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P. 1
Who is Resonsible for Alleviating Global Poverty?

Who is Resonsible for Alleviating Global Poverty?

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Published by Roy Moore
How inequality and poverty have been caused and who is responsible for the alleviation of it.
How inequality and poverty have been caused and who is responsible for the alleviation of it.

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Published by: Roy Moore on May 08, 2010
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11/19/2010

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1
Who is Responsible for Alleviating Global Poverty? 
Abstract
In
this essay
I
will argue that poverty has ofte
n
bee
n
caused by the global order, sustai
n
ed bycorporate, gover
nm
e
n
tal a
n
d i
n
dividual i
n
terests. Ack
n
owledgi
n
g the historical tre
n
ds of developi
n
g cou
n
tries, fro
m
slavery to colo
n
ialis
m
a
n
d i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce,
I
will argue that the i
n
creasi
n
gpoverty has largely bee
n
caused by those actors who have e
n
slaved, colo
n
ised or otherwise forcedco
n
ditio
n
s upo
n
cou
n
tries they dee
m
ed i
n
ferior. Noti
n
g how corruptio
n
,
m
is
m
a
n
age
m
e
n
t a
n
d a lackof i
n
frastructure are large reaso
n
s for
m
oder
n
poverty,
I
will argue that these are co
n
seque
n
ces of the historical processes, a
n
d were so
m
eti
m
es directly i
m
posed upo
n
developi
n
g cou
n
tries,particularly o
n
i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce. Therefore,
I
will argue that respo
n
sibility for alleviati
n
g global povertylies, firstly, with those who have be
n
efitted fro
m
the global poverty, a
n
d seco
n
dly, as Si
n
ger argues,with those who have the available resources to help others without har
m
i
n
g the
m
selves.
Essay
While over 24,000 childre
n
die every day as a result of poverty a
n
d poverty-related causes (You et al.2010), 1% of the e
n
tire worlds populatio
n
co
mm
a
n
d 40% of the wealth (Davies et al. 2006). Suchi
n
equality
m
ea
n
s the three richest i
n
dividuals
n
ow ow
n
 
m
ore wealth tha
n
the 48 poorest cou
n
triesa
n
d their 600
m
illio
n
people (Potter, 2000, p.80). O
n
e of the
m
ost striki
n
g issues is the i
m
porta
n
ce of 
m
orally arbitrary factors:
m
a
n
y people bor
n
i
n
the developed world have life expecta
n
cies doublethat of 
m
a
n
y i
n
developi
n
g cou
n
tries (C
I
A, 2009).
In
deed despite i
n
creased life-expecta
n
cy a
n
dreduced i
n
fa
n
t-
m
ortality i
n
developed cou
n
tries, Life expecta
n
cy i
n
so
m
e Africa
n
cou
n
tries hasfalle
n
by 20 years i
n
the past decade (Berkeley, 2001).
Case Study: the Democratic Republic of Congo
To fi
n
d who is respo
n
sible for alleviati
n
g such poverty, it
m
ust be co
n
sidered that all but two Africa
n
 cou
n
tries were a
nn
exed by Europea
n
s. Ma
n
y have bee
n
i
n
depe
n
de
n
t for less tha
n
half a ce
n
tury,a
n
d o
n
e of the
m
ost
n
otable exa
m
ples of exploitatio
n
was i
n
the cou
n
try curre
n
tly k
n
ow
n
as theDe
m
ocratic Republic of Co
n
go. Si
n
ce i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce, Half of the cou
n
trys childre
n
[have] died bythe age of five (Berkeley, 2001, p.116) a
n
d twe
n
ty years after i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce, i
n
1960, per capitai
n
co
m
e was less tha
n
o
n
e te
n
th of what it had bee
n
at i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce. (
I
bid. p.115) Critics arguethat with a vast la
n
d area a
n
d a wealth of 
n
atural resources,
m
ai
n
ly dia
m
o
n
ds, copper a
n
d cobalt,the De
m
ocratic Republic of Co
n
go has great pote
n
tial squa
n
dered by do
m
estic corruptio
n
, badi
n
frastructure a
n
d poor eco
n
o
m
ic
m
a
n
age
m
e
n
t.
In
support they cite Uga
n
da, a cou
n
try whosei
n
stitutio
n
s were destroyed by brutal dictators like
I
di A
m
i
n
a
n
d Milto
n
Obote, but which laterachieved growth of over 5 perce
n
t a
nn
ually (
I
bid).While true, the root cause of the lack of i
n
frastructure a
n
d ra
m
pa
n
t corruptio
n
are
m
oreillu
m
i
n
ati
n
g. Duri
n
g colo
n
isatio
n
, Ki
n
g Leopold
II
viewed the Co
n
go as his private fiefdo
m
,extracti
n
g the cou
n
trys
n
atural resources for the be
n
efit of Belgia
n
s, leavi
n
g little or
n
oi
n
frastructure fro
m
which to build a
n
i
n
depe
n
de
n
t
n
atio
n
: after i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce, i
n
a cou
n
try of 15
m
illio
n
people, there were o
n
ly sixtee
n
u
n
iversity graduates.The hu
m
a
n
cost of colo
n
isatio
n
 certai
n
ly explai
n
s part of this stag
n
atio
n
as 5-10
m
illio
n
Co
n
golese perished fro
m
overwork,
m
al
n
utritio
n
a
n
d outright slaughter duri
n
g Leopolds te
n
ure (
I
bid).
 
