Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere - Seeker's Thoughts

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Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere

Poverty is a social problem that has often been linked with various negative effects on society. These effects include but are not limited to, crime, poor health and nutrition, illiteracy, and a lack of social mobility. In this article, we will explore the negative effects of poverty on society in greater detail.

(Photo by Timur Weber: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-a-homeless-man-sleeping-near-a-cardboard-sign)

Poverty Anywhere Threatens Prosperity Everywhere

Poverty is one of the world's greatest challenges, impacting all parts of society regardless of financial resources available to them. Poverty affects us all equally.

Climate change, conflict or lack of opportunities may all play a part. Negative coping mechanisms like pulling children out of school to work or selling assets may also exacerbate this trend.

1. Food and Water

Food and water are basic necessities to human survival; yet many still lack access to them. Without access to these vital resources, life for most of humanity would likely be much harder - often nonexistent altogether. Lack of food, clean drinking water, sanitation and electricity lead to various health problems - malnutrition, disease transmission rates being decreased due to poverty-driven low birth rates as well as mental and physical deterioration despite best efforts from those living in poverty to escape it. 

At best, they may find work that is irregular and unpredictable - with little control over their income or benefits - forcing them to choose one basic need over another; saving for a TV could mean not enough money is available to feed their families.

Poverty can have various causes and these can vary with time. Fluctuations in the business cycle are one such cause; as evidenced by Great Depression of 1930s and its revival in more recent times. Conflict and natural disasters may further exacerbate poverty, particularly where public institutions are weak; Boko Haram terrorist group is now using mineral wealth in Africa for funding rather than investing it sustainably in sustainable development initiatives.

There are various definitions of poverty; some focus on income while others consider other important elements that define living a decent and humane lifestyle. For instance, the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) measures poverty using health, education, sanitation, water and housing criteria.

2. Education

Poverty threatens prosperity across all communities by keeping people from investing in themselves and investing in personal development. It can have two effects - for individuals lacking opportunities to learn and earn and for societies lacking education and growth.

On a personal level, education is integral to economic and social advancement: on average, one additional year of schooling leads to a 9% increase in hourly earnings. Furthermore, education plays an integral part in alleviating poverty: global enrollment rates have seen dramatic improvements while many children in developing nations remain denied an opportunity for formal learning due to poverty.

Poor people may miss out on learning because they cannot afford school fees or must spend their time collecting water or food or caring for sick family members, which is further compounded when disasters and conflict strike; domestic violence increased among poor households during COVID lockdown and children were not able to continue online studies while living at home with parents.

Poverty can impede development in any nation or region, as it strips people of their basic human rights and the resources to live comfortably. Poverty denies people access to education, work and rest opportunities, freedom of association and participation in democracy - essential rights that everyone deserves to enjoy.

World Vision recognizes that money alone cannot solve poverty; other aspects such as quality of life, healthcare access and basic needs should also be taken into account when discussing poverty. This multidimensional poverty concept has long been one of their central foci in their work.

3. Health

Poor health impacts our ability to participate fully in both the economy and society. A decrease in work capacity reduces family income and makes it hard to allocate funds toward expenses like clean water, education, or healthcare services.

Poor people are particularly prone to disease, often being unable to afford treatments they require or maintain an appropriate diet and nutrition. Without access to primary healthcare and sanitation facilities, illness may arise that causes loss of work or livelihood, thus depriving families the funds necessary for investing in their children's education or caring for elderly family members, which in turn impedes long-term economic development.

Healthcare access is a cornerstone of fighting poverty; indeed, many other rights that individuals need in order to live lives of dignity depend upon it.

Eradicating extreme poverty is one of humanity's biggest challenges. Poverty kills millions each year through hunger and malnutrition as well as lack of access to water, sanitation, education and healthcare services. Poverty-stricken states tend to be fragile with weak institutions and governments, leaving them susceptible to conflicts, crime, natural disasters and the seizure of natural resources by predatory actors. 

These circumstances serve as an incubator for global instability and the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS, so it is vitally important to invest in jobs which provide both an income source and a path out of poverty for all, including women and youth who often face dual burdens of poverty in terms of earning money as well as spending it on food and other necessities. Empowerment programs for women and young people who find themselves living below the poverty threshold is also necessary.

4. Shelter

Poverty negatively impacts people both physically and mentally. Stress leads to mental illnesses like depression and drug dependency; breaking this cycle of poverty may take generations; poor nutrition leads to disease; living in unhealthy environments causes hygiene issues - all this impacts their ability to work, earn and develop as individuals.

Poverty is a global issue that must be tackled from all sides. It stems from numerous causes, such as discrimination based on race or gender, low quality education, lack of access to healthcare and other social services and political instability/conflict rooted poverty. Tackling this problem effectively in fragile contexts presents particular difficulties due to political instability/conflict which is at its source.

Economically speaking, poverty can be defined as lacking income to meet a minimum standard of living in any given country, which varies based on country. This definition may also include an income level and threshold threshold that must fall below in order to be considered poor.

Problematic in this definition is that it disregards other aspects of poverty such as malnutrition, lack of sanitation and shelter services, inadequate healthcare provision and social support services and limited participation. Poverty may also be compounded by factors that limit opportunities such as discrimination or exclusion as well as natural disasters or increasing living costs that exacerbate its severity.

Poverty is an international threat that affects everyone; we cannot allow one part of the globe to suffer while another enjoys peace and prosperity. Indeed, "Poverty anywhere is a threat to prosperity everywhere" was declared as a fundamental principle by the International Labour Organization's Declaration of Philadelphia from 1944.

5. Work

Poor people often turn to decent work as the key path toward poverty reduction and development, providing them with opportunities to meet their needs while participating in society. Unfortunately, in many countries the minimum wage does not provide enough relief from poverty; thus they face various barriers when searching for decent work; for instance due to lack of employment people may take on informal, temporary and often illegal jobs like sex or child labour which often exploit workers with no recourse available for protection or recourse from exploitation leading them down a spiral of frustration and family violence.

Poverty affects people in various ways, from mental stress that puts them at greater risk to extremist groups or terrorist attacks, to crime at the local level - such as theft of vehicles or valuable articles which violates one's conscience and values, or increasing domestic violence at home due to economic strain affecting women and children - it all poses threats that undermine morality and ethics in society as a whole.

Lack of access to education and health services also hampers prosperity, making the eradication of poverty a multifaceted process that necessitates taking an integrative approach. This should include factors such as political instability, past/current conflicts, weak governance structures, discrimination against minorities/women as well as exploitation/abuse.

Therefore, the need to build more resilient and sustainable economies in order to combat poverty is of utmost importance. This involves developing resilient and inclusive growth mechanisms while simultaneously providing access to decent work, increasing public investment in poor countries and addressing inequality.

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