the baby and the bathwater


I don’t get it
September 27, 2008, 7:51 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I just don’t get it.

Apparently solving world poverty is unachievable because it is too expensive. The poverty line is people living off less than $1.25 per day, of which there are 1.4 billion (source, the world bank, August 2008).

In the UK alone the average bonus to bankers was just under £200k last year. Adding up to around £40 billion.

The USA can (nearly) agree a $700b rescue package for a group of over-paid bankers.

Am I being stupid? I know it’s some 20 years ago since I got my maths desgree, but even I can do the sums.

And they don’t add up.

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5 Comments so far
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…and look how quickly the world acts to sort out the ‘credit crisis’ when we have millions dying due to lack of food…

We get governments moving at the speed of light (ish) to allow us to continue to fill up our gas guzzlers. to have Sky +, to have super fast internet, to shop at Cav House, to have the latest iPhone, to get a new kitchen (cause the current one doesn’t match our new dishwasher)….but when millions live on nothing we move at the speed of a snail…

I wonder what God thinks about our priorities?

Comment by Andy

It’s a travesty. The greed of big business not only means that the poor are punished by profiteering and margins (particularly the Walmarts and Tescos of this world), but that free economics can’t take their course when banks have acted without commercial integrity (so they have to be bailed out). I could get really angry about this.

Comment by kevvo_b

It’s not just rescuing the bankers is it tho… effects us too – the rich bankers have our homes, pensions, savings etc in their hands.

But, your point stands – if we really wanted to we could wipe out poverty. That we don’t exposes something really dark about us.

Comment by dave bish

Jumping on this a bit late – but only because I have been revising for a socio-economics exam (true story!).

I would just add on this point that redistributing wealth on that scale would not automatically solve the poverty problem.

Poverty is not just a funtion of income – it’s about vulnerability, distribution of assets, the productivity of those assets and entitlements (claims to services such as healthcare). Poverty also persists because of poor co-ordination of investment (no-one will build the hosptial until someone agrees to build the road, and no-one will build the road until the power lines are up.

Read this bloke
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amartya_Sen – looked at why poeple starve even when there is surplus food in society.

But I agree in principle – sometimes the simple maths is the best way to go – the basic morality of an issue can get lost in the complexity. Poeple used to say you couldn’t end slavery as it would undermine the socio-economic fabric of society, but poeple just kept on saying “sorry, no, this is wrong”. Which is what we need to do.

Comment by MattCrossman

Matt – totally agree – you put it very well.

The latest figures for the UK are that this could cost every tax payer around £2,000. It just shows to me that when people say ‘solving world poverty is too expensive’ what they are really saying is ‘it’s not that high on my priority list’.

Comment by Neil Bennetts




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