|Re: Long term sustainability||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Oliveau (Oliveauaol.com)|
|Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2007 08:30:37 -0700 (PDT)|
Hey Racheli, Thanks for your comments. I looked it up and I stand corrected. You are right. The number of people living in poverty as hovered around 1.2 billion. In 1987 it was 1.18 billion, in 1990's it was 1.3 billion, and it has recently declined to 1.2 billion. So in absolute numbers poverty has not declined recently. But as a percentage we have made great progress. In the 1950's half of the global population lived in poverty. Today it's down to a quarter. All this in the midst of a continued population growth. We've moved 3.4 billion people out of poverty. That's an amazing result. I'm not saying we shouldn't continue to try and help the poor. We should. We should be investing in education for the poor, which will benefit our global society tremendously. We should be thinking of new ways to help the poor, like mico-lending. The World Bank and IMF are trying to help these countries. They may have mistaken ideas which are outdated. And they controlled by nations which have political bais. It's easy to criticize, but much tough to come up with an alternative which works. Aiding the developing world is a hard problem. And the countries which liberalized and invited in those evil multi-nationals back in the 1970's, like Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia have much happier healthier and well educated people today. The ones which talked about autonomy and the evils of global capitalism have not. As China and India have "liberalized" their economies, they have tapped into a huge reserve of productive human capital which as transformed them from starvation prone areas to economic miracles. Cancer death rates go up as people age. Up to age 25, cancer deaths are 4 in 100,000. Every 10 years after that the death rate triples until it's 400/100,000 at age 50. By age 70 its 1,350/100,000. If you adjust for age, the death rate is flat in the US, with a recent downward trend as people have quit smoking. If you eliminate cancers attributable to smoking, the death rate has been declining in the US since 1950. We've gotten better at detecting cancers and detecting them early (when they can better be treated). This results in a slight increase of incidence of cancer, but a decrease in the death rate from cancer. I agree with you that income inequality has been increasing. It's not that the poor are getting poorer, rather, the difference between the richest and the poorest person is getting larger. I don't like inequality, but if that helps the most people the fastest, I'm willing to live with a tamed form of Global Capitalism. But capitalism needs to be watched, regulated, and controlled. Otherwise we end up living in a Charles Dickens novel :-) I do worry about the US and the decrease in mobility between the rich and the poor. It's getting harder to move up in US society. That tells me that we aren't creating enough opportunity for the poor and we're making it too easy for untalented rich to stay rich. Just look at our current President for a primary example :-) I accept your points about Israel. I don't have your experience with Israeli society. I can imagine Israel has paid a terrible price for the high level of militarization and the frequency of its wars with it's neighbors. The tragedy of the Middle East is that people who are insecure don't care about democracy, or human rights, or equality, or even economic opportunity. And it's easy for a small minority to create an unsafe climate for everyone else. Thanks for your attention, -Kevin In a message dated 7/8/2007 9:38:27 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, racheli [at] sonoracohousing.com writes: Hi Kevin, You wrote (in part) : Second, the condition of humanity has been getting steadily better over the last century, by almost any measure you care to look at. Wealth, education, calorie consumption, and life expectancy for the whole planet have all been going up, both as a percentage and in absolute numbers. The number of people living in poverty, or without healthcare, or without enough food has been going down, both as a percentage and in absolute numbers. Cancer deaths (after adjusting for longer life) are going down. As I understand it, this is false in a number of ways. Let me address a few points: Some people are getting much wealthier, while many get poorer and poorer. So, yes, for a tiny fraction of the population things are getting "better". There are about 1 billion people (this isn't the exact number) who are chronically hungry/ malnourished. More than at any other time in history in absolute numbers. My impression is that the number of people living in poverty is growing, not diminishing - including in the US, as jobs are shipped elsewhere (and the people who do those jobs overseas or across the border aren't paid a living wage, to put it mildly). Many many countries, under the pressure to "liberalize" exerted upon them by the IMF and the World Bank (read: by the US) have gone back on providing affordable health care, on subsidizing essential food items etc. I'll give you as an example a country which on the surface is a great recipient of US largesse: Israel. When I was growing up there, everyone had health insurance for pittance, there was a serious safety net in place to keep people from going hungry, and the gap between the poorest and the richest was not so big. It was hardly a wonderful place - discrimination against Palestinian citizens, against Mizrahi Jews (Jews who came from the Middle East and North Africa), etc. was serious, but on the whole the culture and social mores strongly supported an economic safety net. With liberalization, things have gone downhill. There are people who don't have enough to eat, about fifth of the children live in poverty, many elderly are in dire straights, and so on. And this is a country which gets about 3 billion dollars a year from the US govt. (mostly earmarked for military purposes), not to mention the help US Jews and others provide in addition! Things are much worse in other places. I disagree with your assessment of healthcare and health. My impression is that there is much more cancer - including among children, and younger people because of growing pollution. This is before we come to the AIDS epidemic; chronic ailments which are rampant, etc. Education? I suppose you mean "formal education", Western style. I have serious questions regarding how educational it really is, and concerns regarding traditional appropriate knowledge which is disappearing in many places, as subsistence living gets destroyed to make room for corporate agriculture and industry. (Again - Vandana Shiva's writings are especially useful in this respect). All of those are, of course, huge subjects which I barely touched on. Best, Racheli ************************************** See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.