For years our governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been telling us their various schemes to rid the world of poverty. Campaigns have come and gone, all of them seeking to raise money to give to the poor. You’ll never hear anyone say that poverty isn’t a problem. As the west grows richer, the poor get poorer. The question is, how do we close this gap? Firstly we need to stop this gap from getting bigger, then we can start to close it.
Many people in the world assume that the problem of poverty lies with the poor themselves. In small, local scale situations this may be true, however on a global scale this is not the case. The reason there is poverty in the world, is because of our lifestyles. Our government officials have meetings on how to address poverty which sit back to back with meetings on increasing our gun sales in Sudan, Somalia, and other countries. And its not only our governments that are exploiting the poor, we are all doing it. We all seem to think that if we give money to charities, and give enough money to the poor, they’ll eventually rise to our level of living. The world will then be at an equal level of extortionate consumption.
There lies one flaw in this scheme – the fact that the world simply couldn’t keep up with the demand of 9 billion people (Predicted population by 2050), all living at the same standard as the average Westerner. One planet simply couldn’t supply that many people, living at such a high standard of consumption. So now we’ve got the problem, because we supposedly want to “make poverty history”, however the only way we can do this, is if the west steps down. Since it is clear that not everyone can live at such a high standard as us, the only solution is for us to bring our standards down. If we start to live simpler, less demanding lifestyles, we’ll leave space for the poor to take a step up. If we decrease the amount we take, we can leave more for others. For every step down the west takes, it allows the poor to step up. In order to reach a middle ground were all countries have even economies, the poor must get richer, and the richer must get poorer.