuals, working in unison, form and shape societies. The final myth I will debunk here is that politicians are punished by their constituents for supporting actions to help the poor. There is plenty of experience to show that the broad public will accept such measures, especially if they see that the rich within their own societies are asked to meet their fair share of the burden. Great social forces are the mere accumulation of individual actions. Let the future say of our generation that we sent forth mighty currents of hope, and that we worked together to heal the world.

    What do you think about his ideas?
    • thumb
      Jan 30 2013: These solutions have been offered for the last 50 years. A world wide effort to end poverty that is based on the redistribution of wealth. What is not explained is what has causes poverty, what level is determined to a poverty level, what level must achieved to be out of poverty. When the out of poverty level is achieved, will it become self sustaining or will it require continuing wealth input. Will the wealth be taken from the contributing states or will it be investment. If attempted to take, that could led to war. If investment, what would prevent exploitation. If contributions, could that led to adoption proceedings. Grandiose proposals, not well thought out, requiring commitments by others, have been made many times before. If the poverty question was easy, Plato would have answered when asked by Socrates. I do not make light of the situation,
      poverty is a terrible waste of human potential. But we don't seem to know what causes it; lack of education, food, mental impairment, geography, the problem has been examined from every conceivable standpoint and the answer fails us. Is there poverty on the African savannas because of the lack of rain? Then moving them to more moderate areas would end the poverty. It doesn't seem to work that way. Now what?
      • Feb 2 2013: Mike the simple answer to this is, the whole world is "energy poor"; energy translates into money, and what we really need to end poverty, , as well as maintain our own level of civilization, is "Thorium :Energy Cheaper than Coal" (a book by Robert Hargraves,) about all possible energy solutions, that we know of at the moment. We are not going to solve poverty , unless we increase the wealth in the world. otherwise, it is just shuffling it around, a zero sum game..
  • Jan 29 2013: Poverty should never be ended by forcing people to give to the poor. This is not only morally wrong, but it has unintended consequences. It builds dependence in the downtrodden and builds resentment among those who want to decide for themselves how much, if anything, to give to the poor. The forceful reallocation of one person's labor to the benefit of another, no matter how deserving you think they may be, is slavery. The only way charity can be just is if it is voluntarily given.
  • thumb
    Jan 29 2013: The has always been poverty. it was noted in ancient texts and legends.It seems its beginnings came when mankind left the hunter gatherer stage and developed agriculture and animal husbandry, gathering in towns and villages So poverty has been around 10 to 12 thousand years. And we still haven't figured it out.
    History tells us that as small villages grew, new social dynamics came about. Instead of simple bartering for goods, it became easier for bigger villages to keep their goods and simply take the goods of their neighbors. This evolved into a feudal system, then into great empires. The empires imploded, it seems nothing is to big to fail. In the 1800s, new political philosophies evolved to address all the poverty. It seemed the wealth and power of the societies were in the hands of nobility and bankers. So the new plan was for the impoverished to seize the government, take the wealth and share it equally to all. We can look at the French, Russian, Spanish and Chinese revolutions and see that those plans not as fruitful as anticipated. These lands are still troubled with poverty. One thing noted was the poetic justice of the phrase "the king is dead, long live the king" It seems that in many cases, people simply exchanged one monarchy for another in these revolutions. But there is one example of where the overthrow of the monarchy shows
    merit. The fall of the Japanese empire at the end of WW2.. Not by revolution but war. The Allied forces destroyed the
    functioning feudal system and found the people unskilled to manage their country. The USA sent in a number of skilled
    instructors who educated the Japanese on the matters of creating a functioning state. The results were shown when a war damaged nation rose from the ashes to be a major economic power in the world and almost no poverty. So, maybe education is the answer, but would you turnover your country to the USA for political education? Or rely on the 18th century philosophers.
  • thumb
    Jan 29 2013: Capitalism unregulated sends 10 year old children into mines. The basic essence of capitalism is to make money for the so called "entrepreneur." The reality is that there are far fewer entrepreneurs than old money capitalists, who, by the way, own approx 80% of the wealth whilst their number is less than 20% of the population.
    It suits capital to have a proportion of people unemployed - full employment means that workers can start requesting higher wages.
    Also, capitalism is a credo emanating from the wealthy few, and well propagated by the media (owned by the wealthy few), for their own ends.
    However, Capitalism is well regulated by most governments. There are rules about minimum pay, safety, working hours, holidays etc - all of which have been vigorously fought against by the capitalist lobby, and still are.
    To answer your question, capitalism per se is what is causing the poverty in yours and many, if not most, countries - including the USA Europe etc. The ameliorating effects of government intervention reduce this...to almost nothing in Scandinavia, and to a much higher degree in the UK and the USA.
    Modern government seems to be controlled by opinion polls, and the poor, the real poor, are unlikely to vote, and their votes are marginal for the major parties. If the poor were a sufficiently large voting block, governments would listen.
    Unless a new socioeconomic system evolves which can replace capitalism, the agents for social change are the governments of the day. Bit of a Catch 22.
    But it can happen, under a moderately left wing government. So long as it does not threaten the capitalist investments in your country (too much). (also a non corrupt government - the capitalists will happily bribe).
    Independent politicians, non-aligned - can be useful to keep prevailing govts to order, and a bit more.
    SDatis,
    Cheers, SimonL
    • Feb 2 2013: You are right as far as you go. But to go anywhere good from here, we need to have "Energy Cheaper than Coal. " civilization correlates with the level of energy use. It is easy to see why. It takes a very special type of person to live successfully as the Amish do. Mopst people would rather enjoy the decadence of money, frozen food, Broadway shows, refrigerators, etc. Even if it means taking advantage of unseen foreigners, for money. But we came from poor farmers, too, only 150 years ago, or so. And the reason was, the IIndustrial Revolution, fueled by cheap Coal., then oil ..which is running out. So really, if we don't find a source of energy chealper than coal, we are in big trouble. Luckily , a solution has been invented and demonstrated 40 years ago, then forgotten: The Thorium Liquid Fueled Reactor, a nuclear aircraft engine project from the Cold War, has the potential to do the job. Look it up on Youtube Thorium (LFTR). Kirk Sorensen.
  • Jan 29 2013: EDUCATION
  • Jan 29 2013: Connecting capitalism to poverty in any form is relatively meaningless. One could try to connect Keynsian theory to poverty, or communism to poverty, etc. They are independent phenomena. One might just as well try to connect religion to poverty - as a cause. The cause of poverty lies in the psyche of those afflicted. They have not been trained to shun poverty by intent, or are incapable of retaining precepts of self-reliance. Their home life while growing up will affect the otherwise-capable, who are the most amenable to correction. Some, however -typically the marginally mentally ill and the mentally ill will almost certainly become poor on reaching adulthood. The only correction method is and always will be is to make accommodations for them. Matthew 26:11 says that "the poor will always be with you". I see no reason to obsolete that thought. Any form of government will be faced with the same problem. Better to put forth out efforts to codify the efficient performance of the obligation so formed. Ideas anyone?
  • Jan 29 2013: The US Capitalistic approach to the medically impoverished.

    "as we move towards something close to universal health care"...
    Like the Chief Justice "Hopes" -- we all "hope"
    that this new health care program is a start to reach a goal
    of medical treatment for all, and independence from diseases.

    But our Government was short sighted to allow Health Insurance
    Corporations to siphon our Direct Tax Dollars, by Shunting them
    past the IRS, into Health Insurance Privateer's Pockets.

    Health Insurance Corporation's had no acquisition commissions (25%)
    for 30 Million new annual Premiums. Nor, will the annual renewal
    commissions (10%) be returned to Insured's pockets each year
    in the form of reduced Premiums.

    Does anyone have a calculator??? This will be a fun exercise.

    There would be "More Tax Dollars" in the Treasury, to spend
    on benefits to the people, without this "Shunting of Tax Dollars".

    History shows that the despicable actions by most Health Insurance
    Corporations for the last 80+ years has left only the Lawyers Rich,
    the Courts Full, and the Insured's Gun Shy of more declined Claims.

    Mr. President, and Congressmen and Congresswomen,
    Why would you do such a thing to your constituents?

    Mr. Chief Justice, why depend on "hope"???
    You had to know better.
  • thumb
    Jan 28 2013: of course governments cannot end poverty - they would have done it by now.

    People want to improve their lives, they want to work and grow their income for themselves and their kids. Let them work. that's how poverty is solved. Not by giving them handouts and making them dependent.

    Are we seriously having this debate still?
    • Jan 29 2013: Jordan,
      Poverty is the result of Government's ability to fool the people.

      The leadership of the 2 parties are not generally known.
      There is always an ex-president or two, when popular,
      wears the party's mantle of leadership.
      But that is not the case at all.

      Ask yourself, who runs your favorite Political Party? See what I mean?
      Ask 10 people on any street in America the same question. See what I mean?

      The media is paid Big Bucks by each Political Party to sell Candidates taken
      from a preselected pool. Political Advertisers gone berserk have a field day
      with unlimited funds to spend. From whom, who really knows?

      2 parties, 2 choices, and the Parties do not care which wins this time.
      Their only competition is from that little soap-box in the park.

