Tag Archives: access

Causes of Poverty- reprinted- url below

Causes of Poverty


  • by Anup Shah
  • This Page Last Updated Tuesday, March 04, 2008
  • Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.
  • The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the 41 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (567 million people) is less than the wealth of the world’s 7 richest people combined.
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
  • Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
  • 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).

More Facts (and Sources) »

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Behind the increasing interconnectedness promised by globalization are global decisions, policies, and practices. These are typically influenced, driven, or formulated by the rich and powerful. These can be leaders of rich countries or other global actors such as multinational corporations, institutions, and influential people.

In the face of such enormous external influence, the governments of poor nations and their people are often powerless. As a result, in the global context, a few get wealthy while the majority struggle.

These next few articles and sections explore various poverty issues in more depth:

Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty

Cutbacks in health, education and other vital social services around the world have resulted from structural adjustment policies prescribed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank as conditions for loans and repayment. In addition, developing nation governments are required to open their economies to compete with each other and with more powerful and established industrialized nations. To attract investment, poor countries enter a spiraling race to the bottom to see who can provide lower standards, reduced wages and cheaper resources. This has increased poverty and inequality for most people. It also forms a backbone to what we today call globalization. As a result, it maintains the historic unequal rules of trade. Last updated Monday, July 02, 2007.

Read article: Structural Adjustment—a Major Cause of Poverty

Poverty Around The World

Inequality is increasing around the world while the world appears to globalize. Even the wealthiest nation has the largest gap between rich and poor compared to other developed nations. In many cases, international politics and various interests have led to a diversion of available resources from domestic needs to western markets. Historically, politics and power play by the elite leaders and rulers have increased poverty and dependency. These have often manifested themselves in wars, hot and cold, which have often been trade- and resource-related. Mercantilist practices, while presented as free trade, still happen today. Poverty is therefore not just an economic issue, it is also an issue of political economics. Last updated Thursday, February 15, 2007.

Read article: Poverty Around The World

Today, over 26,500 children died around the world

Around the world, 27–30,000 children die every day. That is equivalent to 1 child dying every 3 seconds, 20 children dying every minute, a 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring almost every week, or 10–11 million children dying every year. Over 50 million children died between 2000 and 2005. The silent killers are poverty, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes. In spite of the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage. Last updated Thursday, January 31, 2008.

Read article: Today, over 26,500 children died around the world

Economic Democracy

This next page is a reposting of a flyer about a new book from J.W. Smith and the Institute for Economic Democracy, whom I thank for their kind permission. The book is called Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle Of The 21st Century. Typically on this site, I do not advertise books etc, (although I will cite from and link to some, where relevant). However, in this case, I found that the text in the flyer provides an excellent summary of poverty’s historic roots, as well as of the multitude of issues that cause poverty. (Please also note that I do not make any proceeds from the sale of this book in any way.) Posted Sunday, November 26, 2000.

Read article: Economic Democracy

World Hunger and Poverty

People are hungry not because of lack of availability of food, or “over” population, but because they are too poor to afford the food. Politics and economic conditions have led to poverty and dependency around the world. Addressing world hunger therefore implies addressing world poverty as well. If food production is further increased and provided to more people while the underlying causes of poverty are not addressed, hunger will still continue because people will not be able to purchase food. Last updated Thursday, February 15, 2007.

Read article: World Hunger and Poverty

Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty

Even non-emergency food aid, which seems a noble cause, is destructive, as it under-sells local farmers and can ultimately affect the entire economy of a poor nation. If the poorer nations are not given the sufficient means to produce their own food and other items then poverty and dependency may continue. In this section you will also find a chapter from the book World Hunger: 12 Myths, by Lappé et al., which describes the situation in detail and looks at the myth that food aid helps the hungry. A must read! Last updated Monday, December 10, 2007.

Read article: Food Dumping [Aid] Maintains Poverty


We often hear leaders from rich countries telling poor countries that aid and loans will only be given when they show they are stamping out corruption. While that definitely needs to happen, the rich countries themselves are often active in the largest forms of corruption in those poor countries, and many economic policies they prescribe have exacerbated the problem. Corruption in developing countries definitely must be high on the priority lists, but so too must it be on the priority lists of rich countries. Last updated Sunday, September 23, 2007.

Read article: Corruption

United Nations World Summit 2005

The UN World Summit for September 2005 is supposed to review progress since the Millennium Declaration, adopted by all Member States in 2000. However, the US has proposed enormous changes to an outcome document that is to be signed by all members. There are changes on almost all accounts, including striking any mention of the Millennium Development Goals, that aim for example, to halve poverty and world hunger by 2015. This has led to concerns that the outcome document will be weakened. Developing countries are also worried about stronger text on human rights and about giving the UN Security Council more powers. Last updated Sunday, September 18, 2005.

Read article: United Nations World Summit 2005

IMF & World Bank Protests, Washington D.C.

To complement the public protests in Seattle, the week leading up to April 16th/17th 2000 saw the other two global institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, as the focus of renewed protests and criticisms in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the mass demonstrations was to protest against the current form of globalization, which is seen as unaccountable, corporate-led, and non-democratic, and to show the link between poverty and the various policies of the IMF and the World Bank. Last updated Friday, July 13, 2001.

Read article: IMF & World Bank Protests, Washington D.C.

Poverty Facts and Stats

While the world is globalizing and the mainstream media in many developed nations point out that economies are booming (or, in periods of downturns, that the current forms of “development” and economic policies are the only ways for people to prosper), there is an increasing number of poor people who are missing out on this apparent boom, while increasingly fewer people are becoming far wealthier. Some of these facts and figures are an eye-opener, to say the least. Last updated Tuesday, March 04, 2008.

