People in Peril

Adrian Payumo
6 min readDec 13, 2020

What is Poverty?

Source: FILE PHOTO BY LEANNE JAZUL/RAPPLER

Poverty is simply the lack of being able to afford basic life necessities and services like food, water, shelter, clothes, education, and healthcare. Here in our country, the Philippines has the largest growth rate of poverty which was said in the documentary, “CNA Poverty in Asia: The Philippines” especially with the pandemic happening the poor is struggling of surviving due to the inability to afford basic life necessities and being able to not have the sickness spreading across the world which is the COVID-19. Though said by one of the interviewees that they are not afraid to die cause of COVID, but they are afraid to die because of hunger. Due to the pandemic a lot are going through poverty especially people who have jobs on the road like jeepney drivers, street vendors, etc. This created the “urban poor” they had to rely on getting a lot of jobs that can accumulate income but if there is none, they have to resort into picking scrap food in marketplaces even if it is on the floor. As said by an interviewee that they are not accustomed to being provided by the government because they have jobs but due to circumstances they had to stop.

Additionally, there are two perspectives in viewing poverty which is absolute and relative poverty. Absolute poverty means that a person’s annual income is below the normal set by a country, people who fall below the line has the inability to provide for their basic life necessities and services. While relative poverty are people who have an income that falls below 50% of the country’s median income, this percentage is bound to change based on the economic growth of a country.

What are the key trends in global poverty and inequality?

Poverty is the inability of a person to afford basic living necessities and services like food, shelter, water, clothes, healthcare, and education. The trend now is that due to the pandemic there are more and more businesses forced to shut down and there are more and more people who are losing income. The most affected from this even before the pandemic are children.

Child poverty is the world’s biggest challenge, Source: World Data Lab projections, 2019

As of 2019 the world’s 2.3 billion children (those less than 18 years of age), 301 million live on less than $1.90/day in 2011 PPP. This means that 13 percent of the world’s children are very poor compared to 6 percent of adults.

More than half of the world’s poorest people are children, even though they (children) represent only 30 percent of the world’s total population and the results only consider children living in established households. These findings show an even harder truth: Children remain both a cause of poverty and its consequence. Families with modest incomes risk falling into poverty as their families grow. They need to feed more people often with less income when their mothers stay at home. At the same time, it is poor families who have more children, especially if the mothers did not attend secondary school.

Inequality really happens everywhere and the ones affected the most are children. It is not right that children have to experience not being a child and look for jobs just to live everyday. It is not entirely the parent’s fault but the society as well because of the unequal opportunities given to people in lower class. There is a need to fix this because children are the future of our world and we have to take care of them. It is not right that they have to experience hardships at an early age.

More than half of the world’s poor are children, Source: World Data Lab projections, 2019

However, the good news is that child poverty is declining across the world and it is declining faster than the poverty rate of adults. Under a base-case scenario, World Data Lab projects that by 2030, child poverty will decline from 301 million today to some 233 million though this data is not updated yet especially from the pandemic we are on this will further be delayed.

Does capitalism eliminate or reinforce inequality?

An economic system run by private individuals and businesses is Capitalism. The production of goods and services is based on supply and demand in the general market known as a market economy rather than through central planning known as a planned economy or command economy. For me, to answer the question does capitalism eliminate or reinforce inequality? Yes, capitalism reinforces inequality because it makes the rich richer and poor poorer.

Capitalism though it promotes inequality has certain benefits because the companies can offer employment which in return increases the job opportunities. These can help a lot of people gain stable income which can help them afford basic living necessities. A lot of companies offer a lot of products for the people to choose from, products that can help in the people’s daily lives. With the constant feedback companies are gaining, this can further push more research and innovations for the future.

Inequality side is that most companies take advantage of countries that have high workforce but with the cheaper price like the Philippines, China, India, etc. There is also a gap between glasses especially in the workforce, companies tend to hire people who came from well-known schools without checking their credentials. The people in lower classes tend to have a lower starting job compared to middle- and high-class people. This creates a division and inequality between salaries. People coming from the high class tends to have it easy as they say because everything is spoon fed. I am not saying this is bad or anything, but I can just see that not all is having an equal opportunity to show their skills.

Has globalization increased, or decreased, global poverty?

Economic growth is the main channel through which globalization can affect poverty. What researchers have found is that, in general, when countries open up to trade, they tend to grow faster and living standards tend to increase (Pavcnik, 2009). Foreign trade can help in selling goods as well as consuming goods. This can help develop further the country’s economy and there is not own country that has all the raw materials needed to day to create great technology. A lot is being exported and imported now even labor. Globalization creates an avenue for people to have jobs due to the trade and other goods or services that can be used for trading.

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