zenhabits : breathe

Raise Your Hopeful Voice: Why We Are Responsible For Third World Poverty, and How to Change It

“Raise your hopeful voice; you have a choice” - Glen Hansard and Mark√©ta Irglov√°, in the song Falling Slowly

While it is easy to criticize wrongdoings in other countries — dictatorships, cruelty, corruption, torture, oppression of women, genocide — it is more difficult, and yet so much more important, to start with the wrongdoings in your own country.

It is rarely ever said that we, the United States and other industrialized nations of the world, are responsible for the deaths of millions of poor, of children, of oppressed, in the Third World nations of the world. And yet, we are, in a very direct way.

I don’t often talk about politics, mainly because I’ve worked in the politics industry for so long and I know that it’s mostly all for show — elections are a dog-and-pony show where the powerful get elected every time, and the public rarely talks about issues that matter.

But today I’ve decided that with an audience so large, not to mention an audience as generous and compassionate as all of you are, I have a responsibility to raise my hopeful voice in defense of the voiceless, the powerless, the hungry and the dying. It would be wrong of me to be silent when I know better.

Today I’d like to talk about Third World poverty, and why we in the First World are responsible. And how we can change it.

What’s at Stake

I am not going to bore you with statistics, and this post would be pages and pages long if I went into details. But let’s just briefly look at what is happening in the Third World, a group of countries that is immensely populous but immensely poor.

The effects of the extreme poverties of these countries is devastating. Just a few:

The Causes of Third World Poverty, Briefly

There are many, many causes of Third World poverty, and it would take several books to explore each of them. But I’ll mention a few briefly, so that we can see how we’re responsible:

Again, this is just a very brief introduction to the causes of Third World poverty, but it serves as an illustration for what we in the First World can do to help.

What We Can Do to Help

While it might seem like an overwhelming and insurmountable problem, we in the First World have the power to make a major difference, if we can get enough of us to join in the effort. Some of the causes of global poverty in the section above are fixable, with actions from our government. And as we have democratic control over our government, we can pressure our elected officials to make important changes.

Some things we can do:

What You Can Do Right Now

So if this problem is something we in the First World can help alleviate, what can you do as a person, right at this moment? Several things:


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