      All governments are evil.
      When people awaken, like the German gypsies and jews did 80 years ago,
      it is too damned late. It could be now. Get used to being impoverished.
      Or, straighten out your government.
      But unless someone can figure out how, it is probably too late.

      If poverty could be solved under Capitalism, would it not have been done by now?????
      • thumb
        Feb 1 2013: democracy was suppose to end evil governments. But greed is a hard addiction to get rid. If only the founding fathers could come back and do some b!tch slapping

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dX_1B0w7Hzc

        watch the whole video Lincoln comes in and kills it
        • Feb 1 2013: Casey,
          That was a great link to a fine youtube video. Thank you.
          It did explain with comedy how bad the situation is politically.
          There are no good choices of people available to run our nation.
          We have the Kats and Jammer Kids running things in WashingtonDC.

          Capitalism causes Poverty, then like a Janitor it has to clean up the mess.

          Since the 1930's,
          The population of the earth, humans and animals have experienced
          - nuclear fall-out - from more than 11,000 Government tests.underground,
          underwater, and in the atmospheres over heavily populated areas throughout
          the world.

          With a complete disregard to the safety of humans and animals.
          This is our Government in action...
          And not only our Government, but World-Wide.

          Since the 1940's, thousands of western Washington and Nevada nucular tests
          caused immediate contamination of dairy cattle and wee children's milk.
          Neighboring states got it first, and then forever spread world-wide by winds.
          Forever is the half-life of Radioactive Death...

          Utah's elders living down-wind of the tests, first developed cancers, then died.
          Horrible deaths, after much late life suffering.

          Some of the test were beneficial to the eye-balls. They gave us Nuke Plants to
          produce cheap Electricity, and a great pile of Radioactive Wastes. Duuuuh !!!

          Another fine example of Government in Action.

          NO study has been done on the effects on brain activity of world-wide populations.
          But, if government Leaders are any indication, then those nuclear tests have
          created a world of crazies.

          Nuclear Testing continues today, World-Wide non-stop.
          Inside of 150 years we will be a Burnt Up - Toasted bunch of thirsty crazies.
          ===
          Governments cause Poverty.
          They all want the best for themselves, and somebody has to pay for it.
          That is you and me. Just another 6 Billion crazies.

          Hahahaha. Now where did I leave my strait-jacket.???
  • thumb
    Jan 27 2013: It is sad that countries endowed with vast natural resources are the ones lagging behind development in all respect. A lot has been done to aleviate this scourge but it is not relenting. We must all start with our mind set especially on the accumulation of wealth. Rich countries want more and more wealth which has created a certain world order that has distorted the social and developmental fibric unique to each setting. This has lead to huge quantities of wealth to be lost. To me wealthy expires just like human life does. Accumulating it is to suffocate or deny other a chance to better their lives, especially the slow thinkers and those with no exposure. Unless we all read from the same page in terms of ending human misery, then all effort seem to exacarbate the problem than solving it. The order created has left many especially the most vulnerable out of order.
    • thumb
      Jan 27 2013: natural resources do not count anymore. they contribute a small small percentage of the total value generated. natural resources are cheap, compared to all the labour and knowledge that need to be added in order to make something out of the resources. what makes a country rich is capital. capital means all the goods that are used to produce other goods. capital includes machines, tools, buildings, trucks, raw materials, half-made goods, parts and all of that. germany is rich because it has a lot of factories, computers and people trained to used them. india is poor because they don't have that much machines, a lot of things still made by hand, and delivered in small vehicles.

      that knowledge is important. without this knowledge, one easily subscribes to the notion that automation hurts people, because it takes away their jobs. this thinking effectively hinders and slows down the very best vehicle of progress.

      if you really want to help poor people, you need to seek ways to increase capital accumulation. both the accumulation of local capital, and capital transfer from other, richer regions.

      as of now, you don't even have to promote capital accumulation. it is enough to remove the artificial barriers that we put in place to prevent it. how easy is that? we just give up some money wasting activities, and our lives become better. but it requires understanding of these mechanisms.
    • Jan 29 2013: The US subsidizes agriculture and in doing so has moved
      from small farmers to large corporations farming and ranching.

      Chemical manufacturers provide artificial stimulates to both plant and animal production.

      TODAY, The US produces enough food to feed the staving peoples of the world.
      Yet they still starve. Yet they still starve.
      Capitalism just isn't meant to be "charitable above all else".

      Trickle Down Economics, doesn't trickle.
      There is a catch basin at the top.

      Our government sees itself as a policeman.
      An enforcer.
      A killer of those opposed.

      But certainly not a charity to be shared.

      You may disagree.
      Perhaps it is not Capitalism, the system, but we the people who are at fault.
      • Feb 2 2013: Frank: you are not wrong, but the reasons for our arrangements has to do with what our society believes is "Right". In the first place, "Diversity" has triumphed to the extent that we do not even have a society any longer. By that I mean, the leaders of our society , say those on Wall St., have become impervious to shame, as well as deluded by the money they have stolen from the rest of us. IIf you criticize this , they'll quote Ayn Rand at you. And our education system, once the envy of the world , has deteriorated dramatically. So even those with top ranking educations , are easily fooled, it seems.It seems ironic, but giving everyone more money, including those at the top, might just get us out of this. All we need is "Energy Cheaper than Coal" . Energy translates into money, and wealth., and corresponds to the level of civilisation. Go Thorium LFTRs!
        • Feb 2 2013: Shawn, I agree with you, on everything except giving everyone more money.
          Money is a small bandage, only a temporary fix, lasting for a only short period.

          Money never really reaches the impoverished.
          ===
          We had Oil, "Energy Cheaper than Coal".
          It gave the US a 40 year lead on the rest of the world.

          Poverty was unaffected. Peoples starved by the millions.
          ===
          Wealth begets Wealth. aka: Competition.

          A story,,,
          I started a company, new product, sold by agents nationwide.
          I had 60 competitors who copied my new product within 90 days.
          They copied and used my sales literature, without even
          taking my own name off of the proxy statement in the contract.
          I almost split a gut laughing...

          The same thing happened with Oil.
          That 40 year lead disappeared in 20.
  • Jan 26 2013: Is a solution possible under capitalism? NO

    Poverty is the result of Capitalistic Society after about 237 years.
    Poverty is the loss of Capitalistic employment, when there are no jobs.
    Poverty is joining the Food Stamp crowd, and shopping where you won't meet someone you know.
    Poverty is living in the Park during the day, and in the bushes at night.
    Poverty is waking in the wrong bed, wanting to go home, and not having a home to go to.
    Poverty is being the same today, as yesterday, and tomorrow.
    ===
    I read yesterday the Supreme Court had found that President Obama (a claimed constitutional scholar)
    was wrong in his edict concerning a matter that I have forgotten. (Dang it, I'm getting old.)
    Because of said Presidential edict, some 300 prior lower court decisions may have to be reversed.

    Perhaps the Supreme Court's calendar was lagging until the election was passed. You never know.
    ===
    Things that show Capitalism at it's worst ---
    Never Ending Wars on other nation's shores.
    Black Budgets that pay for secret Killings on other nation's shores.
    Never ending Secrets that hide Torture on other nation's shores.
    Lobbies that bribe.
    Politicians and their appointees that take said bribes.
    Limited Liability Laws for Elected Officials and Corporate Executives.
    Worldwide Commerce by Intimidation.
    A Lost War on Drugs. (aka: Cartels that bribe/kill)
    State Dept/CIA private contractor mercenaries.
    Lost Constitutional Freedoms, (aka: the Privacy Act & Homeland Security)
    X-rays at the Airports, (aka: revenge for those Never Ending Wars)

    I tire of the mess.
    • thumb
      Jan 28 2013: Then lets change it. It only take one man to change the world. What happens when their is many?
      • Jan 29 2013: Ok Casey, you've come to bat.
        Now the job is before you.
        What is your first move to be?

        You can be the leader or a follower.
        It is all up to you.

        But please start.
    • thumb
      Jan 29 2013: I never saw a better expose of what is wrong with a capitalistic society. Capitalism would work fine if people were honest and respectful and caring of their brother/sister humans. When success and money and statusr and control become the pantheon of gods instead of love, this is what you get., a greedy, lazy , immoral society. I cannot imagine why a man would need to be a billionaire except that he use his money to help his fellowman and that is only if he made his fortune honestly and not from "stepping on other other peoples' backs." Here in America we have animals running our government and banks. Can't they see what is happening and why do they do or allow this ?
      • Jan 29 2013: Helen, Thank you.

        As I write, I become almost robotic with words flowing out.
        I read Dean Koontz, and enjoy his style of novels.
        He often explains far better than I, why the world is so twisted.

        A Capitalistic Society such as ours has too many Politicians taking
        liberties with what they think are their Constitutional Authorities.

        Poverty is never extinguished by government. Economic consequences
        of government moves are expected to be absorbed by people.

        The problem our nation faces is the absence of nation-wide Two-Way
        communication available to anyone with a different view than that held
        by our government.

        A soap-box in the park is all that is left.

        Recent loss of analog TV, and much of AM Radio, leave Cable TV alone
        to convey news releases from government.

        Print Newspapers fold*, under the 2 parties advertising budget pressures.
        The recently deceased scion of the NYTimes may turn in his grave.

