Readers respond to 'An End to Poverty'
We asked for your feedback on a vision to end poverty for the last billion poor.
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Economic growth is only valuable to those who get to participate in it.
Mr. Lange has not listened to what more than 22 nations have been trying to tell the World Trade Organization since before 2003: some regulations are not "barriers" but essential to enable a country to develop without being overwhelmed by outside resources that would destroy any hope for self-sufficiency or stable economic processes that are eliminating poverty.
The one group that is the most important in these poorer nations is the family unit. In their poverty they are eternally ahead of us in some of their priorities. Love the Lord your God above all things and love thy neighbor as thyself: If this were truly lived out, there would be no abject poverty in the world.
The best example of how to achieve the goal of providing "the basics essential to human survival" I know of is Cuba. Its socialist economy has achieved well-distributed access to housing, food, healthcare, education, and culture.
No one ever talks about the leaders of these last billion extreme poor. Are they not required to help their poor first? Some of them live in palaces and huge estates while their fellow countrymen struggle to eat everyday. Shouldn't we some how make them accountable before we pour money on the problem?
We in the wealthier, donor countries can point fingers at corrupt regimes, but until we stop feeding them with unrestricted aid flows and unlimited weapons sales, we share responsibility for the relentless violence that continues to destabilize and devastate these poorer countries.
Frank Z. Riely, Jr.
Floyds Knobs, Ind.
Donors are too strict with their demands, and they do not allow local people to begin to develop from what they have been doing. Donors should first talk to the poor and listen to their real needs and how to address them. They should not impose solutions.
Fr. Remigio C. Obol
Poverty cannot be measured by an arbitrary figure such as the "dollar a day" benchmark. Lack of access to the justice system, the political process, or even one's inability to provide for reasonable leisure or entertainment would also contribute to one's poverty. It is not merely the summation of costs required for procuring one's organic needs that are considered the basic rights of citizens.
Author Mark Lange responds The views on this page – and the many others that couldn't fit – underscore the complexity of the problem. Among many issues I didn't address, I think the most glaring are the implications of climate change, water shortages, and birth-control policy in the worst-off nations. Thank you for contributing to the conversation. I hope you'll visit thelastbillion.blogspot.com and raise the bar there, too. The five parts of this series were published March 10 through March 14.