Global Poverty vs United States Poverty

Homeless People Lying by Doorway

Defining Poverty

Each country’s government gathers information, as well as the World Bank that conducts their own surveys.

The World bank uses a method that collects information on household income then divides it by the household members. It is measured against the costs of food clothing and shelter. This method has been debatable by some, as it doesn’t account for other factors such as the needs of males/females, adults/children. Some argue that using this measurement as a marker disqualifies people that could benefit from anti-poverty programs. The largest concentration of people living in poverty, live in sub–Saharan Africa.

The updated version of the World Bank poverty lines is based on grouping the countries into low-income countries, medium income countries and high-income countries.

Low Income Countries Middle Income Countries Upper Middle-Income Countries High Income Countries
$1.91 per person each day $3.21 per person each day $5.48 per person each day $21.70 per person each day

 

In the United States the Census Bureau using the Consumer Price Index has determined the poverty rate to be $34.96 a day or $12,760.40 a year per person. Anyone earning less than this is in extreme poverty and cannot afford the necessities of life such as food, clothing, or shelter.

Countries that have reduced or escaped poverty

Although most poverty can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa, many countries within Africa have reduced poverty, some by almost half. There are several other countries that have been successful in reducing poverty like China, India, and Vietnam, to name a few.

It may be a surprise, but Norway and Singapore were once impoverished countries and today they have escaped poverty. Other countries that have escaped poverty are South Korea, Bolivia, Ghana. Here is a list of 10 countries that were once poor, but are now rich

Norway Switzerland
Luxembourg Ireland
Spain Singapore
Saudi Arabia South Korea
Qatar Brunei

 

Political Philosophies Solving World Poverty

Importance of understanding political philosophies is vital. Without a proper knowledge of these philosophies our government structure could become one that doesn’t have the best interest of the people. For those that are bored by politics, the very disinterest and noninvolvement of the masses has been why some countries have fallen to totalitarian regimes.

I have been politically active since I was 19 years old. I was a poll watcher at that age and have been a delegate in many elections throughout the years. I have also done legislative research for over 16 years for National Write Your Congressman. In my experience I have conversed with many people that have a misunderstanding of what the many different political philosophies stand for and why I have decided to include this topic. A country’s government structure is what determines who prospers and who doesn’t. If you want to prosper, you need to become politically active.

Let’s discuss some of the different philosophies. For simplicity, they are listed in alphabetical order, and I will not be listing all philosophies as they are numerous, and many have branches within the philosophy.

  1. Anarchism would abolish any governing body that would compel or force the people to abide by a set of standards. Instead, society would volunteer through cooperating. It is favored by people that do not want to be told what to do by a ruler. They do not want authority figures; they do not want to be ruled by a hierarchy.
  2. Authoritarianism, most understand that this means strict obedience to authority, what most do not know is that it means having no concern for others needs or desires at their own expense and losing freedoms.
  3. Communism is the philosophy most get wrong; it is often confused with fascism or government control. Maybe you’re thinking how communism is not control, it’s a government where there is no private property, everything is owned by the government. With communism, the government is the people, and the people own all business collectively there is no private business, you can’t own your own business.

People are confusing private property with personal property. Private property is the ownership of industry, personal property would be your toothbrush, hairbrush, vehicle. Communism does not support “private” businesses making money off the sweat of other people’s labor. It doesn’t support private ownership that gain wealth off someone else’s work at their expense. Under communism there would be no private ownership of industries. The people would have the full benefit of those industries and the labor, or in other words the means of production is not with private industries but with the worker. Eventually the state under communism would be eradicated and left to the people or proletariat to control.

  1. Corporatism is when large interests’ groups like corporations or other large entities control the state, government, or organization.
  2. Fascism/Nazism is a dictatorship on the far right that places the nation and sometimes race above individuals. Opposition to the regime will be suppressed.
  3. Libertarianism is in opposition to authoritarianism and harder to define because there is a libertarian right which limits state/government intervention promoting a free market and the privacy for citizens lives. On the left is closer to communism where people own the means of production and nature and have the right to live as they want if it doesn’t interfere with others.
  4. Socialism has been often used interchangeably with communism. Socialism is instituted by force/war where the wealth is redistributed to its citizens and most of the means of production, some private industry is allowed to operate under socialism, something communism wouldn’t allow for.
  5. Syndicalism places the means of production with workers’ unions. The unions would control industry for the benefit of the worker.

