Home Politics and Debate

This thread is not about Iraq!

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Global poverty and inequality are massive preoblems today and they may be getting worse.

Whose responsibility is it to deal with the problem?

Should it be left to 'the market' to find the most desirable solution or should the govts of the world seek to impose a solution.

Should the west take an active role or is the job of the less developed world to take the initiative?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: This thread is not about Iraq!
    Originally posted by Toadborg
    Global poverty and inequality are massive preoblems today and they may be getting worse.


    Two seperate situations.

    1. Poverty - Is it getting worse? Where and why?

    There is a pretty good argument that free market economies do a good job of reducing poverty if the population has some education.


    2. Inequality (I assume you are referring to financial inequality) - Is it actually a problem? If poverty is not an issue, why?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Go explain that to the people of Argentina for starters then. From there you could hopsctoch across Latin American and then head over to Africa. Im sure there are countless millions who would love to hear how its not really getting any worse and all they need is an education and a local McDonalds to solve all their ills. :rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Clandestine, guess you should learn to read what is written, huh?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    duly read and responded to.

    Unless you think Argentinians are uneducated and have not had any experience with free market economies. Or perhaps Brazil. :p

    Unrestrained free market capitalism progressivley concentrates wealth in a relatively few number of hands. It is not a panacaea in any sense. It has some short term benefits but in the long run, it becomes a zero sum game.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Clandestine
    duly read and responded to.

    Unless you think Argentinians are uneducated and have not had any experience with free market economies. Or perhaps Brazil. :p

    Unrestrained free market capitalism progressivley concentrates wealth in a relatively few number of hands. It is not a panacaea in any sense. It has some short term benefits but in the long run, it becomes a zero sum game.

    Guess you better tell the Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. They tried the alternative, didn't work very well. :rolleyes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is more than "one" alternative to unrestrained free market capitalism. Case in point being a much more regulated capitalism as found in Europe. Id expect you to understand the gap between the extremes Greenie, but perhaps you prefer dealing in extremes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: Re: This thread is not about Iraq!
    Originally posted by Greenhat





    1. Poverty - Is it getting worse? Where and why?

    There is a pretty good argument that free market economies do a good job of reducing poverty if the population has some education.


    2. Inequality (I assume you are referring to financial inequality) - Is it actually a problem? If poverty is not an issue, why?

    1. The real GDP's of some of the worlds poorest nations have declined between the 60's 70's and the 90's....

    I agree that the free-market can help reduce poverty but the current world trade system is not free, should we make it so?

    Also the free-market is unlikely to guarantee the comprehensive education system you cite as a requirement for develoment

    2. Yes financial inequality.

    I would certainly say it is a problem, particularly in developing nations where unchecked inequality can lead to the establishment of elites.

    There is a reasonable argument for a meritocracy and the inequalities that would result but I think the meritocracy needs to be established in the developing world before the inequlity is allowed to grow. I don't think it will happen the other way round.....
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Now here's a good thing for a UN army to be focused upon. That way if there's some war going on, and on...the UN could blast their way in and give out food without any group thinking they were there to take over the country or side with either side in a particular war.

    "Nothing like a good blaster at your side kid."
    Hans Solo...Star Wars.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Re: Re: Re: This thread is not about Iraq!
    Originally posted by Toadborg


    1. The real GDP's of some of the worlds poorest nations have declined between the 60's 70's and the 90's....

    I agree that the free-market can help reduce poverty but the current world trade system is not free, should we make it so?

    Also the free-market is unlikely to guarantee the comprehensive education system you cite as a requirement for develoment

    2. Yes financial inequality.

    I would certainly say it is a problem, particularly in developing nations where unchecked inequality can lead to the establishment of elites.

    There is a reasonable argument for a meritocracy and the inequalities that would result but I think the meritocracy needs to be established in the developing world before the inequlity is allowed to grow. I don't think it will happen the other way round.....

    Thank you for actually seeing what was written.

    I agree that the free-market economy alone doesn't ensure adequate education, and would argue that government makes more effective investment in the economy of any given nation by investing more in education and less in efforts to control the market (outside of controls intended to maintain a competitive marketplace).

    As for financial inequality, I am not convinced that it is the problem that the media tries to point out. The issue of "elites" are coped with by education, at least to some extent.
    If a functioning democratic country has the bulk (say 98%) of their population above the poverty level, has the majority in the "middle-class" range of income, and has a few (say 2%) who have an income that is 20 times higher than the average income, why is that a problem?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    European economies are a mess. Even with the billion owed France by Iraq, France's economy only grew by 1.3% and Germany even had to eliminate their version of a high tech stock market because that segment of the economy collasped. Takes more than anti-American slogans to lead a country.

    However, I do think there's a need for social programs. But in countries like Sweden, people don't even want to work many hours because at some point they get taxed out of their earnings. There has to be a balance between socialism and capitalism. To me, the most a country can give you is a good education and growth that creates jobs.

    The war's screwing things up in Ameica right now. And Egypt may sink because of the war this year.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'd be prepared to live with that layout of wealth distribution. Unfortunately you will find that there are no many countries around with above-poverty-line figures of 98%. In fact, is there any country in the world with such figures? I believe in Britain, one of the richest countries in the world, the figure is 75% or less. God knows what the figures are in Africa.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    *puts on philosophy hat*

    Why is there a problem? Have we had a market collapse that I don't know about?

