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Thoughts on Global Poverty and Western Ignorance

In: Social Issues

Submitted By z3459484
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It seems that Western society has now long been entrenched in consumerism and greed, with the values of profit and comfort now trumping compassion, equality and generosity; the things that make us human. We cannot allow this mentality to continue to dictate what we do with our finances and our time. Perhaps a hundred years ago, well-off people in quiet country towns could be excused for simply not knowing the hardship endured by so many worldwide.[1] But in our increasingly globalised and informed society, turning a blind eye is equivalent to actively perpetuating suffering.

The fundamental thought process that needs to change is this idea that helping the poor is someone else's job: the idea that we can continue to grow our retirement 'nest egg', while others have no 'nest' to begin with, and probably will not live long enough to retire;[2] the idea that scientists should spend millions developing cosmetics and plastic surgery, while others are dying from preventable diseases;[3] the idea that we need to own the fastest and newest car, while others have to walk miles just to access drinking water.[4]

From a young age we have been conditioned to accept this type of thinking as normal. But the reality is that when we put our standard of living side by side with that of millions around the world, it appears ridiculous and inconceivable that we could allow such outrageous inequality to persist. Most of us have had moments when we have realised this, and have even felt we would like to do something about it. But all too quickly the endless distractions commercialism bombards us with push those thoughts to the back of our minds, where they lay dormant, and eventually die.

[1] Martin Ravallion, Awareness of poverty over three centuries (14 February 2011) Vox, .
[2] Homeless people have a life expectancy up to 30 years shorter than the national average in England:…...

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