        The Internet appears to be a salvation of sorts.
        History --
        During the Inquisition and Dark Ages, "discovery" was brutally extinguished.
        It held scientific discovery back 2 hundred years.

        Today --
        The US government is quietly moving to curtail search engines, along with
        the help of 5 or 6 European governments. An effort to control internet sharing
        of Intellectual Properties, Rights and Patents. The Courts are not yet fully on board,
        but it appears they soon will be.

        Powers recently held by Religion and Government have passed to
        World-wide Banks and Corporations. Our Military is kept busy making
        non-stop Wars, and is quieted by budget controls, for now, Provided we
        heed Ike's warning.

        Police are a bit more than just well-armed. They are plain scary.

        * I kind of liked the pun, although accidental. lol
  • Jan 26 2013: NO !!!
    Not under Capitalism.
    This is a Moral Issue not addressable by Capitalists.

    Religious Organizations have a failing grade today, but they seem to be recognizing that fact.
    The Mormons have the best ideas for helping the impoverished within their networks.

    In the US, the Veteran's Administration's nationwide system of Hospitals and Clinics
    seems to be the right answer for the medically impoverished.

    The US Capitalist government has ignored the "VA's" good example,
    and created instead a National Health Insurance Program that is sure to fail.
    It will enrich those Capitalistic Insurance Icons only.
    ===

    Plutarch, in writing, "On Morals," two thousand years ago, described market
    bubbles in the near-ancient world and how the lending industry came to
    periodically bankrupt (bank corrupt) nearly everyone in order to create
    exorbitant wealth for themselves, simply as result of their own avarice and
    greed.

    He was writing on why no one should allow themselves to get into debt
    through borrowing, but to live threadbare if need be, and to sell what your
    have and live roughly, rather than see a money lender.

    People have always sought to live beyond their means. And sooner or later,
    many have found that they do not have sufficient funds to pay the piper.

    Capitalism builds it's own poverty.
    • thumb
      Jan 26 2013: The sad part is that the only thing that is going to work is a great BIG problem the effects all humans the same a global problem that we will have to come together to be able to defeat or complete as a race. We fight like we have all the time in the world and we do not prepare for tomorrow.

      On of these days the human race is going to be devastated in some way and we have not prepared ourselves for any threat. What is our governments doing now to protect people in a crises Nothing. We are fight about stupid petty issues and when the day comes we as humans have to come-together and solve the problems that come our way. We can't even solve the most basic problems like starving Kids in our own country's... how are we to solve bigger problems when they arise.

      I can see where capitalism would work and i see how it doesn't work. People getting the same start up goods like housing and food taking care of up front and not have to worry about it sounds nice but the way our economy works now Big business controls the fate of the world. Free exchange of information also sounds good but then people would all be at the same level.... OMG Donald Trump would no longer be better then me... I am just saying capitalism sounds good and all but it would take to long and to much money to switch our world around as it is now. If we can not fix the small issues now what makes us think that we can fix the world.
      • Jan 26 2013: Christopher,
        We can fix the small issues now.
        The answer today is Internet Users.

        Governments Worldwide are trying to hold us back.
        Does anyone recall the INQUISITION and the DARK AGES ???
        Using Patent Law --
        Governments and Religions working hand in hand
        have impeded human progress for several hundred years.

        These and other similar Laws require that new idea creators
        be paid for use of said idea. aka: Intellectual Property.

        The Government's TAXABLE PRICE for improving the human condition.
        ===
        TAA TAAA !!!!

        Technology has arrived in the nick of time.
        Users of the Internet exchange Intellectual Properties freely.
        Ideas abound....
        Users require NO Identification, NO X-ray at the airport.
        Users IGNORE Governments, and their whining.
        Users are TRANSFORMING the world

        Governments Worldwide are beginning to see a problem.
        Governments Worldwide are used to being OBEYED.
        Governments Worldwide are not used to being IGNORED.

        Users do not have SIT INS, MARCHES, CHANTS CHEERS OR REVOLTS.
        Users are UNARMED, their hands are WEAPONS FREE.
        Users are from 9 to 90 years of age...
        Users just want to SHARE.
        And, by sharing, IMPROVE their lot in life.
        And, by sharing, ELIMINATE POVERTY.
      • thumb
        Jan 28 2013: @ Chris

        Donald Trump is not better then you
    • thumb
      Jan 28 2013: Frank,

      Capitalism does build its own poverty, this is true someone has to make less so others can make more. However that does not mean that capitalism can not fix poverty.

      My business plan is inspired by Warren Buffet, and Bill Gates who are donating the majority of their income to charity once they are dead. As well as their children for not putting up arms; against their parents for giving away their inheritance.

      I am going to create jobs and provide for my employees the people who are dependent on me for their income. See I know how to make money flow to me. Infinitely. I am going to replace my employee jobs with machines and then continue to pay them their wages since I will still be making money from the work they once did. Then the monies will be in my people hands, to help others that are less fortunate then us. For one can not exist without the other.

      In capitalism I am free ....yes free to do with my money what I want because it is my money. My plan is to give it back. This is my plan moving forward

      P.S. Just in case you were wondering I was semi-retired at 28
      • Jan 28 2013: Casey,
        I hope that in 10 or 20 years from now, you can look back and know
        you were successful. Unfortunately your generosity just masks poverty.
        It is not your fault. It is the system's fault.
        Capitalism; A system of commerce, world-wide with no known solution.

        In Capitalism, (a capitalistic society such as is the US) business owners are also
        free to do what they want with the business's profits. But when owners take their
        fair share of earnings, and their workers also desire their own fair profit sharing.
        Prices to consumers rise to satisfy both owners and workers. A never ending rise.
        This is inflation.
        This is one result of Capitalism.

        When Retirees living on Fixed Incomes watch Food prices rise past the point
        of affordability, they either eat less or eat lesser quality Foods.

        Ever notice that elderly people are thinner than their younger counterparts?
        This is only one type of poverty. Multiplied by 100 Million, it gets scary.
        ===
        History --
        Back in the day, a telephone call was 5 cents from a payphone booth.
        The last vestige was in New Orleans on Canal Street in the 1970's.
        Senator Huey Long (later assassinated) was partly responsible for making
        the Telephone company keep it's prices down. How much are those same
        telephone calls today?
    • Jan 28 2013: What you described in your two posts is not basic capitalism. In basic capitalism the government stays out of the way. Corruption exists in all forms of government and economic settings, not just under capitalism. I have been poor. I have been homeless. I live in a capitalist society. I never chose to blame anyone else for my poverty or my living situation. I merely sought a path out. Because I live in a capitalist society opportunities were available to me that may not have been available to others under a different economic system.

      I am not longer poor. I am no longer homeless. I have traveled around many parts of North and South America and I have seen the extreme examples of poverty in El Salvador, Mexico and Peru. I was struck by the fact that in my worst moments of poverty I had something available to me that I did not see in these people in these other countries. I had hope for a better tomorrow. When hope fades it no longer matters what economic system drives your society.
      • Jan 28 2013: Jeff,

        If what you write is correct, and I know you believe it so. Why is there Poverty in
        Capitalistic societies? Poverty, as you have seen, exists. It exists here in the US.

        TODAY, in the US we find our Government(s) disconnected from the people they serve.
        I call that disconnect "corruption". It festers in even the smallest of towns.
        It retards growth and promotes poverty.

        When taxation is over 50% (including all it's guises), new business start-ups collapse.
        And that is not "government staying out of the way".

        80% of all new business start-ups in the US, fail in the first year, another 70% of
        first year survivors cannot make it through their second year.

        Were a "basic capitalistic" government to provide guidance to business start-ups,
        with proper education, limited taxation, and strategic lending along the way. Then
        perhaps business start-ups would have a better record. And poverty would decrease.

        Alas, this is not what happens in America.
        The SBA loan programs liken to College's school loan programs, are instead "barbed hooks" snaring both the unwary start-up businesses, and inexperienced school students with masses
        of government paperwork with threats of repayment penalties. and unnecessary taxation.
        • Jan 28 2013: Frank,

          If Capitalism is the cause of poverty then why does poverty exist under other economic systems as well. What you described in your posts is a bastardization of capitalism. The capitalist system itself did not create the problem.When government officials and certain business executives decided to interfere with the system for personal gain they chipped away at the very foundation of the greatest engine for growth and prosperity that the world has ever known. But you cannot blame that on Capitalism. That would be akin to blaming poorly prepared meal on the food rather than the cook.

          Businesses succeed and fail all of the time for many reasons. It is just as likely to be the fault of the business operator as it is anything else. Just because 80% fail in the first year does not mean that the system is flawed. Perhaps it was a bad idea to begin with. The problem is not that the government doesn't provide proper guidance. Government should have as little involvement as possible.

          I think we have some points upon which we agree in regards to some of the things that have gone awry in our society. However I believe that your premise, assigning blame for poverty to capitalism, is flawed.

          I am not a terribly religious man but I recall a certain iconic feature in Christianity saying something to the effect that "the poor will be with you always". That was over 2,000 years ago and capitalism had not even been invented.
  • Jan 26 2013: From my experiences Michael said it clearly 4 days ago: "Poverty could be eradicated if humans really acted like a real family, but..."