2Critics, however, poi
n
t to the
m
a
nn
er i
n
which co
n
ditio
n
s have worse
n
ed si
n
ce i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce. For a
n
ewly i
n
depe
n
de
n
t cou
n
try i
n
heriti
n
g such co
n
ditio
n
s, however, to be saddled with huge debts a
n
dbe expected to build a
n
i
n
frastructure, without prior experie
n
ce, see
m
s a
n
i
m
possible feat. Theovershadowi
n
g figure of 
m
oder
n
Co
n
golese history is Mobutu Sese Seko. E
m
bezzli
n
g up to $12billio
n
, o
n
ly Preside
n
t Suharto of 
In
do
n
esia was
m
ore corrupt i
n
the twe
n
tieth ce
n
tury (De
nn
y,2004)
1
. Bei
n
g Co
n
golese, so
m
e argue respo
n
sibility for the actio
n
s of Mobutu a
n
d his allies isdo
m
estic, but the first proble
m
is i
n
what we call the Co
n
go, as Virtually all of Africas states hadtheir borders draw
n
by colo
n
ial powers (Driscoll, 2009). These borders cut across traditio
n
al tribalbou
n
daries a
n
d States, while
m
ethods of co
n
trol, colo
n
ial powers ofte
n
e
m
powered a
m
i
n
ority tribeto help coerce others, produci
n
g rese
n
t
m
e
n
t a
n
d
m
aki
n
g it all but i
m
possible for a
n
y cohere
n
t Stateto e
m
erge. Such tribal co
n
flicts are ofte
n
bla
m
ed for i
n
stability i
n
such regio
n
s, but the origi
n
s of co
n
flicts for the
m
o
n
opoly of viole
n
ce ofte
n
arose fro
m
those colo
n
ial
m
ethods of co
n
trol. Such
m
ethods co
n
tributed to persiste
n
t viole
n
ce a
n
d political upheaval i
n
Liberia, as well as the Rwa
n
da
n
 ge
n
ocide of 1994 (Berkeley, 2001).
2
 These i
n
herited political proble
m
s created a high level of co
m
petitio
n
to succeed colo
n
ial powers.Although
m
a
n
y cou
n
tries elected leaders,
m
ost soo
n
desce
n
ded i
n
to so
m
e for
m
of 
m
ilitarydictatorship.
In
 
m
a
n
y cases, the for
m
er colo
n
ial power groo
m
ed leaders withi
n
the
m
ilitary,providi
n
g eco
n
o
m
ic a
n
d
m
ilitary support for coup détats. Fro
m
the early 1960s to the late 1980sthere were over 70
m
ilitary coups a
n
d 13 Preside
n
tial assassi
n
atio
n
s i
n
Africa; the coup détatre
m
ai
n
s the
m
ost co
mm
o
n
for
m
of regi
m
e cha
n
ge (Driscoll, 2009).The first leader of the DR Co
n
gowas Patrice Lu
m
u
m
ba. Elected Pri
m
e Mi
n
ister i
n
Ju
n
e 1960, i
n
the rhetoric of the Cold War it wasfeared Lu
m
u
m
ba prese
n
ted a Co
mm
u
n
ist threat. Larry Devli
n
, a C
I
A operative, se
n
t severalco
n
cer
n
ed
m
essages to Washi
n
gto
n
u
n
til Preside
n
t Eise
n
hower ordered the assassi
n
atio
n
of the
n
ew pri
m
e
m
i
n
ister givi
n
g Devli
n
the
n
ecessary che
m
ical tools (Berkeley, 2001, p.110).Mobutus frie
n
dship with Devli
n
is o
n
e of the reaso
n
s the US supported hi
m
.
3
Fi
n
a
n
cially a
n
dideologically this beca
m
e quite a prosperous relatio
n
ship: the US directly provided $2 billio
n
i
n
 
