Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 11:24 am

Is it possible for the human race to get rid of poverty altogether?

It has been done in small countries (North Europe and Singapore comes to mind) and resource rich countries (Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates .. only 7% of population of UAE are Emiratis .. and they get free education, healthcare, plum jobs after college, free land and housing, marriage expenses etc .. Saudi Arabia must be similar being next door and wealthier)

But it has not happened in any large country (population at least few dozen million)

There are two aspects to this -

A ) Poverty in undeveloped and developing countries

India is set to overtake China as the most populous nation soon but at current rate India will have peak population of 1.7 billion in 2060 and then it will start to decline .. this is one place where prediction will come true since all around me I can see people having one child by choice .. Even if the world population stabilizes at around 9 billion how can everyone be provided with a job, a house, a retirement plan?

Every citizen of India, Brazil, China, Philippines aspiring to even most basic First World amenities will cause environment to collapse and oil to go to $400 per barrel (thus sending the whole world into economic chaos)

B ) Poverty in developed countries

Leave aside USA and the problem of homeless people using Starbucks restrooms .. upper 1% in Germany holds a personal wealth of at least 800,000 euros ($1.09 million), whilst over 25% of all adults have either no wealth or negative wealth due to debt. That is startling.

About Europe in general -
Unequal distribution of wealth surpasses that of income. The 10 % of wealthiest households hold 50% of total wealth; the 40 % least wealthy own little over 3 %.

https://www.oecd.org/els/soc/cope-divid ... report.pdf
Europe consists of some of the world's finest countries not only in terms of wealth and GDP per capita but very little corruption, educated and sincere civil servants, an active and vocal civil society .. and they cannot get rid of poverty .. how can USA or Brazil do so?

Even Canada has 5 - 9% poor and 1% of its population is homeless.

Should we accept once and for all that poverty is going to be there .. that it cannot be wiped out entirely?

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 12:11 pm

This depends on what is meant by the term poverty. Although some on the left of the political spectrum deny it, I think that Absolute Poverty (i.e. deprivation of the most basic material needs required for maintenance of life) has been largely eradicated in Western Europe. Conversely, it will probably be impossible to get rid of Relative Poverty, as this - howsoever defined as a social construct - is approaching what we mean by the term "inequality". The sociological use of the term "poverty" has (from its beginnings in Victorian Britain) been moving steadily from absolute to relative conceptions.

Generally, I think a viable Buddhist approach is to focus upon the alleviation of absolute poverty, and to subsume relative poverty under the type of suffering based on views and thinking.

User avatar
budo
Posts: 538
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by budo » Sat May 26, 2018 12:30 pm

No it isn't because resources are finite, also you need to define poverty since the definition has changed in the past 50 years. Is not owning a cell phone considered being in poverty? Are monks in poverty?

If you define poverty as lack of clean water, shelter and basic food, then yes this could be solved with automation but it won't due to bad ideologies and religions populating 50% of the world.

Even if we had the means, human beings are still very corrupted, you cannot even coexist among many of them without being coerced into their religion, let alone provide necessities. There are even some African tribes that think albinos are witches and have magical properties so they hunt them, let alone the some parts of the Islamic world where people are losing limbs over breaking Qur'anic rules, and I'm not even scratching the surface with corrupt dictatorships runned by people like Maduro or Erdogan, who deprive and torture those who oppose them.

So no, at this time poverty is not solvable even if we had the means. As long as there are humans there will be poverty.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 12:48 pm

I will define poverty as lacking in any one or more of the below -

i ) nutrition ≥ 2000 calories a day for every member of family

ii ) adequate and reasonable shelter

iii ) access to drinking water

iv ) availability of free education up to Class 10 or O level

v ) healthcare where basic surgeries (e.g. gall stone removal) are free or easily affordable through insurance

25% Germans do not have access to at least one of the above (since they have zero or negative wealth)

It cannot be much better in any other Western country (Germany is as near to perfect nation as one can get)

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 12:56 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 12:48 pm
I will define poverty as lacking in any one or more of the below -

i ) nutrition ≥ 2000 calories a day for every member of family

ii ) adequate and reasonable shelter

iii ) access to drinking water

iv ) availability of free education up to Class 10 or O level

v ) healthcare where basic surgeries (e.g. gall stone removal) are free or easily affordable through insurance

25% Germans do not have access to at least one of the above (since they have zero or negative wealth)

It cannot be much better in any other Western country (Germany is as near to perfect nation as one can get)

:namaste:
The answer depends on what political choices we would want to make, and who would make the decisions. But given those criteria, I would think we could eradicate poverty almost immediately if everyone were of like mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/ ... dit-suisse

