Long time no see. I'm back (semi-permanently) to write about poverty for Blog Action Day 2008. The problem is: what to write about?
I'm sure there's thousands of other political blogs out there profiling Obama and McCain's respective positions on poverty. That would be boring.
I could write about the millions of things you could do to help fight poverty. Once again, I'm sure hundreds of other blogs are doing the same thing.
How about this: why does poverty matter? From a humanitarian position, of course it's terrible. But what about from a realist political position? Who gives a sh!t about the poor, homeless, and starving of the Earth?
There are plenty of reasons.
- Poverty spreads disease, greatly undermining the effectiveness of local governments.
- Poverty causes violence, also undermining the effectiveness of local governments.
- People living in poverty are more vulnerable to extremist political persuasion, and feel less loyalty to a state unable to deliver basic services.
- States with high rates of poverty are more likely to have malevolent dictatorships, threatening regional stability.
For these reasons conditions of poverty increase the risk of political violence, terrorism, war and genocide, and make those living in poverty vulnerable to human trafficking, internal displacement and exile as refugees. Countries suffering widespread poverty may experience loss of population, particularly in high-skilled professions, which may further undermine their ability to improve their situation.
Poverty is not just worry for "lefty commies"; it's a geopolitical concern for governments everywhere.