    And, by the way, there are many people who barter here. To pay for better education, people will pay with chickens or rice or labor. (Yes we do make them pay because it then becomes valuable to them even though I am happy to work for free.)
  • Jan 26 2013: I live in a country that is full of poverty. The government takes hundreds of millions of US dollars from other countries to fight poverty. Money is given directly to the people. Housing developments are built and people are "transmigrated". The developments are soon abandoned. The aid to this country has increased in the last 10 years and the level of corruption has increased with it. 95% of the people go to school that is paid for by the government, and yet in the last 20 years the poverty level has not changed.

    I agree with Gareth and Mandela that education is the weapon of choice. It must be a quality education that promotes respect and responsibility. As a participant in the education system in this "developing" country, I not only see that there is no educating going on, but that most everything in this "education" system is corruption. (I could document it but it does no good.)

    Mike said it correctly,
    " In every country there is poverty. Governments can not cure poverty. If they could, it would have been done long ago. They can cause poverty, they can maintain people in a level of poverty as to provide political support as you have noted.
    "People are impoverished because they do not know to create wealth or they are prevented by outside forces. Capitalism is the easiest way for an individual to create wealth. He does this by taking his stuff transforming it to something that others want and exchanging it for what he needs. He gains wealth through his efforts. It's really simple. The problem is that most people in poverty have lost the desire to escape, they live in despair and I know of no answer to that problem."

    I can see that the government wants the people in ignorance so that it can continue taking money that is intended to make the peoples lives better. The natives in the villages who use capitalism are actually making a better life for themselves and others.

    I also see the money taken from infrastructure which will help increase capitalism also.
  • thumb
    Jan 24 2013: Robin hood 2.0. Srat with the politicians who became rich after taking office.
    • Jan 29 2013: Maaher,
      Gosh, wait, I will join you as soon as I find my bow and arrows...
      That Sheriff John is a real stinker, isn't he....?
  • thumb
    Jan 24 2013: @casey
    We could go back to bartering. But...
    If you want to call it prostitution, OK. Here's one. Steve Jobs. Had an idea, got some investors, built a computer, over the years built a lot of computers, hired 70,000 employees, returned a profit for his investors.
    What do you have against prostitutes, that's judgmental.
    • thumb
      Jan 24 2013: Absolutely nothing, what do you have against prostitutes? Also we wouldn't need to go back to barter if anything at first we would just manipulate our current currency. Other then in the context that we currently do which we like to mask as economy
    • Jan 29 2013: Mike Colera,

      you wrote and I include a part here -- "Steve Jobs. Had an idea, got some investors,
      built a computer, over the years built a lot of computers, hired 70,000 employees,
      returned a profit for his investors."

      A wonderful success story, but not told fully... Although you are not to blame.
      The coasts of Africa are the dumping places for used computers and their sub-products.
      From IBM to Apple and everything in between, is garbage to the impoverished Africans.

      It shows that Capitalism is not concerned with charity.
  • thumb
    Jan 23 2013: The only way I have been able to figure out how to end poverty in our current system is through capitalism. I am about to launch 3 business almost simultaneously, although that’s not the important part, the important part is how I am going to run the business. They are going to be a cross between a co-op, Ponzi scheme (think of it like insurance) as well as of course capitalism. The idea of capitalism is to create jobs, and increase profit. However these 2 concepts clearly contradict each other. The fewer employees that companies have to pay the more they can be replaced by machines the more profit the company can make. So here is how my new business adventure is going to work, I am going to employ people in fields where there is no automation. Then together with the help of the people who are actually working for me we will automate their job. All while still paying them their paycheck even once they are no longer need to work up to $100,000 a year. So I am going to continually hire people then replace their jobs with machines all while still paying the employee his/her salary. Making them semi- retired. Then they will have the security to do whatever they want with their time.

    As of now this is the only way I can see to solve poverty under our current system. And this is my plan moving forward
    • thumb
      Jan 24 2013: "Capitalism is a system that is based on private ownership of capital goods and/or the means of production, for the creation of goods and services for profit" is a text book definition of capitalism. I can't fit your plan into the
      idea of capitalism but no matter. It could work. You might have a problem automating the job of sexing chickens,
      but Tyson Foods would pay big for that one.
      • thumb
        Jan 24 2013: I will still make or want to make 13 billion dollars like exxon, however instead of keeping that money is some vault or handing it out to shareholders I am going to give it to my employees in the form of a retirement. It will still be a for profit company.

        Also yes most jobs can get replaced by machines, however some jobs wont and shouldn't be replace. I personally think that everybody should have to at least once in their life wait tables and bartend.
  • thumb
    Jan 22 2013: There have been a number of ideas expressed to end poverty upon what a government can do. I am hesitant to address what can be done because I am not sure what causes poverty. Poverty has been described as the absence of means to generate wealth. An economic situation. I believe that everyone is born with some innate "capital" (talents) that could be used to create their wealth allowing for those who are distressed physically or mentally. Grow a crop of grain, sing great music, build an ipad, innate talents that could led to wealth. Granted, to develop these talents could require formal education, investment of other wealth, etc. etc. But what of poverty?
    When you look at small tribes living in the amazon jungles, you don't see a lot of poverty. Not a lot of great wealth either.
    There seems to be a balance. When we look at great cities, we see great poverty. When we see one group of people drive another group away from their wealth (Darfur), we see poverty. So is a product of great societies, great poverty? Is this the cause for the effect?

    The taking of other people's properties can be addressed. Small takings is a violation in most Great Societies. Big takings like Darfur need to be addressed, but I think can be resolved. That leaves Great societies, great poverty.
    So, we are left with at least three solutions.
    1. It is what it is, so live with it.
    2. Take away wealth from those that have it and give it to those that don't.
    3. Don't know yet, but one and two are not acceptable.
    • thumb
      Jan 24 2013: poverty is the cause of capitalism, someone has to make less so others can make more
      • thumb
        Jan 24 2013: You are assuming that there is finite amount capital and we live in a closed society. Which we don't.
        There is an endless supply of capital, it is in everyone of us. Some have used theirs well and have converted their capital into wealth. Others have not and they live in poverty. Now there are people in poverty who are sick, or for some reason can not expend their capital. There are others that don't know how to, don't want to, are afraid to, every reason. But it is not because others have used their capital wisely.
        .
        • thumb
          Jan 24 2013: If you look at capital that way, then where does prostitution end? Whether I prostitute my mind or my body what is the difference.

          Truth is we just need to realize that money is fake and that ultimately we don't need money
      • Jan 24 2013: Casey, we can't go back to the past, can we?

        Money was invented for a reason. It was the only way for people to satisfy people's different needs. Barter had so many faults. If you wanted to exchange your cow for, say, a horse, you were obliged to find a given person who had horses AND was willing to exchange it for a cow. Furthermore, what if this person was not at all against this possible exchange, but thought his horse had more value than my cow. What could we do then? I can't give him 1/2 a cow, can I? Money solves all these problems. That's why we need it. If not, getting food on a daily basis would be impossible.

        Money is not evil per say. I think it has just gotten way out of our hands. We weren't able to distribute it properly from the start, and nowadays you can make money just doing nothing (e.g. Derivatives). I wish I had the answer, but I don't. Maybe we've got ourselves into a big hole, but going back is not a viable choice now.
        • thumb
          Jan 24 2013: Good day Matias,

          We don't need to travel to the past, because if history has taught us anything thing it is that it repeats itself. This is because we are in circle discovers. But those can end we no longer need to discover circles(use broadly) thing cause/effect, ying/yang, equal but opposite reaction. And the likes

          Money is just a form of energy exchange. My question to you how w-holistic of answer do you want that we can and could get rid of currency
  • Jan 22 2013: Education isn't a means to getting somewhere. It is a choice as a society for continuous improvement and development! Of course if you look at it that way, a lot of us feel like the product is way off from the intended function. Well perhaps because we've been educated to become users for both products and information.
  • Jan 20 2013: What can governments do to end Poverty?
    Eliminate Lobbies.

    Washington DC's Lobbies work 24/7 365 days a year.
    We citizens, of this once great nation, never see their secret activities
    made in behalf of their special interests clientele.

    Lobbies never stop trying to get Congress, to remove protections
    made by prior Congress's, long years after laws have been passed
    to protect us all.

    They secretly lobby the Congress, the President, his Administration, the Fed,
    the Pentagon, the Supreme Court and all Regulators across the nation,

    Always trying to get Congress's to adjust the constitution. Always.

    Lobbies are responsible for the deregulation of the Banks, Banks that made
    Housing Mortgage Loans and provided Insurance. Many of those Banks and
    Insurers were created by President's and Congress's, and during the last 12 years
    were multiplied and stuffed with the peoples monies, only to become victims of
    Wall Street vultures with their circular investment scheme. A scheme so well
    thought out that the SEC, FBI, and Justice Depts still today, haven't figured it out.

    Bush was convinced that the Social Security Fund would be better off with Wall Street.
    Thank God, he couldn't convince anyone else. .

    Historic and Protective Laws made by Congress have been slowly stripped away, year by year.
    After 30 years Banks and Wall Street were deregulated, and they quickly destroyed this nation.
    Wall Street vultures feasted upon the broken Banks that held peoples retirement savings.
    Protected Pension Savings were moved from Bank vaults into 40/1 leveraged risky investments.

