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Why Poverty Is A Political Choice?

There is a famous quote that explains so well why poverty is a political choice which says: “If you are born poor, it’s not your mistake, but if you die poor, it’s your mistake.” Poverty is actually a condition in which a person or community lacks the resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty describes low levels of income in which basic human needs can’t be met comfortably.

Various conditions prove that poverty is nothing but a political choice. For instance, if the state is not willing to educate the nation and keep it illiterate in skills and management of things and resources then how come it expects its people to do well on various fronts.

After all, it was supposed to e the state’s political choice to keep the masses deprived. As far as amelioration of the situation is concerned, eliminating poverty requires dispensation of social justice and human rights. It also requires things like human resource development.

Firstly, poverty is a political choice because we choose the representatives and political parties without having comprehensive knowledge about their future reforms agenda. Resultantly they do things that totally antagonize the public interest and serves their own ulterior motives. This is how we decide to remain politically poor.

Secondly, when many of us don’t want to send our children to schools and those who send their children regularly to schools don’t want any educational reforms high on agenda or don’t strive for it to happen. All of them somehow made their choice of remaining poor educationally. Again that was a political choice.

Thirdly, when we don’t trust the sentiment of public accountability and cast our vote keeping in view some particular caste or family affiliations. At that time, we consistently ignore the importance of public accountability and decide to remain poor on governance fronts.

Yet another situation proves that poverty is a political choice. When people decide to keep their daughters uneducated and uninformed and transform them into silent sufferers of political, verbal, and domestic abuse; at that point in time, they decide to keep the next generation poor politically. Things like that also render the huge economic and human resource potential untapped and unutilized leaving these nations with poor family income.

Poverty is a political choice because it is the result of longstanding neglect by many governments, economists, and human rights advocates. Institutions like World Bank are lagging behind in getting to grips with the scale of global poverty, which it persistently underplays using the flawed measurement tool of an international poverty line (IPL).

Moreover, shock therapy of the World Bank and IMF’s structural adjustment programs (SAP) present an abysmal picture. SAPs are neoliberal reforms often attached as conditions to IMF loans to poor countries. These conditions include removing tariffs on imports, prioritizing production for export, privatizing services and utilities, and removing price controls.

SAPs are so designed to facilitate debt repayments but they weaken the hand of the state in terms of economic oversight and deepened the debt burden of poor countries. One estimate counts that today about 64 countries in the global South are spending more on debt repayments than on healthcare. This denies the state capability to spend on human development and well-being.

Contrary to this one size fits all approach, China has made huge progress in lifting people out of vicious circles of poverty. Instead of being forced to adopt a one-size-fits-all blueprint for free-market capitalism, China relied on state-led development policies and gradually liberalized its economy on its own terms. China’s approach has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

Economic growth is at the core of eliminating poverty and to attain satisfying economic growth levels political will and determination are required. China’s example sufficiently proves that a nation or a country can do away with poverty if there’s a strong political will.

In achieving this goal, international economic policies are least bothered as they’ve not been able to help the countries in eliminating poverty. Instead, these international platforms are strengthening their business style of financial trade of interest-based economy.

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About Noshin Bashir

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