Why do we treat Third world poverty differently than poverty in "Industrialized" nations?
It's been getting my goat lately... Everyone seems so concerned about fighting poverty in India or Africa, but when we see poverty here in the western world, we look at the "beggar" (Otherwise known as "panhandlers") with disgust, and either ignore them, or spit on them, or yell at them to get a job. When 20% of full time jobs in the west pay less than a standard living wage, and over half of all available employment is part-time work, why do we treat western poverty as though it were "unworthy" of our attention, and the poor so... well... poorly?
Poverty no matter where it is is terrible. But the poverty in countries such as India and Africa is a different kind of poverty. For the most part the media has done a good job in exposing people to the plight of people in the third world. Also poverty in these countries are often unavoidable. The governments in some of these third world countries won't let their people gain access to the food and water that's available to them.
Poverty in the western world is a different story. According to most people poverty should not exist in such an affluent country. So the thinking of most people is that those who are poor or particulary those who beg; their poverty must be of their own doing.
As the ecomomic situation worsens more and more people in the western world wil find themselves losing their jobs and thus in poverty.
Nathaniel... The problem is (at least in my part of the western world) the government doesn't let people gain access to their basic needs... The non-profits are the only ones who are allowed to provide for the poor, and quite frankly, the non-profits don't have enough. Where I live, welfare was specifically designed to deny services to the one's who need them most, and social workers have become a greater waste of tax money than welfare. Not because they don't help, but because they're not allowed to help.
Perhaps another question that needs to be asked is WHY DOES poverty even exist in affluent countries such as Canada, U.S.A., and Great Britain?
This is a sorry state of mind.The westerners are too egoistic to admit that they have poor and beggers in thier country too. They paint a very rosy picture in the movies and media.And it has become a tendency to get angry on the poor begger on the street of NY or LA.They just cannot accept them.
Where as in the developing countries people have accepted these beggers as their own.They are alreay open to the world and the mind-set already has been achived that they exist in these countries.So there are hoards of people helping them and grabbing media attention and so on.
See the saying goes
GRASS IS ALWAYS GREEN ER ON THE OTHER SIDE. Similarly THEY HAVE MORE BEGGERS THEN US.
It is all in the mind.
You are right. The poor and homeless are treated shockingly. I am not sure it has to be "either-or" though, does it? I mean, if there are Westerners that are poor, this is bad. If there are (four billion!) non-Westerners that are poor, this is also bad. Why can't we simply agree that all people who are suffering, needlessly, no matter where they are, deserve attention
Interesting question. As a general answer, Poverty is poverty and it needs to be tackled globally and not just focused on regions. The well being of humanity should be the pinnacle point and should be tackled as a global matter.
But the poverty experienced in third world countries is a whole different ball game. Most of the countries/town/cities in these regions suffer from additional issues which come with poverty. They have things like famine, incurable diseases, genocide, war, unwanted dictatorship and high levels of inequality. How many of these are large threats in westernised countries? If you take a "beggar" in for example Zimbabwe. He/She is under the rule of quite possible the most disgusting man in modern day politics, Robert Mugabe. They are under hyper inflation where any kind of money they get is not even enough to buy a slice of bread. The widespread of Aid's/HIV and other diseases is so severe, not mentioning they don't even have any kind of regulated health care service to protect them, or even state benefits. If one of them suffer some kind of illness and collapse on the street, more than likely they will be left for dead. The worst is, children are suffering as much as adults. There are charities such as the Red Cross, Unicef, and other NGO's which help - but how much can these non-profit organisations do? When Zimbabwe was going through it's most troubled period in 2008 their government was stopping western aid to the country. How can these people live without, what is at times, there only source of survival?
Let's take an average begger in for example the UK (where I live). He/She is living on the streets and at times can make a fair bit of cash through begging. The majority of beggers you see are drunks or drug addicts, so the question needs to be asked where does this money they get given go to? They have a number of charities and Initiatives from institutions like Churches now helping them out which give them hostels to sleep in for the night and a warm dinner. If, god forbid, a beggar suffers any kind of life threatening condition and collapses on the street, no doubt an ambulance will be on it's way to help him/her. Would this happen in a third world country? I doubt it.
Have you seen some of the benefits the "poor" can also get, especially in the UK? Now that's shocking. Some people on benefits earn more than an average person in a full time job!
To be quite clear, I think the word "poverty" is a bit absused in our own country. For the record, I definitely agree that we should be more focused on our own problems to solve than others in other countries. That said, I go back to the word "poverty." It's similar to the way we use the word "starving" in this country. "I'm starving" usually means I haven't eaten for a couple of hours and I could really go for something to eat. In the third world setting people really are starving. So much so that if they were handed a hamburger to eat they would likely throw it up immediately. Food is foreign to their body. People in this country claim to be in poverty. Yet, while they may be cash poor, most still have a roof over their head, most times a car in the driveway, and even have a cell phone. How many recipients of welfare have you seen driving a Cadillac? I've seen it all too many times. I've even seen a picture of Michelle Obama feeding the homeless where the homeless guy was on a cell phone in the line. Now granted, he may not actually have been homeless or hungry. He may have just been looking for a free meal. It's the same thing as in this current economic crisis. We are in no way in the same situation that the people who suffered the Great Depression were. In those days there was no unemployment compensation, and unemployment rates were 33%. No social security benefits were available. People could barely afford a loaf of bread. McDonald's throughout the recession had some of the highest sales of its time. Wal-Mart still made billions of dollars selling big screen TVs.
Poverty in this country is more of a woe-is-me situation where I think people truly don't understand the reality of the opportunity they have before them to get out of it. In the third world it's that lack of opportunity that is a large part of the problem. Imagine a guy walking into his mudhut on the plains of Africa. Can he log on to his brokerage account and buy a stock? Can he run down the dirt road to the local McDonald's and get a job cooking hamburgers?
"Poverty" is an oft-misued word. I think by its very definition, no one in the industrialized nations are truly poverty stricken. They may, however, simply be poor.
To treat western world poverty as 'worthy of attention', would be to admit it exists.. won't happen in a country that is richer in hypocrisy than ANYTHING else.
Poverty in the Western country is poverty in the midst of luxury, while poverty in India and Africa is a compulsion of survival. The poverty in the west should not exist but still its presence is noticed that is to be counted for personal liking or displeasure of life while poverty in India or Africa is a real fight for existence in the midst of nothing or whatever existed in front for survival.
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