TED Conversations

Questions First

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

What are we ready to do to eradicate poverty?

Does our comfortable life depend on other people's poverty? A worker in Bangladesh is paid 18 cents per hour so we can have the clothes we need. Of course, retailers' profit margins can be up to 500% or more. Decide to pay more and/or companies to reduce their profits, would definitely help a lot with eradicating poverty, but are we willing to do it?

This is just an examples, of course, A more general question would be: are we ready to make sacrifices to eradicate poverty? If yes, what kind of sacrifices would you make (or maybe you made already)?

0
Share:
progress indicator
  • Comment deleted

    • thumb
      Jun 23 2013: I agree with LaMar. It is far more effective to give someone the skills to earn money than giving money. And living intelligently with a lighter footprint and less energy consumption is not a sacrifice at all.
  • thumb
    Jun 24 2013: Jesus says, "you will always have the poor among you."
    It may be hard or even impossible to eradicate poverty because capitalism is all about more money for a few people. But we can reduce poverty by showing concern and empathising with the poor.We should then put our money where our mouth is, and give generously to charities,orphanages and corporate social resposibility projects.
    Multinationals should adopt Bill Gates' Creative capitalism paradigm.
    Even if we do not win, we will be sure we've tried our best.
  • Jun 24 2013: fallacious question, poverty can not be eradicated, the first step in finding a solution to a problem is knowing if the problem can be solved.
  • thumb
    Jun 24 2013: Just know one thing, Poverty is a product of scarcity (not enough to go around) that our economic system perpetuates. Think about it, the ever need for more and more consumption, so that GDP and GNP rises every year is why corporations exploit 3rd world nations and their already impoverished people the way they do (not to mention even its own citizens). But not because their "evil", or "immoral", but simply because our economic system amplifies scarcity, and the more price-cuts a corporation can make on workers or products/distribution, the more they will be rewarded in the market place.

    So the inherent problem is not because companies are not cutting their profits or anything like that, the problem is the foundation of our economic system, it was created and principled by people like Adam Smith, John Lock, and Milton Freedman, all whom had the intuition that scarcity was real, and that some people naturally could acquire more than others. Adam Smith called this the "free market" - which is in itself an economic model made to benefit capital owners, and there was a life-blindness to a majority of people who would have to live poor and work hard just to make ends meet, and Adam Smith called them "the race of laborers" in his doctrine "the wealth of nations"
  • Jun 24 2013: I would eliminate the final 'will' transference of wealth upon death to living family members.
    As we have a social security fund to guarantee elders do not want, the reverse could be designed.
    Accumulated wealth could be returned to society without geographical borders to hinder it's passage.

    To get it started would be a bit tough to do. But watching the shock to heirs would be hilarious.
  • thumb
    Jun 23 2013: i think that many people are willing to make sacrifices to help raise others out of poverty. there will always be those who believe that poverty is the fault of the poor people themselves.

    unfortunately, i also think that corporations and governments are not prepared to reduce profit margins or limit profiteering in order to eradicate poverty.
    • thumb
      Jun 24 2013: .
      Actually, people need not "make sacrifice"
      if they know what invalid (harmful) happiness is.
      .
  • thumb
    Jun 23 2013: Do away with the global, one-world model for commerce. Do not allow products to be purchased in a nation having a per capita income, or lawful minimum wage, more than (?) times higher or lower than the producing nation. That would eliminate the "exploitation" of cheap laborers. But, don't seek pre-approval from those laborers because they do not want to lose the 18 cents-per-hour that is allowing them to feed their children one meager meal a day. But wait, that doesn't eliminate poverty, quite the contrary. OK. . . Plan B, keep paying 18 cents per hour to the workers making stuff to be purchased by far-away people who earn at least 70 times that much per hour. If that succeeds economically the workers will organize and demand a higher wage. The manufacturers will then go looking for an economy where people will work for less, and so on ad infinitum.
  • Jun 23 2013: I think steps towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance will help reduce the demand for certain products. Similarly, if we stop trying to define ourselves by what we wear and our possessions, then the demand for these things would be reduced. Both of these thoughts lead more towards a focus of what is truly needed to sustain life, and an austere lifestyle. This may help reduce some of the corporate exploitation of workers, and reduce the control corporations have on your life, but may not do much to solve the poverty problem.

    To seek a global balance of wages and presumably quality of life, governments need to be involved, such as Mr. Alexander mentioned below. Does 28 cents an hour provide a reasonable lifestyle where it is being earned? By this I mean, if you provide your own food, shelter and clothing from materials available locally, and there is nothing that you can buy with 29 cents an hour that makes a difference, then is it that big of an issue? Does the government provide these workers things that workers in more developed placed must pay for? Are they even available? There are some bigger questions.

    Whether governments or corporations are the benefactors of money saved by denied human and workers' rights, the exploitation of the misfortune of people trapped by circumstances is sort of an on-going global economic leverage. I think it is dynamic, meaning it will tend to change to correct the problem, but these are slow changes.

    The basic problem is the strong taking advantage of the weak. This gets to the nature of man. A competition based world-wide economy is just an extension of this characteristic.

    I think reducing your need for products that can be easily exploited by governments or corporations, living an austere lifestyle and trying to help improve worldwide workers rights will all lead to reducing poverty, but at a slow pace.

    We need to change the nature of man to care more for global equality than personal quality of life to eradicate it.
    • thumb
      Jun 24 2013: .
      .
      Yes!

      "Living an austere lifestyle and trying to help improve worldwide workers rights will all lead to reducing poverty"!

      Why we do not take the easiest way as follows?

      (1)
      Quit all invalid (harmful) happiness
      making about 90% of total happiness.
      (saving about 90% resources)

      (2)
      The "poverty" disappears spontaneously.


      (from Be Happy Validly!).


      .
  • thumb
    Jun 23 2013: It is clear that most people have compassion and will help others if given the opportunity.
    I can't see any problem there.

    But it is not simple people that are causing the poverty - it is the systems we tolerate.

    If, for example, corporations were all re-defined to have responsibility for externalities, tehn poverty would be solved wherever the corporation did business.

    The system of nation-states is a different matter. A nation state might well decide to induce poverty in another state it sees as a threat. So a nation state would have to grapple with long term outcomes .. this might change constitutions to, for example, extend electoral terms or maintain long term social projects. Functioning democracy would probably achieve this, but there are no functional democracies to use as an example.

    Tribal dynamics might also be looked at. I am not exactly sure what can be done there .. but it might involve trade.
  • thumb
    Jun 23 2013: The alternative is to have them working on the farms barely surviving. They are better off doing what they are doing now. As they acquire skills their income will improve. Charity will just make it worse.
  • thumb
    Jun 23 2013: . .
    .
    Yes!
    We are ready,
    except to quit invalid (harmful) happiness.

    It is to quit, not “sacrifice”.


    (from Be Happy Validly!)