“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” As Robert Kennedy implies in the quote above, the reason for poverty is not the lack of resources but the unequal distribution of them. As of January 23rd, 2012, 50% of the world’s population is shown to live on less than $2.50 a day, which equates to under $912.50 a year. The average American makes $41,560 yearly, over 45 times what half of the world makes. This outrageous difference is demonstrative of the unfairness of the division of the world’s wealth.
Imagine a graph representing the amount of income various groups of peoples obtain. Imagine a line crossing the graph about halfway through it that represents the fulfillment of basic needs such as food, water, proper clothing, education, ect. Now imagine two bars: one representing America and the other representing the 50% of the world mentioned earlier. America’s bar goes past the line to the top of the graph, while the second bar barely reaches halfway to the fulfillment line. This is the reality of the trend of poverty in the world. While a select few percents of the world’s population enjoy comfortable lives, the majority are struggling in their day to day lives just to survive.
Poverty is a rampant, growing problem throughout the world. Unfortunately, the reality of it is that poverty will never go away. The only way to event attempt such a feat would be for thousands of people to work together for it. This was attempted in the form of communism, but humanity’s own fallibility showed that it’s not possible to pull off such an effort. The graph is not likely to ever change drastically for the better.
In spite of this, there are still things we can do. We can make a difference in people’s lives. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change others’ circumstances. The world’s graph may not change, but our own personal graphs can. We can lower our bars to the fulfillment line and use the excess to raise someone else’s up.
It’s not just about the money, however. While finances can change lives, as Mother Teresa puts it, “Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” The best thing we can do for people is to genuinely love them. The feeling one gets when they know that they are truly loved is immeasurable. Mother Teresa writes “Hungry for love, He looks at you. Thirsty for kindness, He begs of you. Naked for loyalty, He hopes in you. Homeless for shelter in your heart, He asks of you. Will you be that one to Him?” Many people are poor in love, but we can bring it to them wherever they are at.
Ideally, I would like to see a world where everyone has enough and everyone is loved. This idealism in itself is impossible; however we can make a difference in individuals’ lives. I may not be able to change the world as one man, but I can change the world for one man.