How to Solve Worldwide Poverty. Seriously.

Sure we can and it’s no scenario – we choose ourselves. America’s income gap has been making the news a lot recently thanks to workers at fast food establishments going on strike. Our wealth inequality seems to be worsening by the day as laid out in politizane’s viral video. Compared to the rest of the world, America’s poor still live pretty comfortable lives. Let me say that I am not negating the difficulties of being poor in America. I have lived it and would never downplay the grim reality.

Nonetheless, while millions of Americans struggle to pay for food and rent, 8 in 10 humans make less than $10 a day. Over three billion people have to survive on less than $2.50 per day. Stop. Numbers are too easy to glide over. Think about it. Half of the planet works a long day to earn what an American minimum wage worker makes in about 20 minutes. A billion people rang in the new millennium without the ability to read to sign their name. Most of those people don’t have immediate access to drinking water. Almost three billion people (again about half of the planet) lack basic sanitation systems. You know, what the more privileged of the world has had since the High Middle Ages? We still haven’t managed to get it to everyone on the planet.

It is estimated that the world could end worldwide poverty in 20 years. Again. End worldwide poverty in 20 years. All we would have to spend is $175 billion per year. Does that seem like a lot? Let me put it to you this way. America spends more money on its military than any other country in the world, to the tune of $680 billion per year. So. America could take enough money to END POVERTY out of its military budget each year and still spend $339 billion more than the next biggest spender on the list.

But what if America didn’t do it alone? What if each of the 30 countries comprising the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development pulled their funds together? The cost would be less than 0.7% of their total income. Why isn’t this the singular goal of the United Nations?

As Amanda Palmer said, we are standing on cliff. Only, we don’t have to step forward. The wide valley below leads to more inequality and perhaps our eventual demise. Let us take a step back instead. Spend just a little less on ourselves, toss our pocket change in the bucket for humanity. We don’t have to kill, but we do have to feel. We are not more deserving than the rest of humanity.

Imagine if we empowered our impoverished global neighbors. How many of our problems could be solved by bringing three billion new minds full of possible solutions to the table? No one can think clearly when their bellies are empty and written words are gibberish. We can save ourselves. We can save the individual and the group. We must stop concentrating on the railroad switch, there’s an emergency brake right beside it.

Originally published on my blog.

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