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Multiple topics day

First of all, some mental health consumer oriented blogs. I’m adding them to the links bar as well but am including the descriptions below:

Furious Seasons is authored by a journalist/patient Philip Dawdy who was diganosed with bipolar disorder and who seeks to hold the mental health industry accountable. The author is opposed to outpatient commitment and forced electroshock treatments.

A variety of news items and opinions on a web log run by Patricia Lefave of Ontario, Canada “expressing the alternative views of those who are dissatisfied with the current state of the mental health system around the world and current and growing powers of bio-psychiatry and the psychiatric establishment”

From the blogger: “I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1985 at age 19. I was medicated off and on from 1985 to 1988 and then medicated in 1992 to the present after having the daylights scared out of me by what I now see as ignorant doctors. About three years ago I started questioning the heavy drugging of my symptoms as well as the diagnosis itself. I began the slow and difficult process of withdrawing from my psych meds. I hope to share with the readers of this blog this journey as it continues. This journey includes my ultimate disillusionment of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry.”

Ron Unger is a full-time therapist in Eugene, Oregon and Coordinator of MindFreedom Lane County. From Ron’s blog description: According to what has been called the medical model, people who have been diagnosed with “schizophrenia” and with “psychosis” in general, have a brain disease or chemical imbalance… While the medical model can easily be criticized for lacking evidence, a perhaps more important criticism of it is that it lacks any model for how people recover! If people have a brain disease today, how could they go on to have highly successful lives later? And why is it that most of those who are doing best have all long ago quit their “medical” treatment, psychiatric drugs? (I’ve talked with Ron and he’s a wonderful resource.)

“Shaking a stick at the state of mental health,” the stir-crazy blog is based in Minnesota. From the site: “stir-crazy.org is hosted and written by Christin. Additional posts are written by other participants in the Icarus Project – Minneapolis discussion group, but the opinions expressed therein are the respective author’s and not necessarily those of the group or the national Icarus Project. The Icarus Project – Minneapolis is also hosted by stir-crazy.org.”

This just from Spitzer News, related to disability rights I suppose:


At a ceremony held today at the National Federation of the Blind, 
NASA unveiled a new book that brings majestic images taken by its 
Great Observatories to the fingertips of the blind. The Great 
Observatories include NASA‘s Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space 

“Touch the Invisible Sky” is a 60-page book with color images of 
nebulae, stars, galaxies and some of the telescopes that captured the 
original pictures. Each image is embossed with lines, bumps and other 
textures. These raised patterns translate colors, shapes and other 
intricate details of the cosmic objects, allowing visually impaired 
people to experience them. Braille and large-print descriptions 
accompany each of the book’s 28 photographs, making the book’s design 
accessible to readers of all visual abilities.

The book contains spectacular images from the Great Observatories and 
powerful ground-based telescopes. The celestial objects are presented 
as they appear through visible-light telescopes and different 
spectral regions invisible to the naked eye, from radio to infrared, 
visible, ultraviolet and X-ray light.

The book introduces the concept of light and the spectrum and 
explains how the different observatories complement each others’ 
findings. Readers take a cosmic journey beginning with images of the 
sun, and travel out into the galaxy to visit relics of exploding and 
dying stars, as well as the Whirlpool galaxy and colliding Antennae 

“Touch the Invisible Sky” was written by astronomy educator and 
accessibility specialist Noreen Grice of You Can Do Astronomy LLC and 
the Museum of Science, Boston, with authors Simon Steel, an 
astronomer with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in 
Cambridge, Mass., and Doris Daou, an astronomer at NASA Headquarters, 

“About 10 million visually impaired people live in the United 
,” Grice said. “I hope this book will be a unique resource for 
people who are sighted or blind to better understand the part of the 
universe that is invisible to all of us.”

The book will be available to the public through a wide variety of 
sources, including the National Federation of the Blind, Library of 
repositories, schools for the blind, libraries, museums, 
science centers and Ozone Publishing.

“We wanted to show that the beauty and complexity of the universe 
goes far beyond what we can see with our eyes!” Daou said.

“The study of the universe is a detective story, a cosmic ‘CSI,’ 
where clues to the inner workings of the universe are revealed by the 
amazing technology of modern telescopes,” Steel said. “This book 
invites everyone to join in the quest to unlock the secrets of the 

“One of the greatest challenges faced by blind students who are 
interested in scientific study is that certain kinds of information 
are not available to them in a non-visual form,” said Marc Maurer, 
president of the National Federation of the Blind. “Books like this 
one are an invaluable resource because they allow the blind access to 
information that is normally presented through visual observation and 
media. Given access to this information, blind students can study and 
compete in scientific fields as well as their sighted peers.”

The prototype for this book was funded by an education grant from the 
Chandra mission, and production was a collaborative effort by the 
NASA space science missions, which provide the images, and other 
agency sources.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the 
Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission 
Directorate, Washington. Science operations are conducted at the 
Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology
also in Pasadena. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

I’m also adding the Spitzer site to my link list.

The Icarus Project Harm Reduction Guide for Comng Off of Psychiatric Drugs

The Icarus Project and Freedom Center’s 40-page guide gathers the best information we’ve come across and the most valuable lessons we’ve learned about reducing and coming off psychiatric medication. Includes info on mood stabilizers, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, risks, benefits, wellness tools, withdrawal, information for people staying on their medications, detailed Resource section, and much more. Written by Will Hall, with a 14-member health professional Advisory Board providing research assistance and 24 other collaborators involved in developing and editing. The guide has photographs and art throughout, and a beautiful original cover painting by Ashley McNamara.

Go here:



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