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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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  • Jan 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.

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