Poverty in rich countries
Originally Posted by nvidia2008
On a more serious note, the iPad 2 video shown during the Keynote had very touching segments on autism. It has made an impact in autism, something Apple themselves didn't expect. On a more sad note, I wonder if I will live to see the day where 90% of kids in the world use something like iPad or whatever comes next. I am 33, so, well, I guess they have about 50 years to cure world poverty. If people didn't keep having babies that could help!!!
Ironically, poverty in countries like the US, is partly because we are addicted to cheap goods coming from other countries, now especially China. This eventually lead to loss of most manufacturing jobs in the US. And, related to Apple, even high tech manufacturing is now going abroad. Sure, the ideas may be conceived and perfected in Cupertino, CA but how many manpower is involved in the "intellectual aspect of the creation" compared to hundreds of thousands in the engineering, manufacturing process. The agri-business industry rely heavily on cheap labor from Mexico and Central America.
The US has become a predominantly service economy (around 60-70%) but that is a house of cards, and from a ecosystem perspective, do not have the complexity that make it stable. We experienced this and continue to do so since the stock market and economic collapse in 2008.
What is even worse now is that even service jobs are going abroad. A significant part of the customer service staff of telecom companies, including cable like comcast, and tech companies are now staffed in countries like India, Philippines, Puerto Rico, etc. Health consultation service, education tutorials, etc. are now coming partly or exploratory studies, using long distance interaction with satellte locations in India, Philippines. Many companies find it cheaper to hire "foreigners", many of the nursing staff of hospitals and biomedical institutions come from abroad. States are filling their education staff needs also from other countries.
So, even many of the service economy that is now the backbone of the US economy is also either going abroad or are being replaced by manpower from abroad.
The concept of Laissez-faire ("free market") is a mantra in economics does not really work in reality because there is no reciprocal trade -- more goods are imported to the US, while the source of imports like China, Japan, Korea and almost any other country do not buy as much goods from the US. One of the unusual goods sold by the US and sought by many countries are weapons of war. Even here though, the US has increasing competition, not only from Europe, but countries like Russia, China.
Supporting the local economy, not just in the US, but within one's community, would help, but how many of us would be willing to pay the local tax for such purchases?Poverty in developing countries
The noble and idealistic effort to cure world poverty has failed fpr a number of reasons. Sure hunger and poverty are correlated with unchecked population growth. In the 1960s, Western countries sent surplus agricultural products (a part of the Agricultural subsidy to shore up prices of American agri-business). Many of the subsidy of course went to multi-nationals (e.g., Archer-Daniels) rather than American farmers. Those massive US did not help much because the agricultural products sent to other countries (dried milk, Bulgur rice, yellow corn mill. Bulgur rice, etc.) were not part of the local diet. so they were fed to animals, if not appropriated by local officials.
There is also the green revolution inititative, sponsored by organizations like Ford Foundation. It worked partly and improved food production of rice, corn, wheat, potato. in many countries. There is just one catch, the technology used was based mainly on Western Agricultural practices -- hybrid seedling, mechanized farming, irrigation, fertilizer bought from Agro=business and funded from banks. More small farmers lost their farms from this Western based agricultural practice, enriched the local agric-business entrepeneur and banks.
Helping mitigate poverty in other countries from our own efforts
The increasing rise in oil prices is felt by almost every American, and is threathening the recovery of the US and Western economy. The impact however is even greater in poorer countries because most do not even local oil resources.
The impact of increased oil price is even more significant in developing countries. Transportation to and from work may consume as much as 10-20% of the average workers (this is using public transports, not private cars). The increase in cost of utilities (gas, electric) are also quite significant, and so with most food, and other necessities.
Almost 25% of world oil are consumed by Americans, most of these from car transportation. Western Europe also is significant but because oil is highly taxed in most European countries (almost the equivalent to $16 per gallon
), oil and energy consumption in Europe is much much less.
During the dramatic oil price increases around 2007-2008 coupled with the recession, caused dramtic reduction world of oil consumption. It eventually helped decrease oil prices back down to around $2 per gallon in the US). This was due mainly from a few percentage reduction of gas usage by Americans when the price of oil was quite high. That the economy tanked at the time, also helped further decrease oil prices, all the way down to about $2 per gallon. This reduction in the cost of oil has even greater impact on people in poor countries.
Individually therefore, Americans can help alleviate (not cure) impoverishment in poorer countries, by the simple act of using less oil. From our own individual initiatives, we can extend this further by using public transport and supporting policies that will promote public transport. Energy consumption can be reduced also by energy conservation practices (insulation, weatherization) to reduce heat consumption during during Winter and air conditioning during Summer. Locally, there are initiatives that promote solar heating and use of Wind energy and all sorts of energy conservation and local source of energy.
All these will help dependenxe on foreign oil. Individually and collectively, just by this simple acts, we can do more in helping alleviate poverty in poor countries indirectly by reducing or help prevent increase in oil and energy costs in poorer countries.
And less dependence on foreign oil can also far reacching impact on US foreign policy.