The problem is not material, but political and administrative. It would need something like world government or regulation, in my humble opinion. For individuals who hold the power, the question is whether they would be willing to live under any form of regime which could deliver your above criteria.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 1:13 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 12:56 pm
No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 12:48 pm
I will define poverty as lacking in any one or more of the below -

i ) nutrition ≥ 2000 calories a day for every member of family

ii ) adequate and reasonable shelter

iii ) access to drinking water

iv ) availability of free education up to Class 10 or O level

v ) healthcare where basic surgeries (e.g. gall stone removal) are free or easily affordable through insurance

25% Germans do not have access to at least one of the above (since they have zero or negative wealth)

It cannot be much better in any other Western country (Germany is as near to perfect nation as one can get)

:namaste:
The answer depends on what political choices we would want to make, and who would make the decisions. But given those criteria, I would think we could eradicate poverty almost immediately if everyone were of like mind.

https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/ ... dit-suisse

The problem is not material, but political and administrative. It would need something like world government or regulation, in my humble opinion. For individuals who hold the power, the question is whether they would be willing to live under any form of regime which could deliver your above criteria.
To make enough cement for building 2.5 billion or so small "huts" (200 sq ft) to house the poor in Asia and Africa and South America .. to grow enough food to provide 2000 calories a day (not provide high fructose corn syrup) .. would drive oil prices through the roof

Oil has moved from $20 to 140 to 70 in last 30 years because 20-40% of Indians and Chinese have purchased small 200 liter refrigerators (and tiny 150 cc motorcycles) .. same price rise for steel, copper etc

As the very poor move up (criteria i to v above) the lower middle class will want to move up too .. from 200 liter to 350 liter double door refrigerators .. from 150 cc bikes to 1300 cc hatchbacks

No one can tell the lower middle class .. you stay static .. while those 10 times poorer than you attain your standard of living

So everyone will move up one notch up the ladder .. and the world will need more butter, more meat, more of everything

That cannot happen .. there simply is not enough resources .. not enough cows to milk .. not enough lambs to butcher

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
budo
Posts: 538
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 12:16 am
Location: The world

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by budo » Sat May 26, 2018 1:45 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 12:48 pm
I will define poverty as lacking in any one or more of the below -

i ) nutrition ≥ 2000 calories a day for every member of family

ii ) adequate and reasonable shelter

iii ) access to drinking water

iv ) availability of free education up to Class 10 or O level

v ) healthcare where basic surgeries (e.g. gall stone removal) are free or easily affordable through insurance

25% Germans do not have access to at least one of the above (since they have zero or negative wealth)

It cannot be much better in any other Western country (Germany is as near to perfect nation as one can get)

:namaste:
Economically speaking Switzerland is the nearest perfect country one could get, followed by Norway. Switzerland has the highest average wages, and highest purchasing power. Switzerland also has less taxes than most of the world, around 20-25~ income tax, which is way lower than the US, and some canons have no property taxes. It's more capitalistic than the US as well.

Purchasing power = average wage - average cost of living

A swiss citizen can pretty much retire anywhere they want on the planet because of the wealth they generate.

Norway is well off because of their government oil fund, otherwise they would have been a poor country, but you have to reward them intelligence points for not burning through the cash due to corruption and instead investing it wisely.

The way things are going though with the EU, immigration, brain drain, etc.. I think Germany will drop in rank across the board. German culture is being replaced and the original German culture is one of hard work, quality and innovation, this will soon disappear as well.

Honestly if I could choose specifically where to be reborn as a lay non-buddhist I would choose a secular non-religious family in Norway or Canada. As a buddhist I would probably choose Myanmar, Sri Lanka or Singapore.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 1:54 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:13 pm

To make enough cement for building 2.5 billion or so small "huts" (200 sq ft) to house the poor in Asia and Africa and South America .. to grow enough food to provide 2000 calories a day (not provide high fructose corn syrup) .. would drive oil prices through the roof

Oil has moved from $20 to 140 to 70 in last 30 years because 20-40% of Indians and Chinese have purchased small 200 liter refrigerators (and tiny 150 cc motorcycles) .. same price rise for steel, copper etc

As the very poor move up (criteria i to v above) the lower middle class will want to move up too .. from 200 liter to 350 liter double door refrigerators .. from 150 cc bikes to 1300 cc hatchbacks

No one can tell the lower middle class .. you stay static .. while those 10 times poorer than you attain your standard of living

So everyone will move up one notch up the ladder .. and the world will need more butter, more meat, more of everything

That cannot happen .. there simply is not enough resources .. not enough cows to milk .. not enough lambs to butcher

:namaste:
Yes, that's my point. We could do it in principle, but in practice the political choices seem insurmountable. Of course, more optimistic politicians and economists would argue that we don't need to replicate concrete dwellings, meat and dairy based diets, high oil consumption, and upward social mobility to maintain status differentials. Attempting to have more of the same Western-style affluence is probably catastrophic, but the question is whether the relevant populations can be persuaded. The less palatable option is that they are forced. And the last option is that they are eliminated, by others or by "natural" disasters that we have caused.

