poverty alleviation

Poverty reduction is a term that describes the promotion of economic growth that will permanently lift as many people as possible over a poverty line. Poverty is the state of human beings who are poor. That is, they have little or no material means of surviving— food, shelter, clothes, healthcare, education, and other physical means of living and improving one’s life. Some definitions of poverty, are relative, rather than absolute, poverty reduction would not be considered to apply to measures which resulted in absolute decreases in living standards, but technically lifted people out of poverty. Poverty reduction measures, like those promoted by Henry George in his economics classic Progress and Poverty are those that raise, or are intended to raise, enabling the poor to create wealth for themselves as a means for ending poverty forever. In modern times, various economists within the georgism movement propose measures like the land value tax to enhance access by all to the natural world. Some people undertake voluntary poverty due to religious or philosophical beliefs. For example, Christian monks and nuns take a “vow of poverty” by which they renounce luxury. Poverty reduction measures have no role in regard to voluntary poverty. Poverty reduction measures and other attempts to change the economies of modern hunter-gatherers are not addressed in this article. Hunter-gatherers, also called “foragers” live off wild plants and animals, for example, the Hadza people of Tanzania and the Bushmen of southern Africa. Theirs is a special case in which their poverty relative to the developed countries is intertwined with their traditional way of life. Governmental attempts to modernize the economies of the Hadza people, the Bushmen, and other hunter-gatherers have resulted in political, legal, and cultural controversies. They have often met with failure. Poverty occurs in both developing countries and developed countries. While poverty is much more widespread in developing countries, both types of countries undertake poverty reduction measures. Poverty has historically been accepted in some parts of the world as inevitable as non-industrialized economies produced very little while populations grew almost as fast making wealth scarce. Geoffrey Parker wrote that “In Antwerp and Lyon, two of the largest cities in western Europe, by 1600 three-quarters of the total population were too poor to pay taxes, and therefore likely to need relief in times of crisis.” Poverty reduction, or poverty alleviation, has been largely as a result of overall economic growth. Food shortages were common before modern agricultural technology and in places that lack them today, such as nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation methods. The dawn of industrial revolution led to high economic growth, eliminating mass poverty in what is now considered the developed world. World GDP per person quintupled during the 20th century. In 1820, 75% of humanity lived on less than a dollar a day, while in 2001, only about 20% do. Today, continued economic development is constrained by the lack of economic freedoms. Economic liberalization requires extending property rights to the poor, especially to land. Financial services, notably savings, can be made accessible to the poor through technology, such as mobile banking. Inefficient institutions, corruption and political instability can also discourage investment. Aid and government support in health, education and infrastructure helps growth by increasing human and physical capital. Poverty alleviation also involves improving the living conditions of people who are already poor. Aid, particularly in medical and scientific areas, is essential in providing better lives, such as the Green Revolution and the eradication of smallpox. Problems with today’s development aid include the high proportion of tied aid, which mandates receiving nations to buy products, often more expensive, originating only from donor countries. Nevertheless, some believe (Peter Singer in his book The Life You Can Save) that small changes in the way each of us in affluent nations lives our lives could solve world poverty.