With President Obama and his new emphasis on income inequality and supposed poverty in the United States, one could not be blamed for believing that poverty is a huge problem in the United States. With the comparisons made to the European nations as examples which should be emulated by the United States in order to reduce, if not eliminate, poverty one might be led to believe there is even less poverty in European nations. The actual truth is there is virtually no poverty throughout the first world, the industrialized and modern nations which includes almost every European nation, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and all of the rest of the of the G-20 nations. That is not to claim that there is nobody living in these nations who may be going hungry as there very likely are some among the homeless who could be found to suffer from severe lack of nutrition and other health problems. What this does claim is that they make up an almost negligible sector in the population and in many cases these people deserve to be institutionalized and many would have been cared for as such before the great new experiment proposed and shoved through legislatures from the Federal Government down to the most local governances by progressives in the mental health care systems in the 1950s and 1960s where it was claimed that the mentally infirm would be better served placed in conditions where they were forced into the mainstream public arena where they would interact with normal adjusted population giving them an impetus and serving as an example for these distressed people. This led to the closing of a majority of the mental health asylums placing their former inmates in halfway houses from which they mostly walked out and never returned as without the guidance and constant observation they simply walked off and the result was their living on the streets without receiving their medications or any counselling. This has led to some who are the most in need of assistance and supervised living not being treated making up a fair number of those classified as homeless, a number which grew significantly as the mental health facilities were closed and transformed into out-patient care facilities. Beyond this sector of society, there is little if any real poverty in the industrialized world when compared to the rest of the nations of the world.
In the industrialized nations starvation is not a widespread problem while in many areas in the world where civil strife or outright war zones exist there are numerous, often a majority, of those who are truly starving to death, homeless, without any medical healthcare and completely destitute. There have been reports of widespread starvation with people eating grasses, leaves, tree bark and anything they can scrounge in North Korea and more recently in two of the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria who have been denied receipt of any aid including food by both the Syrian Army and their allies and the rebel forces. There has been widespread starvation due to drought in much of central Africa, a situation which has been further exaggerated by internecine warfare often between warlords or religious extremists. These are areas where there exists true and absolute poverty, not relative lack of wealth. These are people who are truly suffering and face death by violence, starvation, disease or any number of causes which are virtually unheard of in the First World. Of course to report that there is no true and life-threatening poverty throughout the First World is something that the politicians are loathe to admit as doing so would remove from the discussion a cause on which they can grandstand and steamroll over any objections because they are assisting the unfortunate and wretched victims of poverty in the society. The so-called poverty in the First World has actually become big business and those who are the ruling princes will not allow anybody to harm their cash cow.
The main mantra that those who utilize rumored rampant poverty within the most advanced and wealthy societies is that there must be income equality and systems put in place that redistribute wealth in order to care for those who are less fortunate and in poverty. Their claim will be that those who have succeeded the most owe those who have less to share in their good fortune. They desire penalizing the top ten percent to distribute among those who make up the bottom twenty percent. The problem comes if one were to take this concept and generally apply it to the entirety of the population of planet Earth. If the wealth of the top ten percent of the world were taken through a high rate of tax or other penalty and redistributed to those in the bottom twenty percent then none of the redistributed wealth would be received by anybody in the First World. The distribution could be spread amongst the bottom fifty percent, that’s right, the bottom half, then there might be the smallest of chance that some of the redistributed wealth would reach the less wealthy, it would be wrong to call them truly desperately poor, of the First World. Where it is folly to pretend that this situation will change during our lifetimes, but wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to hear one of the poverty pimps to come out and tell the truth and claim to have reached an epiphany and begin to place their efforts to assist those who would be thankful if given one solid meal a day for them and their children. Even better, help them to farm and encourage education and starting small businesses within their nations. Of course, in many situations it would be necessary to end conflicts which have raged for years upon years. These are intractable problems which have plagued mankind since the first clan grabbed some heavy branches and rocks and attacked some other family in order to plant their control over additional land and expand their power and influence and guarantee their future existence of their family. Now the wars are larger but they are still predicated on guaranteeing your way of life becomes preeminent. Have we really advanced at all since that first battle or have we simply invented more complicated reasons behind which we hide our most base instincts which still rule our societies with just a somewhat more complex web of rules, laws, excuses and ways we can gain power over the next group, the other, all those others. We simply have more efficient rocks to throw at each other and the same basic reasons for throwing them and until we grow and overcome our most basic instincts we will remain with a world with many barely able to survive from one day to the next because of inhuman situations caused by inhuman humans, how’s that for an seeming impossibility?