 

When working for National Write Your Congressman, the focus was to interview business owners or those in key management positions. The reason for this is because these are the people most likely to vote and have an interest in politics and more than likely in higher income brackets. Those in higher income brackets are more likely to vote than those in lower income brackets. For more information on this go to the census bureau website. Much of the information I utilize is from the Census Bureau, Labor of Statistics or Pew Research as well as my own personal experience.

People that are the most involved in politics generally have the government they helped to create. The United States is a representative government. A government of the people, by the people and for the people. A republic which gives the power to the people and those that they elect.

The balance of power comes when its citizens are involved in their government. The more a citizen is involved the more they can benefit. If you are unhappy with the direction our country is headed, ask yourself who has benefitted the most. The old saying of follow the money. Are the decisions being made making the country prosperous? Who is more prosperous? Have the decisions of those in power made it easier or harder to prosper including those with physical/intellectual disabilities?

Poverty in the United States

A common belief among Americans is that we are the richest most powerful country in the world. This is only true if we compare ourselves to third world countries.

If we look at OECD standards, we rank with Mexico in poverty. United States ranks as one of the poorest rich nations, compared to other wealthy countries. It is based on what is being measured.

There is a term called “snooping”, it’s used to describe how financial analysts can use the same set of data, and by being creative, manipulating how the data is used, over several attempts, over time, it can produce different outcomes. Most of the time we pick the side that agrees with our opinion because we want to be right. A few examples would be with republicans versus democrats, the covid vaccine, on whether we should vaccinate or not vaccinate. You can find a study that will support your belief.

Regardless of the United States being a rich country or not, the United States does have poverty and does have homelessness. Who should be responsible, individuals, the country or both?

Overcoming poverty in the United States

If we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world and other countries have reduced or even eliminated poverty, there isn’t any reason why we can’t so the same. True prosperity includes the prosperity of the nation. We all want a crime free environment with better health and living conditions.

The cost of poverty comes at a price for the country. For those that are poor there are less opportunities for training or education, financial stress interferes with cognitive abilities and makes them less hirable, higher incarcerations due to a lack of necessities. The more incarcerations the more tax dollars to house inmates. Not enough money to buy healthy meals. Lack of healthy food choices comes at a price, without proper food there is malnutrition, higher cases of heart issues and diabetes increasing medical costs, costing taxpayers more money for Medicaid.

A well-educated healthy society boosts the economy. The question becomes can we cut the costs of healthcare and incarceration by implementing more Government assistance that incorporated healthier food options and educational programs to help increase wages keeping people out of jail.

Common arguments, we need one payer healthcare system, increase the minimum wage, universal basic income, the list goes on. The answers aren’t that simple.

An argumentative paper on minimum wage while in college. I learned that experts could disagree and have equally good arguments, questioning my own opinions.

Strong arguments could be had for both sides. It was evident most wages weren’t livable wages, yet the opposing argument was wage increases would hurt mom-and-pop businesses and possibly put them out of business. I didn’t want to hurt the mom-and-pop businesses and part of me thought, should they be in business if they can’t pay people livable wages? No.

Minimum wage increase also has other problems. It’s a one size fits all. Something none of the experts addressed.

There had to be an answer somewhere in the middle. When the federal government increases minimum wage, it’s set for the entire country. A state can offer higher minimum wage than the Federal Government but not lower. Businesses in the south would suffer the most from a wage increase.

Using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which measures the prices of goods and services seemed to be a better way to handle minimum wage based on where someone lived. It could be measured on a community level, county level and state level with different minimum wages depending on cost of living of that area. Protecting small businesses. The possibility of this getting passed on a Federal Level is slim as there wouldn’t be uniformity throughout the nation.

Another thought has been using a cap, or a percentage. The lowest paid employee cannot be paid less than a certain percentage below the highest paid employee/owner/CEO and would have to be entitled to the same benefits, and bonuses.

Corporations would pay more; small businesses would be pay less, protecting small businesses. Implementing something like this would complicate deciding whose job would it be to make sure the percentage is accurate for each company. Each company would have different wages based on the highest paid employee. There would also be no wage uniformity based on professions. Not standard of measurement for wages.

Universal Basic Income (UBI), supported by democrats opposed by republicans unless it eliminates all government assistance programs say some republicans. This would put anywhere from $1000 to $1200 every month into the pocket of every American regardless of if you worked or not.

An example of UBI, the pandemic money given to millions of Americans. Reducing poverty to the lowest we have had in years. People were paying debts off and using the money to fix things.

Other countries have solved their poverty issues, maybe we should stop being so prideful and incorporate what they have done into our own country. There is no reason why we can’t.