Why is global poverty an important problem?

Asked on by channing97

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Global poverty is a major problem for at least two reasons.

First, it is a problem for humanitarian and moral reasons.  All people deserve the chance to live decent lives.  While we in the rich world have relatively easy lives, there are many who are wretched.  To the extent that we can alleviate this, we have a moral responsibility to do so.

Second, it is a problem for pragmatic reasons.  Poverty causes problems that can reach us even in the rich world.  For example, truly widespread poverty in a country can help lead to a “failed state” such as Somalia or Afghanistan.  Today, this sort of failed state can become a haven for terrorists.  As another example, poverty reduces our global standard of living poor people cannot afford to buy many things.  This reduces demand for goods made around the world.  If there were fewer poor people, all economies would be better off, including those in the rich world.

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