    Washington DC's Lobbies work 24/7 365 days a year.
    Even while we sleep...

    The solution, let the people decide when to remove a constitutional protection.
    Personally I would get rid of the Lobbies. Immediately.
    • thumb
      Jan 21 2013: At the beginning, the founding fathers acknowledged that the newly elected members of congress would need a source of information when they were conducting their business. Hence the library of congress.
      Today, our congressmen have no need to run over to the library, they have lobbyist. Lobbyist who come to their office with all the information they could need. In addition, the library of congress provides no gourmet meals, no old bottles of wine, no box seats at the super bowl, moreover, no funds for their re-election. It's a no brainer. Acceptance of bribes by a government employee is a major federal felony. I mean, they put you under the jail.
      This law does not apply to congress. Maybe it should.
      On the other hand congress has used lobbyist for their own special interest. The mortgage meltdown started when congress "encouraged" banks to give loans to poor and minorities or face discrimination charges; quotas were established. Banks obeyed the law, wrote mortgages that could not be paid and passed the bad paper on. Now that was illegal, but nobody was charged, congress could be implicated. So the housing market was allowed to crash, and billions disappeared. Bad bankers, innocent congress.
      I do believe that most newly elected go to congress and want to do a great job. But like fruit in a bowl after too long they get rotten. Maybe we should keep congress down to two terms, before they turn over ripe.
      • Jan 22 2013: Mike,
        By Jove!! You've got most of it right. You just didn't mention names. lol
        We do need Term Limits for all elected and appointed Politicians.

        The biggest problem I see, is that Big Business plans from 20, 30 to 50 years in advance.
        They allow Congress to pass Legislative Protections for the people, without objection,
        Then using their Tools; Lobby and Bribe, those same Legislative Protections are peeled
        away like onions. Congress by Congress, year after year, a small adjustment here and there.

        The reason I write this is that I watched the CEO's of the 4 major Oil Company's testify before Senator Stevens' committee and tell how they sometimes worked with 10 or 12 different Presidents and their administrations, and many many Congresses, during the exploration and completion of Oil projects, continuing from investment to profit. Taking from 20, 30, to 50 years to complete.

        One of the Ladies of the committee, rose to ask that the 4 CEO's take the Truth Oath. Senator Stevens sharply told her to sit down and shut up. He explained that these fine gentlemen need no oath to tell the truth. It made me wonder...

        Our government is each day, and forever, at risk of corruption.
        And from one successful corruption, corruption spreads.
  • Jan 19 2013: The solution has to begin with capitalism. "Developed Countries" have the technological capacity to produce enough resources to feed, provide shelter, clothing and medical needs for those of us who are less fortunate while increasing the number of employment opportunities for those in developed countries. It is dissapointing that while some countries struggle with severe hunger, poverty and unstable living conditions; capitalistic nations fight health issues related to obesity. Bill Clinton stated some time ago "that people will do the right thing when we are left with no other recourse / when situations become most desperate". I think we need to ask ourselves, ?Desperate for who? We can not continue to allow "the few" to determine / drive our morality. We cannot continue to be partnered with the systematic population control through genecide. Our silence is our support. Stand up, Speak up and Start change. What we don't do now will only delay our own demise.
    • Jan 24 2013: I completely agree. Although Developed Countries help out the undeveloped countries through the UN and other NGOs, they could do more than that. They just get into trouble eventually after financial crisis, were the US Govt., for example, had to pay to shun the apocalypse while Wall Street investors got unbelievably rich during the boom of the housing-market bubbles. That is such a shame. For all the amount of wealth the industrial countries produce, too little is left to help the needy.

      We do have to stand up. Unfortunately, we are not the majority. Most people choose to ignore poverty, as if that didn't exist. Likewise, the Poor do not know they can change their situation. Imagine if they got together to change things... they would have to be heard. Quite obviously, that may be why the politicans don't care about improving education. Ignorant people are easier to manipulate.
  • Jan 19 2013: As you commented to escape this viscious cycle of extreme proverty the future generation needs to be properly educated. Giving money to the poor, although not a far reaching solution has the potential to offer the chance of better education for these children. Maybe one day they would break the cycle...who knows..
  • Jan 19 2013: "Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual Ignorance." H.L.Mencken
    But is the best of a never ending of our pathetic beliefs. Is education the key? We are far more knowledgeable than a century ago. More educated? Maybe.
    "I don't have any solution, but certainly admire the problem" Ashleigh Brilliant
    Personal responsibility, free choice, laziness, prostitution, drug addicts, greed, honesty, compassion, brutality, generosity,pomposity, pretentiousness, jealousy, intolerance, corruption....politics and religion, poverty, and many more are a big bag (or stone) that humans need to carry some times voluntary, some times involuntary . (Sisyphus fable).
    There is not solution to our never ending dilutions. We are just humans. Are we doom or dumb? Both?
    Is a jungle out there. The only thing that I can be sure is that I can change and improve is myself.....if I have the will.
    Good luck and happy trails.
  • Jan 19 2013: 7. PHASE OUT ALL WELFARE PROGRAMS O OVER A 5 YEAR PERIOD.
    8. Legalize drugs . Why? To stop the billions in wasted spending on the “war”and to be able to regulate and tax a multi-billion dollar industry.
    • thumb
      Jan 19 2013: 9. Repeal the Constitution
      10. Tax everyone at 100% (We need to get the funds to make all these payments)
      11. Find someone who has the courage to implement and enforce all these rules.
    • Jan 29 2013: Drugs are a blight on the world. The US druggies continue to buy and the disease endures.

      The Trillions of Dollars in wasted spending on the never-ending WARS need be brought to
      a quick stop.
      Our time of freedoms, held so dear, in the1950's, have disappeared.
      Young adults of today have no idea of what this nation was capable of doing.
      Our politicians had too much manna in front of them, not to sample.
      Now we will pay.

      TODAY the US has 147 operational military bases throughout the world.
      TODAY the US makes unending WAR on foreign nation's shores.
      TODAY the US kills daily innocent civilians and supposed Terrorists via Drones.
      TODAY the US practices Torture.
      TODAY the US leads the world in Weapons manufacturing and sales. x10,
      TODAY the US leads the world in Overcrowded Prisons and Prisoners.
      TODAY THE US DOES THESE THINGS.

      TODAY the US has enough food to feed the world's starving peoples.
      BUT DOES NOT DO THESE THINGS.

      So how can a system of Capitalism eliminate poverty?
      IT CAN NOT. IT'S GOVERNMENT WILL NOT.
  • Jan 17 2013: Mary,

    The many diversified religions that have endured and exist today, have common threads.
    A singular God, multiple Gods, Goddesses, Hero's, Virgins, and a society of historical educators.

    Religious leaders, survive within societies of both the winners and losers of Wars.
    They know where the gold is buried.

    Historically, Religious leaders provide their own Political leaders with a limited education, and banking services.
    They lend part of their hidden treasuries to fund Wars, weapons manufacturing, and other expenses.
    Religious leaders also provide a recruitment 'press' of soldiers and sailors, by pulpit proclamation.

    In return, Political leaders repay those banking services and loans by sharing the spoils of War.

    Religious leaders, have thus endured because of their hidden treasuries, and one other unique thing.
    They have throughout history, provided 'Scribes', to their Political leaders. Scribes who allow Political leaders secret communications, known only by the Political leader, the Religious leader through his scribe, and the recipient of the secret communication. The scribe is the only one truly at risk. A touchy job.

    Today, the Scribe of yesteryear, has morphed into a status known as a Lawyer.
    With Harvard, and other like universities turning out Lawyers by the hundreds each year, from top to bottom,
    the United States Government; Executive, Congressional, Supreme Court, and Fed, are fully staffed with Harvard Grads.

    To get ahead in Washington DC...
    Be a Lawyer.
    Graduate from Harvard.
    Speak without saying ah..
    And enjoy Photo-Ops.

    It really really helps if you are a Democrat or a Republican....
    None other need apply.
  • Jan 17 2013: capitalism is a pretty wide net. your thought of some type of systemic public works projects is interesting (at least I think that's what you meant).

    from a pure free market capitalist's perspective he should want as many people brought to a high standard of living and education as possible and as much infrastructure as possible because it will increase overall market productivity and efficiency. this is also true of investments in public health care and education and a number of other areas that effect your avg. persons quality of life and productivity. a true capitalist should be the strongest anit-poverty activist around and an advocate for fair wages and a strong well-funded middle class. Elimination of poverty and early development health care and education would improve overall productivity by about 20-30% assuming no compound effects.

    unfortunately free market capitalists are not what our current financial system is producing. There may be some here and there, but generally (at least in the US) business behavior in the last 2 decades displays a short-sightedness and degree of self-absorption and narcissism that is about as far away as you can get from any responsible or rational form of capitalism and because of this poverty is increasing.
  • Jan 17 2013: Summary: Communism (if your vote doesn't matter now why not, and its the fastest way for a country to unite and grow) Or the worlds wealth must be shared (like that will happen).



    poverty is very hard to define and is always changing with time and place. I too would like to see the decline of poverty in Argentina and all over the world, unfortunately that is one of life's greatest questions. But I have a few unique ideas.

    1)First view each country as a company competing for the worlds business, and only the countries well structured, planed, and innovative will last.
    2)The Key is Innovation: what type of innovation will let the country succeed?

