Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is wrong with the poverty discourse?

Often I get struck with the way poverty discourse shape up in our world. On one hand, it is well-known, how poverty can effect every aspect of human life. On the other hand, intervention programs about poverty-alleviation are often completely off the mark, not only at national level, but also at international levels. At best, they are extremely short sighted.

In brief, my main issue with poverty intervention programs is that, they polarize the discussions and keep it extremely narrow. It gets all about money, as if people above-poverty-level are having great quality of life. It misses the point that money is just a means. What humans need is not money for its own sake, but because it might improve access to products and services. In the end what is money, an exchange of one's own effort, for someone else's efforts? But people who can change this discourse are invested in keeping the current world 'as-it-is', the status quo of the institutions while anyone who might be sane-enough, never reaches the power of decision making.

How about focusing on lives worth living, in livable communities ?
Health - how about preventive and promotive health for a change? Instead of pouring all resources into the sexiest disease of the month or the year?
Education - Some of the elite groups are moving towards un-schooling, forget about imprisoning kids into a drab environment for long long hours. How about improving quality of education, with the local community resources? An education which can teach kids skills of living, and how to be a better human being - From how to build house, how to grow crop, how to cook, how to make friends, how to be kind and compassionate, regulate emotions, how to problem solve, how to reflect?
Housing? building safe and sensible space of living?
Building communities?
Art? Culture?
The list can go long ...
But it boils down to how to live sustainably, meaningfully?

Not only our GDP doesn't count this, but also our discussion is lop sided and doomed sooner or later... Well, may be the sooner it is, the better!!! When is the Euro economic bomb blasting?

(PS: It is interesting to note, on one hand many of the developing wold economies like India were forced opened, almost arm-twisted, by the developed world countries, especially US. On the other hand, the same globalization has finally lead to a situation in the same developed countries, where the regular population is now sick of globalization and (almost) ready to go local & buy swadeshi!) Strange ways of world moves... isn't it ? ;)

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