The Future

To me, a world without poverty means a world in which every person can take care of his or her basic life needs. In such a world, nobody would die of hunger or suffer malnutrition. This is a goal world leaders have been calling for for decades, but they have never set out any way of achieving it.

Each day, some 35,000 children around the world die from hunger-related diseases. In a poverty free world, no children would die of such causes. All people would have access to education and healthcare services because they would be able to afford them. All state organizations that provide free or subsidized services for the poor would be done away with. There would be no need for welfare agencies, handouts, soup kitchens, food stamps, free schools, free hospital care. There would be no begging in the streets. State run safety net programs would have no rationale to exist. State run social security programs and income support programs would be unnecessary. Social structures in a poverty free world would, of course, be quite different from those that exist today. But nobody would be at the mercy of anyone else, and that is what would make all the difference between a world without poverty and on riddled with it.

Finally, a poverty free world would be economically much stronger and far more stable than the world is today.

The 20% of the world's inhabitants who currently live a life of extreme poverty would become income earners and income spenders. They would generate extra demand in the market, spurring growth in the world economy. They would bring their creativity and innovations into the marketplace to increase the world's productive capacity. And because people would become poor on a temporary and limited basis, the economy would probably not go through extreme swings. We would avoid boom-and-bust cycles and be able to surmount man made disasters with greater ease.

But even in a poverty free world where all people would earn enough to care for themselves and their families, there would still be situations of temporary poverty due to sudden catastrophes or unforeseeable misfortune, bankruptcy, business downturns, disease, or other disasters.

A poverty free world might see groups of people or entire regions devastated by some shared disaster, such as floods, fire, cyclones, riots, or earthquakes. But such temporary problems could be taken care of by market mechanisms through insurance and other self paying programs---assisted, of course, by social consciousness-driven enterprises.

There will always be differences in lifestyles between people at the bottom of society and those at the top income levels. But those differences will exist between the middle class and the luxury class, not the third and fourth classes of the current system.

Can we really create a poverty free world? A world without third class or fourth class citizens, a world without hunger, illiterate, barefoot, underclass? Yes we can, in the same way we can create sovereign states, or democratic political systems, or free market economies. A poverty free world might not be perfect, but it would be the best approximation of the ideal.

We have created a slavery free world, a small-pox free world, an apartheid free world. Creating a poverty free world would be greater than all these accomplishments while at the same time reinforcing them. This would be a world that we could all be proud to live in.
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