TED Conversations

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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

    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 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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.