    Is Argentina ready for sweatshops? Or can it invent a new advanced automated manufacturing style to lower the price of there goods?
    Will Argentina produce high-end organic produces?
    Or will it have to resort to communism? so the country can rebuild and educate its people?

    The fact is Every County will fall soon the same way, so don't worry. We will all redefine poverty and rebuild together.
    In a way that will create and equalism among the world, thus creating world peace.
    • Jan 24 2013: Drake, the thing is that if one country "innovates and develops" then consequently, another country is repressed. You asked if Argentina can invent a new manufacturing style? I don't really ever see that happening. Here there is no industrial development. Truth is, we can't compete with the First World's manufactures. We depends on the imports of capital goods, which means we need to produce competitive manufactures to get a fair amount of foreign currencies for our imports. This has been Argentina's (and many other Latin American countries) problem over its whole history. We just rely on the exports of primary goods, like soy, in our case. There would need to be a close control of the Government in global trade to bring about an industrial expansion here, kind of like what Peron tried to do in the past (incentivating the industries to produce manufactured goods to be consumed IN the country, at the same time taxing the primary goods' exports to get the amount of dollars needed to support the industries).

      That is why we can't progress. It's an unequal commercial distribution between the developed and "manufacture-creator" countries, and the undeveloped, primary-products exporting countries. It is essential to ask ourselves, what will happen when we have no more primary goods to sell? Erosion is a problem for us, for other Latin American countries like Venezuela, they will eventually run out of oil...

      I must admit that if I had lived in the past, I would've been a communist. Now I'm not so sure, however, after seeing its results. It's a shame we can't have communism without a dictatorship... people just don't have freedom anymore. Besides, it is clear that Freedom should be preferred over Equality. Take Cuba, for example. The citizens don't like to live there. They're not free, they can't have ambitions...

      I'm not sure what would be right, but at least in my opinion, communism isn't the answer.
  • thumb
    Jan 17 2013: .
    Quit INVALID happiness and see.
    I believe it will do.

    (For INVALID happiness, see the 1st article, points 1-3, 14, at https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D&id=D24D89AE8B1E2E0D%21283&sc=documents)
  • Jan 15 2013: Dang it,
    I thought I was finished lamblasting government.
    Not so, there is a bit more I must write...

    As we age, and move into the world we become easily seduced by (the company store), those (clever government) offers of education now, on credit, for payment later. Or, we are seduced by (clever armed service recruiters and paid media), offers for risking life and limb now, in government made wars, for a promised education later.

    The offers of education now, on credit, give the government their chance to completely fool the people.

    Government first Borrows the Monies to lend to the Students and begins a Billing Process. Using
    creative accounting, those Bills become Accounts Receivables that themselves become a False-security
    for more Borrowing and then more Spending. This procedure, that results in a False Sense of Government Honesty and Integrity, and is copied by States, Counties, Cities, and Towns.
    Thus the "Paper Tiger" continues to grow fat and sassy...

    Our "Paper Tiger" is so successful, that world-wide, governments and businesses have copied it.
    Justices use Convicts by Billing them for criminal service previously rendered. Same deal.
    I am sure there are many more examples for anyone with a creative mind.

    The Postal Service without those Billings, to carry and deliver, would be out of business today.
    Government is a real "foot dragger" when it comes to swift collection. They never bother to update
    the Billing Addresses.
    ===
    No, your wrong, the accountants will claim. Am I ???
    It is all about a value system of honesty and integrity.

    Maybe we could sell Alaska back to Russia for cash...

    All Governments are Evil.

    I'm done.
  • Jan 15 2013: You may be right. How does this belief system support your personal happiness?
  • Jan 15 2013: What can governments do to end poverty in their countries?
    My answer may anger some. Governments can stop stealing the monies.
    ===

    Is a solution possible under capitalism?
    My answer may anger some. No, not in the USA, and I know of no other nation either.
    Capitalism is Congress born. The Corporate system of commerce with it's Limited Liability Laws,
    gives rise to corruption without legal peril.

    Corruption can not allow charity. Charity is a non-corrupt activity.

    Simply said. We are doomed.
    We will destroy our nation before we toast to death.
    • Jan 19 2013: The forces that compel nations and empires to rise and fall will allways be repeated, in endless cycle, thoughout history.
      • Jan 20 2013: Carlos, you are right as rain.

        We are now chained to our irrational fears, a fire kept burning by Presidents and Congress's who have peeled and chopped our citizen rights with their never-ending emergencies created to make Wars on other nation's shores, and their cunningly created Financial emergencies, designed to drain our Treasures.

        Not caused by you or me.

        I my lifetime I've watched the demise of this once great nation, it's peoples lulled, corruption spread, and freedom now but a memory.

        An endless cycle. I must agree.
  • Jan 15 2013: Mary M.

    Thank you for your response and feelings.
    I've spent the last several years commenting on the NY Times articles.

    Our political world since the 1960's has been on a downhill slide, and gathering steam.
    That puts me into a sector of oddballs that think the world is coming to a swift end.
    So be it. I won't shut up. The Moderator for the NY Times emailed me the other day.
    He had knocked off about 6 or 8 of my comments. Seems I get a bit too critical.

    Starvation in the Bangladesh area, and throughout much of Africa, was and is hard to take.
    My young daughter 35 years ago, without out telling me, gave her own money to
    a World-Wide Hunger Charity. I found out by accident. I was so proud.

    Our own nation, the USA, has a government today that solves every disagreement
    by making WAR on that foreign nation's shores. That will come back to bite us all.
    Secrets, Spies and technologies as an "edge" can be overcome by the better Lock-Smith.
    Looks like that's about to happen. I live in a rural area, and suggest others do the same.

    Also, I too was tempted to answer the debate questions posed at the top of this page
    with the simple words: nothing, and no!
    • Jan 15 2013: I believe that in many ways, individuals who are conscious of the state of affairs world wide can do something about it if they think hard enough, and take action.

      I have a friend who lived in Bangladesh for a while volunteering for an NGO. The stories she shared with me into the wee hours of the morning when she came to visit crushed my heart. People have accidents in the streets and are left there to die, it's like noone cares, they have acquiesced to the suffering. According to her account, there is also alot of political corruption in that country.
      Interestingly enough, we have begun to notice many individuals from Bangladesh moving into our community.....some are the owners of very popular businesses.

      And, as you noted, young people are moved when they see other children suffer hunger and starvation......but what happens as we get older?
  • Jan 15 2013: If the anything, I think it is a government's responsibility to impede those who would limit opportunities. I agree that the corporate structure is seriously flawed in ways that lead to endemic unethical behavior. If one were to apply Christian iconography to them, corporations could be seen as "The Beast"; a soulless entity who's sole purpose to devour and subvert. That's what happens when you blindly chase profits with no sense of social responsibility and it's what corporate managers are legally required to do. They must serve the best short term interest of the shareholders. Too, often the major shareholders are other corporations and the wheel turns again.

    I don't think that all governments are evil. I think they are a reflection of those who support them. For the most part, we get the government we ask for and that we deserve. The people have the power to change anything, but we're willing to trade freedom for comfort and complacency.

    I still believe that poverty is not the solution because it is relative. Talents, intellect, skills, etc. are not distributed democratically. As long as those are rare, those who possess them will be better rewarded, hence someone else will be less well rewarded. Those with the fewest or most common skills will be rewarded the least and will therefore be poor(er). That inequities exists is undeniable, but we need first to frame an ideal and then determine how best to bring it into being.
    • Jan 15 2013: David, you wrote,
      "I don't think that all governments are evil.
      I think they are a reflection of those who support them."

      Yes they are evil.
      If they were otherwise - the sad and bad things citizens today experience from contact with their
      governments, would not happen.

      If they were otherwise - the taxes collected would be returned in services to the worker
      citizens through healthcare, welfare, and home care, citizen's homes would carry
      allodial titles", free of any mortgage or other debt.

      If they were otherwise - They wouldn't pay the media to convince voters that there are
      only 2 real choices for voters to consider.

      If they were otherwise - They wouldn't use an archaic Justice system to imprison
      more US citizens than any other nation in the world.

      If they were otherwise - They wouldn't ignore the system of Checks and Balances
      that has all but disappeared.

      I would continue, but I tire of explaining the obvious.
  • Jan 11 2013: For some reason, I was reminded of the following statement I read somewhere when I read your question for debate:
    (Yes, I know, it is about hunger, and not poverty)

    "Eradicating hunger is more than a question of food production. It is estimated that farmers now produce sufficient food to feed 12 billion people—5 billion more than the current population of our planet. The issues are mainly problems related to economics, distribution, and waste."

    Don't you think that there are also underlying issues which are related to poverty?

    Do you really think humans have the power to end poverty, hunger, crime, war and diseases?
    We'll have to wait and see.
    • Jan 15 2013: While we wait --- Millions of humans, men, women, children, adults, elderly --- starve to death.
      • Jan 15 2013: I know.....very sad isn't it?

        We had a discussion the other day about how easily people in general forget other's misery.

        Many of the professionals I work with simply cannot stand any kind of talk about hunger or poverty.....they are too busy looking through fashion magazines, and picking out what restaurant they will try out on the weekend. They don't want to "think" about serious topics.......because they don't see themselves affected by them.

