What are the causes of Poverty?
By: Luis Fernando Arce, Senior Online Editor
OUR POOR THINKING
The thought of poverty usually moves most of us to tears. We all know the devastating effects that this cancer has on people, and despite political or ideological differences, we all agree that it must be eradicated. … So why is most of the world still gripped so tightly by it?
It’s not in our best interest to claim to have the solution to this problem. In fact, this is the reason why the Left and Right are continuously battling it out in the political arena like fighting cocks. And it is that debilitating political clash that in large part maintains 80% of the world living on $10 a day despite an economic prosperity that only the 21st century can boast on a global scale.
When people run into this wall head-on they usually knock themselves out. Little progress has been made in regards to poverty precisely because of political prejudices…Hell, remember the frigidity of the post-WWII period?
A COLD PAST
As the capitalist system evolved through the 19th century and raised the living standards of the succeeding generations, more and more people were pushed to the fringes of society while a gradually decreasing number of people owned larger portions of the economic pie, a context in which the middle class emerged.
The system’s jaw-dropping economic prowess and swift rate of growth prompted most of the world to adopt one form of it or another and the system in its totality went unchallenged for a long time.
Though the Bolsheviks had taken over what would become the USSR, the glorious ‘20s reminded people in the West of the wonderful life that that the power of unfettered Capitalism, Industry and Investment made possible. Fascism arose for a while as a viable alternative, particularly as the economy in the 1930’s was decimated, and then the Second World War broke out. We all know the ending to that…
But the Union of Soviet Satellite Republics (USSR) had consolidated its power since the October Revolution of 1917 and for just as long had brought onto the international arena the reality of a Socialist Agenda in regards to economics, politics and culture. They purported to reverse the poverty that – they claimed – the Capitalist Bloc had created. Lamentably, by the 1950s, the USSR under Joseph Stalin had deteriorated into a totalitarian regime, leaving no room for individual freedom and a looming bureaucratic menace ripped right out of Orwell’s 1984 as its legacy.
The end of the Cold War, amongst other things, convinced the world to denounce the idea that Socialism could solve the problem of poverty. And understandably so, because its ambassador ended up creating more poverty, inequality and state corruption than before.
Victorious Western Capitalism is today exported practically worldwide. It’s thought that the fantastic wave of neo-liberalism will lift the Third World out from the bottom of the sea. But a venomous concoction of hyped-up political antagonisms and unfettered neo-liberalism has caused adverse effects.