Practical steps to end poverty
Provided we have the will, where would we begin? How can you help?
(Page 2 of 2)
To stop the flow of aid money siphoned off in fees and bribes by corrupt officials and sent to personal first-world bank accounts, we'd have international banks make the freezing and repatriation of such deposits far easier. We do it with funds suspected of terrorist ties – but not with money sent to save lives? Of the minority of bankers profiting from corrupt deposits, economist Paul Collier pithily notes, "We have a word for people who live on the immoral earnings of others: pimps."Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
We'd remove tariffs on goods made in the poorest nations until they get a sustainable export base going. We'd also renegotiate pharmaceutical patent rules that sanction the poorest countries if they don't enforce them to Western standards. These rules make no sense where lost drug sales would be negligible and millions of lives would be saved.
Where regimes are murderous, we would engage fully capable UN military assets with a Chapter VII mandate as trouble builds, not after the fact. To stanch the flow of Chinese capital to the most grotesque regimes, the West's trade and financial institutions would positively enlist China's pragmatic self-interest – in economic, environmental, technological, and trade terms – to support humanitarian outcomes.
Eradicating abject poverty is not a utopian goal; it's the basis for self-sustaining growth. It doesn't mean solving the entire world's problems. It demands that we focus our attention and resources to ensure the survival and progress of the very worst off.
Acting on the conviction that every life is of equal value is as close as your desktop. Enlist the sustainable performance of small enterprise through micro-credit at sites such as kiva.org and opportunity.org. Changingthepresent.org and globalgiving.com let you buy a friend or loved one a small stake in, say, a clean water project in Mozambique. And it's remarkable how sites such as ONE.org are driving awareness.
To the thousands who give of their time and skills where it most matters, working in some of the most dangerous places in the world, we are all in your debt. And to the citizens of these struggling nations, we know you deserve and are capable of better. Please, tell the rest of us what works. Let us know how we can become a more informed and effective community of conscience.
We want to hear from you. What do you think about the effort to end extreme poverty? Send your ideas, stories, and reactions to firstname.lastname@example.org.