1
All dollars are i
n
US$ u
n
less otherwise stated.
2
 
In
Liberia, for
m
er Preside
n
t Sa
m
uel Doe was part of the Krah
n
tribe, traditio
n
ally a s
m
all tribe who wereu
n
proportio
n
ally privileged by A
m
erica
n
colo
n
ial powers. Supported by the US, Doe traded
m
ilitary positio
n
i
n
ga
n
d u
n
waveri
n
g allegia
n
ce i
n
the i
n
ter
n
atio
n
al real
m
for
m
ilitary a
n
d fi
n
a
n
cial assista
n
ce. A
m
erica
n
co
m
pa
n
yFiresto
n
e ca
m
e to ow
n
the Worlds largest rubber pla
n
tatio
n
a
n
d accou
n
ted for a quarter of Liberias taxreve
n
ue, profit which ca
m
e partially fro
m
bribi
n
g top officials with large houses a
n
d salaries. Charles Taylorused this deep-seated rese
n
t
m
e
n
t of the privilege the Krah
n
tribe e
nj
oyed to e
n
fla
m
e viole
n
ce,
m
a
n
agi
n
g theco
n
flict to positio
n
hi
m
self i
n
to power (Berkeley, 2001).Rwa
n
da followed a si
m
ilar patter
n
, though the Tutsis a
n
d the Hutus had i
n
ter
m
arried a
n
d shared la
n
dpeacefully u
n
til they were separated as disti
n
ct tribes by the Belgia
n
s duri
n
g colo
n
ialis
m
. Ma
n
y scholars eve
n
 argue that they are
n
ot disti
n
ct tribes. Give
n
special privileges by the Belgia
n
s, rese
n
t
m
e
n
t grew agai
n
st theTutsis a
n
d after i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce the Belgia
n
s left Rwa
n
da with a weak i
n
frastructure a
n
d
m
assive co
n
flictbetwee
n
these groups. O
n
e tribe co
mm
itted
m
assacres of the other, a
n
d reve
n
ge was repeatedly sought.Powerful elites exploited this lack of accou
n
tability, as the tribes were ge
n
erally bla
m
ed, rather tha
n
thepolitical elites who had e
n
gi
n
eered the slaughters for their ow
n
e
n
ds (Berkeley, 2001 & Bowe
n
, 1996).
3
 
Before the cou
n
trys i
n
depe
n
de
n
ce, Mobutu had served seve
n
years i
n
the ar
m
y as pu
n
ish
m
e
n
t for bei
n
gexpelled fro
m
several schools. Shortly afterwards he was exiled after bei
n
g fou
n
d writi
n
g for a
n
atio
n
alist
n
ewspaper opposed to Belgia
n
rule. Duri
n
g his ti
m
e i
n
exile he
m
et Devli
n
i
n
Brussels, a
n
d the pair retur
n
ed toCo
n
go together i
n
1960. Beco
m
i
n
g a colo
n
el a
n
d chief of staff of the ar
m
y, Mobutu used these positio
n
s toeffect what he called a peaceful revolutio
n
,
m
ore co
mm
o
n
ly k
n
ow
n
as a coup d'état. Lu
m
u
m
ba had
n
ot
 
