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Saturday, June 1, 2013

Creating disparity: minorities taking more than their share

Majorities suffering long and deep
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

“Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization ─ are global decisions and policies and practices. These are typically influenced, driven or formulated by the rich and powerful.” Anup Shah is writing on the “Causes of Poverty.” He says, “These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions and influential people.”

Facing such enormous external influence, “governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless.” Consequently, in the global context, “a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.” 

Here are some of the devastating facts, past and continuing. 

The state for the global majorities is POVERTY.


Half the world’s population — more than 3 billion people (est.) — live on less than $2.50 a day


Market value of all officially recognized final goods and services produced within a country in a given time period; GDP per capita, though not a measure of personal income, is often considered an indicator of a country’s standard of living (Wikipedia).

The GDP of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.


Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.


Less than one percent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 but this did not happen.

ONSUMERS AND SUFFERES: In 2005, the wealthiest 20 percent of the world accounted for 76.6 percent of total private consumption. The poorest fifth: just 1.5 percent

Twelve (12) percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of the world’s water; these 12 percent live outside the Third World.


2.2 billion in the world; 1 billion (every second child) “live” in poverty; for the 1.9 billion children from the developing world −

640 million lack adequate shelter (1 in 3)
400 million lack access to safe water (1 in 5)
270 million lack access to health services (1 in 7)

10.6 million children died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (figure equals total child population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy)

1.4 million children die annually from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation

2.2 million children die annually for lack of immunizations
15 million children are orphaned due to parental deaths from of HIV/AIDS (figure equals total child population in Germany or United Kingdom)
South Asia 706 million
Sub-Saharan Africa – 547 million
East Asia 224 million
Other 101 million

ILLNESS (water, sanitation causes)

1.8 million (est.) child deaths each year result from diarrhea

443 million school days lost each year from water-related illness
Half of all people (close to this figure) in developing countries suffer at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.

Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water. 

Economic waste associated with the water and sanitation deficit: Costs associated with health spending, productivity losses and labor diversions … are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5 percent of GDP (or some $28.4 billion annually), a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.

DISEASE (Infectious diseases grow)

Forty million (est.) million people live with HIV/AIDS; 3 million died in 2004.

350–500 million cases of malaria (annually); 1 million fatalities; Africa: 90 percent of malarial deaths; African children: over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide
(problems affecting half of humanity)

1.1 billion of developing countries’ people have inadequate access to water; 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

Almost two in three people lacking access to CLEAN WATER survive on less than $2 a day; one in three living on less than $1 a day.

More than 660 million people without SANITATION live on less than $2 a day; more than 385 million on less than $1 a day.

Access to piped water into the household averages about 85 percent for the wealthiest 20 percent of the population compared with 25 percent for the poorest 20 percent.

1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer (0.621 miles) − but not in their house or yard ─ consume around 20 liters (5.283 gallons) per day.

In the United Kingdom, where the average daily water usage is about 150 liters (39.7 gallons) a day, the average person uses more than 50 liters (13.2 gallons) of water a day flushing toilets.

In the United States − which has the highest average water use in the world ─ the average person uses 600 liters (159 gallons) a day.

ews on the World Socialist Web Site today contains some current reports showing what can only be termed criminal disparities created and sustained by rich nations’, corporations and individuals’ inordinate taking, plunder and negligence (including the oppressively contributory factors of endless wars of aggression, invasion, occupation, destabilization) leaving the majority of the world’s people in dire conditions that − given the present course and level of callousness ─ will last for generations.


In the world today “165 million children … are chronically malnourished.” This is a preventable condition that has affected “one in every four children at some point in their lives”: 38 percent of children from the least developed countries have had their growth stunted by malnutrition; malnourished children score 7 percent lower on math tests and are 19 percent less likely to be able to read by the age of eight; the poorest 40 percent are 2.8 times more likely to suffer long-term effects of malnutrition than the richest 10 percent.” 

Overall, “child malnutrition negatively affects self-esteem, self-confidence, and career aspirations. (Save the Children: “Food for Thought Report” based on studies conducted in India, Peru, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Vietnam)

Countries East and South

More than “1.3 billion people globally have no access to electricity; 2.6 billion have no clean cooking facilities. Ninety-five percent of these numbers of people live either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing countries of Asia; 84 percent live in rural areas.” (International Energy Agency)

  Countries West

In recent years, people living in industrialized countries have experienced “staggering growth in poverty and food insecurity: Greece’s children, 439,000 of them, “lived below the poverty line; 26 percent of Greek households with children had an ‘economically weak diet’; 37 percent lacked adequate heating; one in five families were living in ‘poor environmental conditions’; 10 percent (est.) of elementary and middle school students suffer food insecurity, the same ‘level of some African countries,’” (2012 UNICEF report); The United States’ households with children, 21 percent of them, were ‘food insecure,’ meaning that over the course of the year, these households “did not always have access to adequate food.” (U.S. Department of Agriculture data released showing its 2011 study)

Sources and notes

“Poverty Facts and Stats” (author and compiler Anup Shah, page last updated Monday, January 07, 2013): http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats.

“Causes of Poverty” (Author and compiler Anup Shah), page updated Sunday, March 24, 2013, http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty

“165 million children malnourished worldwide” (Jake Dean), June 1, 2013, http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/06/01/maln-j01.html

“Food for thought report ─ Chronically malnourished children are 20 percent less literate - Save the Children Report comes ahead of June 8 G8 nutrition summit in London” Monday, 27 May 2013 - 5:12 p.m.. http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/2013-05/food-thought-report


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1 comment:

  1. http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/NEWS/0,,contentMDK:21881954~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html

    This is a great post, so sad to think about, so real... And sometimes to think about how to fix these injustices involves the taboo-ideas of socialism, communism, and Marxism...

    The largest difference between Aristotle and Plato (in my opinion) was their ideas of a practical society and government. While Plato said there is a perfect system, which involves a philosopher king, Aristotle said there is only a perfect system for a certain body of people. Both agree that looking at government like a person, with a soul, is dire for political philosophy in general.

    We need to be Aristotelian with governments and realize 'spreading democracy under the guise of capitalism' does nothing good for the entire world but for a select few who gain to profit.

    Maybe African governments would do well to promote more communistic ideals...India with more socialistic policies. We do not know if we try to suggest there is one best way to do something.

    thank you for the post, and for the thoughts taken!