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.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.