        What do you think? If humans had the power to end poverty, don't you think they would have done it when there were less people on the earth than now?

        I was tempted to answer the debate questions posed at the top of this page with the simple words: nothing, and no!
  • Jan 10 2013: Sorry Bob but in my opinion you have to be able to survive and even thrive in the environment in which you live. If you live in a super cold climate you have to know how to survive. If you live in a jungle you have to know the laws of the jungle. this is no different. How can you say that it is nonsense to understand how to survive the environment in which you live. Also if you are financially literate you will have the skills to raise some money. Example: I know some people that came from a very poor Caribbean island. They got jobs doing whatever they could and pooled their money together. They did this for a number of years and were soon able to open a convenience store, they then invested the money they earned from the store into real estate. They came here with nothing but they took the time to learn how the system works. I also understand how Americans have a different mentality than immigrants but can be taught and it happens all the time. In a country that prides itself on innovation, I don't see why it couldn't happen on a larger scale. The problem is that the will is not there to even try.
    • Jan 10 2013: Not every country is like the US. In some places, there is corruption in law enforcement, there is very little demand for goods and services due to collective poverty, and the system generally rewards the wealthy for simply being wealthy, when it is innovators that should be rewarded instead.
    • Jan 15 2013: Remember the island in the South Pacific.
      The one with the Totems pointed out to sea.

      The inhabitants cut down the trees and
      the island died.

      We inhabitants have learned to do that world-wide.

      There is little hope because we rule our lives wrongly.
      Thank God for short lifespans.

      Our grand-kids could soon be living in an oven of our creation.
      Parts of the world's populations will be there sooner than you think.
      No one has yet estimated how hot will get next century...
      Scary. When the water runs out it will crowded quickly.
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2013: Poverty in a country is prevalent due to lack of reforms to capture the problems subjecting to it.
    Important problem is Corruption.Getting rid of it completely is a possible task but none of the countries want to.
    The positive side of it is it will lead to growth in employment,infrastructure,resources etc which will result in the reduction of poverty on a very good scale.
    They may be other reforms too that need to be considered in order to get rid of the problem completely.
  • thumb
    Jan 7 2013: Giving people the rights and freedoms to take charge of their own lives might be a good start. Many people are in poverty because they have no right to complain or freedom to change their situation. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, many African countries come to mind, let's not forget China.

    Freedom for an individual to be on equal standing with any other individual is paramount to creating an environment for a person to move out of their living situation towards better conditions. People say that the US uses most of the oil and has the fewest people per capita but that is a testament to the effects of freedom and individual rights.

    Having a complete and intact manufacturing system did help to give us a hand up after WWII but we squandered any progress we may have made fighting the cold war. Now that the world is settling down and globalization is being created to a more sophisticated level, we need to accept the idea we may have to share resources and technology to prevent us from falling into the same trap that put us in WWII. Thankfully, technology has the answer and Natural Gas is the ticket.

    Climate change appears to be something we will have to adapt to rather than then manage. It would be nice if it was different but we have to accept the real facts of human nature.

    The trend is towards the decline of despotic ruling parties and towards a more democratic social climate on our planet. This is a path towards ending poverty and increasing efficiency and developing energy supplies that will carry us towards becoming a Class I Civilization. Capitalism, will just have to give way to some other process of balancing the needs of earth citizens with the available resources.

    Personally I think Corporate joiner-ship is the way to go. Everyone becoming part of their corporate group, with the ability to change groups if necessary. Each corporation would have one vote based on the majority vote of the whole corporation. It would be an easy international function.
    • Jan 9 2013: Indeed, the Poor have absolutely no freedom at all to change their situation. They are doomed to be like that for the rest of their lives. Now, how can you introduce to them the notion that "they can change their life"?

      I guess the only way is education, but most kids are forced to earn money for their family by asking for hand-outs. And that's a shame, because they can't go to school then. And if they did, without satisfying their basic needs, how can they be good students? That's why the Government helping them is not a bad idea in itself... but they usually do that as a way of clientelism, and they do little to improve the education system at the same time.

      But yes, I agree that if they knew they could change their position, they could make themselves be heard. It's a pity the victims are not conscious they are victims.

      And I liked what you said that "have to give way to some other process of balancing the needs of earth citizens with the available resources". Emphasis on available resources. If technology keeps on developing and we can go about without polluting the Earth, then there's no reason why all citizens cannot have and do the same things. We may not be able to have 7 billion fuel automobiles on the earth, but why not 7 billion electric cars? (lol that would be a mess, but you get my point).

      Oh, and could you expand a little bit on your Corporate joiner-ships idea? It sounds interesting.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: Coporate-joinership. Think of every individual belonging, working and living in close facility to the corporation they are a member of. The corporation is responsible for meeting the needs of all their employees. If the corp. manufactures a much needed item for industry and they can't make enough to meet the needs of their employees, the Corporate Central (The government) steps in with some help.

        Every corp would serve a vital function and all the corps would be duty bound to make sure everyone had a job with a basic wage. If the employees can come up with good ideas to expand the corp, they could be rewarded with bonuses.

        As an employee acquires more education, they can move about to another corp (make application) where they will live, work, etc. and perhaps make more money.

        The basic premiss is to give private enterprise the reins of our future and "bound" them with the responsibility to make sure everyone is cared for.

        If we had 1000 corporations in the US who employed everyone, each employee would have one corporate vote and the majorly of votes would signal the corp. one vote in the corp union (kinda like the electoral college we currently have). Making all votes equal assures equanimity.

        Such a scheme would divide the population according to abilities but still give everyone the same opportunity to evolve, or not, if they desire. There would be no Medicare, Social Security, etc. everything would be worked out, for the benefit of the citizens, by private corporate, industry.

        We might end up with poor corporations but the size of the problem would be scaled down to those small groups and the other corporations would be responsible to help alleviate any problems those groups incur.

        Think of us living one one life boat and expanding the boat fleet (as we can). Everyone is responsible to row the boat, looking for land (our new future).

        Before we can divide the problem and solve it we must put everyone in the same box and work our way out. We are scattered.
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: The only way to solve the population problem is to bring in the poor under one umbrella and take hold of their lives. All basic needs should be met. Freedom and democracy is a two edged sword. On one hand those who profit the most do so because they worked hard for it and had a good climate to climb the ladder, as well as the self motivation. It's simple really, free the mind and the body will follow.

        However, some people no matter how educated they are can't solve simple day to day life problems or have too many problems because of large family associations, etc. Because they feel bound to help the large family, they find themselves integrated back into the bounds of poverty.

        It is easier to keep the educated, free minded people working than it is for the uneducated and depressed of spirit. We have to put those dispirited people in a group, make sure their basic needs are met and work with them according to the resources at hand. With all these people spread out in different parts of the country, it's impossible (due to lack of resources) to work the problem out.

        We've tried this with housing projects but they always fail due to lack of proper management and help from the private sector. Today it is cheaper to immigrate someone who is skilled or educated and put them to work (immediately) as opposed to spending the money and taking the time to educate a local population. Hiring educated and skilled immigrants is becoming the norm in all countries. Trying to cover over the poor is also becoming the norm.

        If the poor are not willing to give up some of their freedom to live a managed life for a short while, I don't see any way to help them. We can just do what we are doing now..... ignore them if they are quiet and put them in jail if they act up.

        The problem is always the cost of helping someone who rebels against that help. Over time those who want to help get tired of the lack of success.
        • Jan 9 2013: Interesting to know! Great idea! Although I have some doubts about it... how do we make sure employee can satisfy all their needs with their salary? It's pretty much impossible to make EVERY corporation (dedicated to a different activity) give out the same wages to their workers, right?

          Take a Hospital, for example (Or whatever Institution that would focus on health care in this society). You would obviously need a high number of workers (doctors, nurses, the ones who do the cleaning) . Now think of a small business, say, a hairdresser's. My point is, how can you make sure these workers will all have enough to get by and be paid the same amount? Obviously, the hospital, as an organisation, might get a higher amount of money to distribute (if it all goes well) on account that its a Private Hospital, and say, that many people in our society are facing different health issues so it has a big clientele. Would the doctors be paid the same amount as the hairdressers?

          That's all I wanted to ask. But anyway, thanks for your contribution! Thumbs up! ♠ :)
    • thumb
      Jan 9 2013: Sounds good. But your idea disregards corruption of corporate and government leadership. There are also opposite ideas (anarchy) promoting abolition of all power structures. Corruption would bring that system down too.

      Then, there is the largest and the oldest corporation in the world - the church, that dwarfs any known government or business entity by size, age, and budget. It is supposed to oppose corruption, encourage care for the needy, etc. But even the church is not immune to corruption.

      We need to solve our own moral and economic problems, perhaps, even before solving other people's problems. "Kindness goes a long ways lots of times when it ought to stay at home." -- Kin Hubbard
      • thumb
        Jan 9 2013: Actually Mr. Grudzinsky, you have brought forth "THE" problem.

        We do need to solve our own problems in the USA, Europe, India, Asia, the Middle East. The sad side of this goal can be seen by simply asking,

        "How long will it take women in Saudi Arabia to be able to come out of their forced concealment in public and when will they be allowed to get a drivers Lic. and travel abroad without a male escort."