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 2:07 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:54 pm
Attempting to have more of the same Western-style affluence is probably catastrophic, but the question is whether the relevant populations can be persuaded. The less palatable option is that they are forced. And the last option is that they are eliminated, by others or by "natural" disasters that we have caused.
Therein lies the rub. How can there be affluence .. unless it is Western style affluence .. a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage?

It is the only type there is. Before industrial revolution there was no mass scale affluence .. and it is the only model of affluence that we have

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 2:17 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:07 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:54 pm
Attempting to have more of the same Western-style affluence is probably catastrophic, but the question is whether the relevant populations can be persuaded. The less palatable option is that they are forced. And the last option is that they are eliminated, by others or by "natural" disasters that we have caused.
Therein lies the rub. How can there be affluence .. unless it is Western style affluence .. a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage?

It is the only type there is. Before industrial revolution there was no mass scale affluence .. and it is the only model of affluence that we have

:namaste:
Agreed. We need to invent new types of affluence. Maybe soya in every pot, and a bamboo bike in the garage? I'm no economist, but you get the picture.

(Edit)

Maybe that's the same as saying we need to make what is now relative poverty more desirable...

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 2:28 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:17 pm
Agreed. We need to invent new types of affluence. Maybe soya in every pot, and a bamboo bike in the garage? I'm no economist, but you get the picture.

(Edit)

Maybe that's the same as saying we need to make what is now relative poverty more desirable...
No sir .. they all want crown roast of pork with cranberries :smile:

Image

At least now they have the dream and they think one day they will be eating crown roast .. the first one to take that dream away and show them a bamboo bike will get beheaded faster than he can say Louis XVI

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 2:46 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:28 pm

No sir .. they all want crown roast of pork with cranberries :smile:

Image

:namaste:
:rofl:

Well, I'm vegan, so please take that disgusting thing away and give it to someone more deserving!

:anjali:

User avatar
No_Mind
Posts: 1911
Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:12 pm
Location: India

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by No_Mind » Sat May 26, 2018 3:32 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 2:46 pm
Well, I'm vegan, so please take that disgusting thing away and give it to someone more deserving!
Well then paneer (tofu) tikka masala for you (I believe tikka masala is a familiar phrase to you)

Image

Big problem being a kilo of it costs INR 200 and a kilo of boneless chicken INR 220

Veg food is not not necessarily cheaper. That tofu can cost as much as boneless chicken would have been unthinkable few years back.

:namaste:
I know one thing: that I know nothing

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 11871
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, Estados Unidos de América
Contact:

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by DNS » Sat May 26, 2018 3:49 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 11:24 am
It has been done in small countries (North Europe and Singapore comes to mind)
Northern Europe and Western Europe still have poverty, but at a lesser rate than the U.S.
https://www.statista.com/statistics/233 ... countries/

Singapore has poverty too, they are just good at hiding it.
Singapore is one of the world’s wealthiest countries per capita, but its Gini coefficient (a standardized measure of inequality) is unusually high among developed countries. Singapore is also unusual in spending comparatively little on social programs, although subsidized public housing is nearly universally enjoyed among citizens.

The government has not set an official poverty line, and official poverty-related statistics are limited. Despite the absence of official statistics, there is ample anecdotal and indirect statistical evidence that poverty is a serious problem in Singapore.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_o ... Inequality

Should we accept once and for all that poverty is going to be there .. that it cannot be wiped out entirely?
Unfortunately, this might be true, but we can try and limit it to the lowest possible levels via a mixed-economy, avoiding the extremes of socialism/communism and all its failures and corruption and the other extreme of laisez-faire un-regulated capitalism.

There is a conservative argument that if someone could push a magic button and make everyone have equal income, equal wealth, equal in just about every monetary way; then inequality would come back within a year and the process would start immediately (different levels of ambition, work ethic, corruption, cronyism, etc).

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 4487
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm
Location: Sussex, U.K.

Re: Is it at all possible to get rid of poverty entirely?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat May 26, 2018 3:57 pm

No_Mind wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 3:32 pm


Well then paneer (tofu) tikka masala for you (I believe tikka masala is a familiar phrase to you)

Big problem being a kilo of it costs INR 200 and a kilo of boneless chicken INR 220

Veg food is not not necessarily cheaper. That tofu can cost as much as boneless chicken would have been unthinkable few years back.

:namaste:
That's more like it! Tikka Masala has a good claim to be one of our national dishes, although "paneer" at an Indian restaurant is almost invariably a dairy-based cheese. (And, of course, most "Indian" restaurants/takeaways in the UK, except upmarket ones, are really Bangladeshi).

I think most veg. food is cheaper; at least I often see those articles on the extravagance of feeding soy to beef cattle, etc. I also guess one important way to bring prices down is to grow more near the point of consumption. In many countries where the economy is doing badly, people have to do that to survive.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 72 guests