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Microcredit: The Solution To Global Poverty

1924 words - 8 pages

Over 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day (Singer 7). In impoverished nations, the life expectancy is below fifty, compared to the average of seventy-eight years in rich nations. The mortality rate of children is twenty times greater in “least developed” countries than in developed nations. Nearly 18 million people die every year from avoidable, poverty-related causes (UNICEF). On the other side of the spectrum, there were more than 1,100 billionaires in the world in 2007 (Singer 9). According to Singer, “[t]here are about a billion [people] living at a level of affluence never previously known except in the courts of kings and nobles” (9). Peter Singer insists in his book, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty, that there is no reason why the rich should not give up part of their income to help the poor achieve a sustainable way of life. Looking at these statistics, who could say that he has an extreme viewpoint? With so many resources and so much money to give away, helping those in need takes no more than a simple action. Giving up some unneeded luxuries to potentially save more than one child’s life would not kill anyone. However, would that, in reality, benefit the impoverished? Ignoring the impoverished will leave them in their current situation; helping them excessively will cause them to rely on others. The real solution to this ongoing crisis lies in microloans.
Developed countries should not simply hand money to third world countries, as this gives no incentive to develop responsible government or fiscal policies. Dambisa Moyo, an international economist from Zambia, comments on foreign aid, stating that “aid is easy money” (Collier). If a person were to give a man in need a small sum of money, he is more likely to spend it on an indulgence rather than on an investment that will allow him to enjoy these expenses for life. An old Chinese proverb states: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” This wise saying applies to the act of giving aid to impoverished countries as well, as is currently demonstrated in many underdeveloped nations around the world, including Somalia:
“Somalians need food and water right now, but what they need in the long term is the same as the rest of us: functioning market economies based on democracy and the rule of law, where they have trade and industry rather than tents and food parcels. Oxfam Ireland will never understand that, because they come from a background which takes the efficacy of aid as a given, rather than merely one of a number of options” (O’Hanlon).
In addition, statistics show that nations that have received foreign monetary aid develop slower than those that have not, specifically because of a type of foreign aid called tied aid. Tied aid refers to aid that must be expended on exorbitantly priced products and services from the donor country (“How Aid Works (Or Doesn’t)”). According to Reality of...

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