        Given the slow rate of change in that country I'd speculate a wild guess of somewhere around half to 3/4 of a century. That's well beyond my lifetime. The world I will see in my last days will not be the world you and I want to live in. It will still, generally, look pretty much as it does today. The gadgets may be more functional and stylish but Human nature will not change by much at all. It's human nature we need to focus on.

        How long will it take a large group of free minded, Liberal, humanistic, emphatic people to bond together world wide and exert some kind of influence that can't be ignored or stood against? The goal we seek is to become a Class I civilization. Such a civilization can feed everyone on the planet, provide health care for every human being and distribute ample energy without destroying our environment.

        When I think of how the world needs to change, I use this class I civilization idea as a marking point for how far we need to travel.

        However, I'm getting to old to play in the game. It's up to you and others in your generation to finish the job that is still a dream of my generation. I hope you understand the scope of your task --it is huge. But considering your words and the intelligence they imply, I think you can accomplish more than I ever dreamed of.

        You have a huge job ahead of you Mr. Arkady Grudzinsky. Good luck.
        • thumb
          Jan 9 2013: Re: "The gadgets may be more functional and stylish but Human nature will not change by much at all. It's human nature we need to focus on."

          This is my opinion too. Technology or science seem to be of little help here.

          Re: "The world I will see in my last days will not be the world you and I want to live in. It will still, generally, look pretty much as it does today."

          I protest!
          "Mudhole?! Slimy?! My home this is!" -- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back
          http://images.wikia.com/starwars/images/a/a5/Slimy_mudhole.ogg

          If we don't want to live in this world, where else do we want to live?

          Let's not forget that "human nature" is our nature. So, improving it should start from ourselves. Seeing each other, ourselves, and this world in a more positive way could be a good start :-)
  • 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?
  • 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..)
  • thumb
    Jan 4 2013: The best solution, under contemporary practice of capitalism, is the 'super' rich (those who exploit their nations for profit), creating futuristic careers. They will lose money, but begin modeling the world in a more humane fashion... Without the above slowly being integrated, parts of the world are going to begin to collapse. Before anything like a good future of/for humanity to exist, let alone any individual nation.

    By futuristic - green energy, bio-safe products, engineers, more public relation required, perhaps organic farming? Star Trek kind of thing.

    I usually think money conversations are essential. But the only animals we are aware of to judge good and evil... Many believe good and bad are just description ... They mean nothing existentially. Yes money is commonly seen as the square root of evil.

    My point is I agree with those who say evil and good are only description, money is not the problem.. The system that makes money powerful is something I would describe as evil. For we are mindless when working with it and it allows those who understand the money market system ... Know how to champion others monetarily.

    I stand with Aristotle more than Plato on government. There is no perfect system. There can be system perfect for the citizens though.


    The best thing to be is an individual who is well informed. Informed of the politics and how countries are working or fighting with another... Deciding for yourself what is really working out or not, globally.

    The further problem is... A lot of the normal citizens of the world are not informed. Takes effort and work... Dedication to be well informed.

    That's the biggest problem. Then whole bodies of people continue to be ill informed... Or not at all. Or have no idea what politics mean..

    No answer for this will be easy
  • thumb
    Jan 3 2013: It makes you sound like a real insensitive jerk to say a lot of these people need to take responsibility for their lives and make something of themselves -- get a job -- but in an economic world, if Spain wants success, that's the reality. But who the hell am I to say that? No one, that's who.
    • Jan 3 2013: Have you ever worked a 12 hour day? The Chinese do it 6 days per week, yet they still make much less money than you do, that's all because of a history they were not a part of.
      • thumb
        Jan 4 2013: I have worked a twelve hour day, staining decks in the hot sun. I got sunstroke and vomited. I feel great anguish for those poor souls. Do not make them a bargaining chip for your argument. I doesn't take long for humans to internalize oppression. That's incredibly sad, because it means that not only are poor, Chinese migrant workers being worked like dogs for abysmal pay, but their doing it without resistance. We -- the first countries to industrialize -- will always owe society's disenfranchised. We have created their human condition out of thin air by putting human lives above the rest. In southern Vermont, back in the 90s, they used to offer bounty's for coyotes because they were taking out all the rabbits. No one will deny earth is overpopulated and getting more so everyday, but it seems there is no solution. There is no fair way to systematically kill people who need to die because of choices they had no part in making. It seems this world is doomed, and so I see the next logical step in this throwaway culture we live in is not to try and save the world, no, but to use it up and abandon it, spacebound.
  • thumb
    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).
      • thumb
        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...
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to poverty eradication. This is one problem that can not be solved in our world as it is, because of the variety of flawed economic systems that are in operation.
    There is too much dependence on government, which is surprising, considering the hypocrisy and corruption; and then the tendency to believe that what is being offered by the school system is the totality of education.
    1. Intergrity and accountability should be demanded in public and private sectors of the economy.
    2. Education should be seen as a personal responsibility; that is, learners should build on what the school gives and apply such for societal impact.
    3. We have to discourage the societal tendency towards unbridled materialism.
    4. Where there is a will, there's a way; but if there is no willingness and sincerity in the search for solutions, then all the talk about poverty reduction will be futile.
    5. Poverty will not end; but we should keep trying to end it.
  • thumb
    Jan 2 2013: As you said, education is key. In my country we have a very similar problem and the government needs to somehow find a way to fund an extensive, quality education system.

    I personally think that to bring around such a system into play the gov. needs to somehow produce a "want" within the students to get a good education. We have hundreds of examples of children as young as 10 years old who walk over 10km to get to school on an empty stomach and then finally achieve their distinctions and can get a decent job. We need more students like that but the problem in my country is that most of the students do not take it seriously and end back up in poverty.

    If the government can create this "want" within these children, even if they cant extend their school network, then at least there will be a continual stream of kids who can escape the poverty cycle and before they are able to create this want they are need going to be able to break the cycle no matter how many schools they have

    I'm not sure if a similar problem exists in other countries but in mine this is a major issue
  • Jan 2 2013: Without assistance - Maybe it would be far worse.
  • Jan 2 2013: Argentina's real GDP is growing and it's gini coefficient is decreasing, so the people are getting less poor, though it's possible, in theory, the gains go to the middle class and not the poor. The same trend exists throughout Latin America. If Argentina wants to grow faster it needs to attract more foreign investment and tackle corruption, but if the current trend continues things should already be looking a lot better 10 years from now.

    Social democracy is a variant of capitalism that has reduced poverty greatly in the countries where this system is practiced (continental Europe, Latin America), but it's a tightrope walk : one second of not paying attention causes a return to capitalism's natural tendency to concentrate wealth in ever fewer hands.
    • Jan 2 2013: Well, I see your point, but that doesn't mean much. Especially because the State is not being entirely transparent. As you probably know, the country's been lying about its Inflation rate. According to the National Statistics Center (controlled by the Govt.), the country's inflation rate in 2012 was 9.7%. According to private entities, the real inflation rate was about 25% for 2012. (If you don't believe me, here's the source of a renowned media group: http://www.infobae.com/notas/689154-Argentina-cierra-2012-como-el-pais-con-mayor-inflacion-de-America-del-Sur.html). So, that's something to take into account. Both Nominal & Real GDP are overestimated. Furthermore, most of Argentina's GDP is based on consumption (and helped by soy's exports). Again, if you want to check, here's a recent article (http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1420635-la-industria-local-es-mas-ensamble-que-fabricacion) which shows how there's practically no national industry, it's mainly about mounting and assembly different imported products in the country.

      Now, another reason why I believe poor people aren't getting out of this soon, is because education is a mess. While the Govt. rejoices that it's being "more social inclusive" and that it's getting "more and more kids educated", the overall quality of the public education system is a mess. Some children are in secondary schools and they don't know how to read or write. (Take this report from the IDB: http://www.iadb.org/res/laresnetwork/files/pr294finaldraft.pdf). Teachers go on strike many times during a year, which results in many school-days lost...

      I agree we HAVE TO tackle corruption... but anyway, we're maybe getting a bit out of topic here.

      The thing is, what can we do to stop poverty? Economic growth alone is not enough... China is doing very well, but they still have lots to do on social issues
      • Jan 2 2013: It's possible Argentina is cooking the books, like Greece did, but nevertheless their GDP is growing and that means people could at least use foreign currencies to increase their spending power. In general though, South America is on the right track by following the continental European model that has produced more equal, happy and stable societies than the American system where people go bankrupt and become homeless from medical bills if they git hit by a car.

        Education is key to future economic growth as is diversification of the economy through foreign investment.

        @below

        Now that you mention it, I did read about that dollar embargo, can you still get euros or Brazilian reals? Anyway, Brazil seems to be on the righ track and they came from a deeper hole too, maybe Kirchner should ask Rousseff for advice when it comes to foreign investment.
        • Jan 2 2013: Yeah, I agree. But we're definitely not going that way: we're lacking foreign investment (after YPF's nationalization, who would invest here?) AND quality education. In fact, I don't know if you knew, but funnily enough, people are not able to exchange argentine currency for dollars (to keep as savings) since 2011 (only the ones travelling can do so) which is the most stable international currency. So they actually can't increase their spending power.

          Source - Check it out: http://www.economist.com/node/21556273