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Political will needed to fight poverty

Published:Monday | February 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Children from the lower-income strata of society are more likely to go missing because of the poor circumstances under which they live. - File

Steve Lyston, Contributor

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics and the Global Issues website declares boldly, "Considering that nearly 800 million adults cannot read or write, that two billion people lack basic sanitation, that nearly half of the world's children live in poverty.

"At the other extreme, a mere handful of individuals controls seven per cent of the world's gross domestic product. We have an economic system that generates extreme inequality."

According to other sources, "A significant proportion of the world's 1.3 billion poor have little or no access to health services simply because they cannot afford to pay at the time of need."

Further to this, according to the World Food Bank, "Since June 2010, higher food prices have pushed an additional 44 million people below the poverty line."

It is getting worse and statistics show that there is no political will or any great effort to reduce poverty. The greatest needs now for the global population are those to which they have every right:

  • Free health care
  • Free education
  • Potable water
  • Job opportunities

While it is the duty of all to help reduce, even eradicate poverty, the Government's main function is to have policies in place to help the poor and protect them.

Are we empowering the people to liberate them, or are we allowing them to remain in bondage to profit from their lack of knowledge?

There are many things that could be done for the poor to reduce the pressure on them.

Cheaper energy, less expensive communications costs, and even food can be cheaper.

But there is no political will. No drive on the part of politicians to address these areas directly to help their own people.

Everyone is calling for more jobs, more employment opportunities, more funding, more everything, but these cannot be addressed until there is change to the mind and will of the political players and the business community.

These major players must develop a view to bringing significant and positive change for the masses.

How can millions worldwide be losing their homes while salaries for executives in every arena, and for advisers at all levels or bankers, remain high and continue to increase?

When they fail to manage resources effectively, they are given bailouts, debt reductions and concessions.

Why doesn't the bank help to reduce poverty by giving 10 per cent interest on savings, and remove bank charges for deposits and overdraft?

It's not about economic models and macroeconomics, it's about greed.

It is about righteous and political will reaching an agreement to put personal desires to the side to achieve a greater good for the betterment of a people.

While there is great emphasis to put laws in place to control the masses, there are very few laws in place to deal with financial accountability.

Millions of dollars have gone to waste and very few persons have been held accountable.

Furthermore, if anyone is arrested on the matter, more often than not the poor man is the fall guy.

Political Will

Contextually speaking, political will is the drive and desire to bring about positive, effective and selfless change within a nation for the benefit of all and for the betterment of a people.

Therefore, in this context, money is not the motivation for service to the country.

Furthermore, being broke is not the basis on which an individual with political will would enter the political arena; they do so to bring about change and equality where needed, not division.

Now, money talks. So it will be difficult to attract righteous leaders who have the will to bring change, unless they can attract the "big bucks" from donors, supporters, investors.

The big bucks are not going to come from the poor.

Hence, the political instability continues, because when the wealthy give their money to promote or support a political candidate at any level, there has to be payback.

The Government needs to remove certain laws and clauses so that more persons can own co-operatives and credit unions.

As the poor becomes poorer, they are then inveigled to gamble in an effort to attain instant riches and be instantly elevated from poverty.

As a result, they spiral deeper into poverty, not only on a physical level, but also on a spiritual level.

How many poor people own a gaming licence, and what are the odds of the poor winning in any form of gambling?

Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.