Global Poverty Higher Than Ever And Getting Worse

Dr. E.C. Beuck
An homeless, impoverished womanPhoto byAamir Mohd Khan via Pixabay

According to recent research, global poverty levels are higher than ever and are, in fact, getting worse. Over the past decade, the richest one percent in the world have succeeded in capturing half of all the new wealth generated, with the other half going to the far more numerous ninety-nine percent of the population. This has accelerated since the onset of the recent pandemic, with the richest one percent going on to seize nearly two-thirds of all wealth created, which amounts to roughly $26 trillion dollars. To put this further in context, Oxfam notes that breaking down the numbers since 2020 shows that an individual in the bottom 90% of society only earns $1 for every $1.7 million a billionaire would have earned.

While wealth is becoming increasingly concentrated under the richest, the IMF has forecasted that a recession looms over the horizon for about a third of the world economy. In efforts to address the economic slump, Oxfam has already predicted that governments around the world will attempt to decrease their overall social spending over the next five years, which will have significant negative impacts on society and, especially, the poorest among us. This will come after the United Nations Human Development Index has dropped for two years in a row for 90% of world countries, and how record highs have been seen in food prices to the amount of a 14% increase on average. All the while the largest food and energy companies are raking in record profits.

So what exactly will this mean for the world? According to the World Bank, central banks raising of interest rates in an attempt to deal with inflation will contribute to financial crises in emerging markets, with the result that developing economies will experience lasting harm. The World Bank suggests that, to prevent these worst cases from occurring, that policymakers should work to ease labor-market constraints, boost the global supply of commodities, and strengthen global trade networks.

Even should the best case scenario occur, and the majority of negative impacts coming from a global recession be mitigated to a degree, Brookings has already suggested that concentrations of global poverty will shift from Asia to being concentrated largely in sub-Saharan African countries by 2030. Given the histories of conflict in a number of these states, as well as the difficult to reach contexts of the populations there living in extreme poverty, global goals to keep chipping away at the presence of poverty in the world will likely slow to a significant degree. Sadly this will mean that global poverty will likely remain a pressing, complicated issue for the world in the decades ahead.

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Holding a PhD in Political Science, I write about current events and on political topics related to international relations, international law, conflict both between and within states, and the interactions between technology and politics.

Washington, DC

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