    Why is equality desirable? Why should we have less than our forefathers worked for in the interests of equality?

    Free market economy will, unchecked, result in spatial and temporal distribution of capital to suit itself. This wouldn't be fair. Do you want that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You're making my point, Aladdin. That's a poverty issue, not a equality issue. So, let's work on the poverty issue and get the numbers up to those kinds of levels (problem may be that poverty lines are readjusted to reflect a new "poverty standard").
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What do poverty lines reflect if not a culturally imposed discourse from the West?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by DJP
    What do poverty lines reflect if not a culturally imposed discourse from the West?

    You have a point. In Thailand, virtually every farmer falls below the poverty line. Yet they have houses over their head, clothes on their back, all the food they can eat (mostly self-sufficient) and live the same life that their ancestors did, with a few modern conveniences. Are they poor? Why?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think most people over here would be pretty pissed off if they led the life their forebears did.

    The question is, are these people happy eith their economic situation?

    If so then fair enough but if not then we can see a problem.

    Talking of poverty we mustn't confuse relative and absolute poverty, relative poverty is always likely to be present.......

    With regard to your earlier point Greeny. If the aim then is to secure 98% of the population out of absolute poverty, can this be achieved within a free-market framework?

    Given that the idea of free-trade is the specialisation of nations to the industries in which they hold a comparitive advantage and that this would be held to be the production of primary products in most of the least developed nations.

    Is a substantial middle-class likely to emerge?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Toadborg
    I think most people over here would be pretty pissed off if they led the life their forebears did.

    The question is, are these people happy eith their economic situation?

    Asians aren't like most people in the UK or US.

    The great majority of them are happy. There is a serious labor shortage in Thailand, and anyone who wishes to leave the farm and take factory work (which puts them above the poverty line) can. And a great number have (a couple million). But roughly 40 million people stay on the farm. There is plenty of other types of work available for laborers as well, so it isn't just a matter of not liking the idea of working in a factory. And for those who wish to go to school, there is an open University (but Thai rural education is such that few can handle the academnic rigors of University).

    Part of the issue in Thailand is that the economy changed from being predominantly agricultural to predominantly manufacturing in less than 20 years. The culture and the education system have not caught up.
    If so then fair enough but if not then we can see a problem.

    Talking of poverty we mustn't confuse relative and absolute poverty, relative poverty is always likely to be present.......

    With regard to your earlier point Greeny. If the aim then is to secure 98% of the population out of absolute poverty, can this be achieved within a free-market framework?

    Given that the idea of free-trade is the specialisation of nations to the industries in which they hold a comparitive advantage and that this would be held to be the production of primary products in most of the least developed nations.

    Is a substantial middle-class likely to emerge?

    I don't have an absolute answer, but from what I have seen in a number of countries that I have visited, a substantial middle-class does seem to emerge. How large it is depends on a number of factors, most of them related to what industries (including agriculture) are involved in the market play of the particular nation. Using Thailand again as an example, the middle class numbers somewhere in the 8-10 million range (total population 60 million), almost all of them being city dwellers, and the large majority in Bangkok. However, one of the problems with these numbers is that they are all based on official income, and official income may not reflect actual income, either in money or other goods.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You are assessing 'middle-classness' in terms of income then.

    What do you think the figures would be like in Thailand if you were to count middle-class in terms of the type of job they performed i.e. doctors, teachers, accountants, policemen, businessmen etc....?

    The point you make about education needing to catch up is a good one.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thailand is a very class based society, but the classes might not match what you are used to.

    From a status point of view, Priests and Teachers are just below the Royal Family. They are also some of the poorest paid in the country.

    That 8-10 million people that I identified as middle class are mostly in the professions that you would think of as such... Doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, accountants, managment, etc.

    Policemen are very poorly paid by salary, but the majority are corrupt and pull lots of money in bribes and payoffs.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Interesting........

    You mentioned that the large majority of these people were based in the urban centres.

    Do you think this is a problem?

    Does it hinder the development of the rural communities that there is a shortage of professionals, surely this kind of inequality is not positive?

    Also, as we started talking about the role of international capitalism. Did Thailands industry 'take-off' because of or despite globalisation?

    Basically were the industries protected or not?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Toadborg
    Interesting........

    You mentioned that the large majority of these people were based in the urban centres.

    Do you think this is a problem?

    Does it hinder the development of the rural communities that there is a shortage of professionals, surely this kind of inequality is not positive?

    Also, as we started talking about the role of international capitalism. Did Thailands industry 'take-off' because of or despite globalisation?

    Basically were the industries protected or not?

    There are fewer Doctors in the rural areas. Doesn't seem to effect life expectency or infant fatality though. The rest of the professions really don't make much difference.

    Thailand has consistently stayed with open markets and avoided any major protections. The booms (both agricultural and industrial) happened because of globalization.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm sure it isn't that simple.......

    Normally for manufacturing to base itself in a country, the country first requires a reasonable infrastructure.

    Was that provided by capitalism and globalisation, or the state?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Almost all the industry is near the Gulf. The Government announced and intended to develop areas to support Industry, but was so slow getting off the mark that the local industries did it themselves. That brought in the multi-nationals.
Sign In or Register to comment.