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What's the most dire social issue in the world? How can individuals & mass groups affect change? Can programs be effectively implemented?

I feel like poverty is a huge social issue. I feel like individuals in the position of power are the only individuals that can make an immediate impact. A person with power can influence other people to support their cause. For example, if Oprah issued a challenge to McDonalds, Burger King, Subways ect. and other fast food chains to open restraunts in Africa and to feed the children of Africa for one year; if the challenge is accepted it would be a huge immediate impact on poverty. I do feel like every individual can make a difference. But when you feel like you have no power, or actually have no power then you need to join a group, then the mass of the group will have power. I think that programs can be sucessfully implemented as long as their is support from the public. If more people in the world feel that poverty in Africa is a social issue we can not ignore that the amount of people that decide to turn a blind eye to Africa, then something should be done to help poverty in Africa. If poverty is abolished in Africa, the world will be a better place.

  • Feb 28 2011: Annette, everything you say is correct, but I'm guessing you are young and have not yet lived long enough to see that BILLIONS of dollars have been pumped into places like Africa over the last 100 years with almost no discernible impact on poverty. The problem is not one of providing more food, it is one of stabilizing political systems in a continent that is, essentially, tribal. No democratic country in the world suffers from ongoing poverty; it is only dictatorships and corruptly governed countries where it is a continuing problem. On top of that, it is an immensely complex problem. DDT was banned years ago because it killed birds; but in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of people in Africa have died of malaria, which DDT was very effective in preventing. Genetically modified crops could be grown in hundreds of places in Africa, but the anti-GM lobby in the US has been so effective that the companies who have the technology are scared of offending their home crowd, so do nothing in Africa. People in the United States are concerned about carbon dioxide "emissions" and the country's reliance on foreign oil, so they lobby to have ethanol incorporated into gasoline, but diverting huge amounts of corn to ethanol has created a world shortage and has pushed prices up, hurting people in poor places like Africa the most. And so on, and so on. Nobody can argue with you that abolishing poverty in Africa would make the world a better place, but don't hold your breath waiting for it to happen.