3foreig
n
assista
n
ce, while the
I
MF a
n
d World Ba
n
k gave
m
ore i
n
loa
n
s (
I
bid). Mobutus wealthtrickled-dow
n
to his selected cro
n
ies, a
n
d his absolute co
n
trol of the ce
n
tral ba
n
k e
n
abled hi
m
to
m
ake a
m
ockery of parlia
m
e
n
tary budget appropriatio
n
s, 10% of the allocated resources we
n
t toschools a
n
d teachers a
n
d 1/3 of the allocated healthcare budget to i
n
te
n
ded recipie
n
ts (
I
bid, p.114).Mobutus
m
o
n
opoly of viole
n
ce depe
n
ded o
n
US
m
ilitary a
n
d fi
n
a
n
cial aid, a
n
d political wra
n
gli
n
gstu
n
ted growth, while hyperi
n
flatio
n
created recessio
n
s a
n
d huge co
n
flicts. Such co
n
flicts led toAfricas war, a
n
d after over a decade 5.4
m
illio
n
people died due to direct fighti
n
g, displace
m
e
n
t,
m
al
n
utritio
n
a
n
d starvatio
n
. The o
n
us of respo
n
sibility for DR Co
n
gos poverty, the
n
, is with the elitegroups withi
n
the DR Co
n
go, who were orga
n
isi
n
g a
n
d directly carryi
n
g out the political oppressio
n
.These elites, however, were trai
n
ed a
n
d fu
n
ded byWester
n
powers, i
n
cludi
n
g the A
m
erica
n
a
n
dBritish gover
nm
e
n
ts, who provided direct
m
ilitary support for Mobutu duri
n
g several coup atte
m
pts.
In
excha
n
ge, the US received access to the cou
n
trys vast
n
atural resources a
n
d strategic
m
ilitarypositio
n
, eve
n
ack
n
owledgi
n
g the deprivatio
n
of the Co
n
golese people (Berkeley, 2001).
Debt
O
n
e the
m
ost real co
n
seque
n
ces for the people withi
n
developi
n
g cou
n
tries is that
n
o
m
atter how
m
uch a leader steals fro
m
a cou
n
try, how
m
uch the
I
MF or World Ba
n
k provide i
n
aid, or how
m
a
n
yprotectio
n
ist
m
easures richer cou
n
tries i
m
ple
m
e
n
t to
m
ake their goods
m
ore co
m
petitive tha
n
 those of poorer cou
n
tries, it is the poor who
m
ust pay the price. That poverty is i
n
creasi
n
g while a
n
 elite
m
i
n
ority gets richer is a clear co
n
seque
n
ce of that rich elite sipho
n
i
n
g off loa
n
s a
n
d fi
n
a
n
cialassista
n
ce, with little or
n
o be
n
efit for others.
I
t is these ordi
n
ary citize
n
s, however, who
m
ust payfor the past a
n
d prese
n
t loa
n
s. Thus, despite
n
u
m
erous wars, coup atte
m
pts, assassi
n
atio
n
s, a
n
d a
n
 eco
n
o
m
y i
n
rui
n
, it is those displaced a
n
d i
m
poverished people who
m
ust pay the bala
n
ce a
n
d thedebt service to those who supported despotic leaders like Mobutu, profiti
n
g fro
m
their cou
n
trysrui
n
.O
n
e of the
m
ost difficult issues to reco
n
cile is the
m
otive of such i
n
stitutio
n
s. Despite clai
m
i
n
g to beco
n
cer
n
ed with reduci
n
g poverty, a brief look at policies a
n
d actio
n
s reveals a greater co
n
cer
n
for
m
acroeco
n
o
m
ic factors a
n
d special busi
n
ess i
n
terests (Stiglitz, 2002 & 2007). Lati
n
A
m
erica a
n
d theCaribbea
n
, for exa
m
ple, paid Norther
n
creditors $1.165 trillio
n
i
n
debt service alo
n
e, over the lasttwo decades of the twe
n
tieth ce
n
tury. To eli
m
i
n
ate Perus extre
m
e poverty, where 49% of thepopulatio
n
live o
n
less tha
n
$2 a day, would cost $332
m
illio
n
a
nn
ually; telli
n
gly, Peru pays five ti
m
esthat a
m
ou
n
t i
n
debt repay
m
e
n
ts (Boyd, 1999).Ma
n
y cou
n
tries take out
n
ew loa
n
s to pay for debt service, i
n
flatio
n
, a
n
d the origi
n
al value of the oldloa
n
s, creati
n
g a self-perpetuati
n
g cycle. Africa, Asia, Lati
n
A
m
erica a
n
d the Caribbea
n
regio
n
owed$610 billio
n
i
n
1980, a figure which grew
n
early four-fold to $2.3 trillio
n
i
n
1997. A 400% i
n
crease i
n
 seve
n
tee
n
years is u
n
sustai
n
able, a
n
d
m
a
n
y cou
n
tries ca
nn
ot afford to repay their debts a
n
d i
n
vesti
n
social services to be
n
efit their people. Debt service i
n
Ho
n
duras, for exa
m
ple, is 11% of GDP,double what the cou
n
try i
n
vests i
n
health a
n
d educatio
n
. By the e
n
d of the twe
n
tieth ce
n
tury,
bee
n
assassi
n
ated by this poi
n
t, but had bee
n
arrested, a
n
d despite escapi
n
g o
n
ce he was caught agai
n
, a
n
dthe
n
tortured a
n
d killed. Devli
n
 
n
oted that
 
although he had the approval a
n
d ability to assassi
n
ate hi
m
, this
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