3 MYTHS THAT BLOCK PROGRESS FOR THE POOR
By almost any measure, the world is better than it has ever been. People are living longer, healthier lives. Many nations that were aid recipients are now self-sufficient. You might think that such striking progress would be widely celebrated, but in fact, Melinda and I are struck by how many people think the world is getting worse. The belief that the world can’t solve extreme poverty and disease isn’t just mistaken. It is harmful. That’s why in this year’s letter we take apart some of the myths that slow down the work. The next time you hear these myths, we hope you will do the same.
– Bill Gates
Myth #1 POOR COUNTRIES ARE DOOMED TO STAY POOR
by Bill Gates
You show Mexico City. A dilapidated small area with few people and a large overcrowded street. How is this better? I do not know if the dilapidated small area was still there or not.
Mexico is ranked 14th largest economy in the world or about 7% the GDP of the US. If this economy was so good why do Mexicans (and points South of there) come here for jobs? It has a major water shortage, so Mexico City is not all of that well off.
The Congo is ranked 109th in the world, or 0.1% of the US’s GDP.
Basically showing a snapshot of a part a city, is not representative of the country’s state of being.
Even at this, it just means (even China and India their GDPs or per capita income is higher), that the income gap between the rich and poor is large and getting larger. So on average it may be better but it is rich few that skews the average. Most are still in poverty.
Percentage of extremely poor people: 88 per cent.
Also, you cannot say that the ‘improvements’ were caused by money given by NGOs or the US government. They may have other sources of income. A lot of the aid went to selfish dictators and did not make it to the people.
“By 2035, there will be almost no poor countries left in the world.
[Boy is this ever wrong. You will be 80 in 2035, you hope. So, you may not be around to see if you are right. Poor is a relative term. I would have to disagree with the above quote of Bill Gates. Again, Haiti has been poor a lot longer than the 50-60 years we’ve been ‘helping’. So, have countries in Central and West Africa and South and Central America. The ones that were poor a half century ago are still in poverty today.]
Myth #2 FOREIGN AID IS A BIG WASTE
by Bill Gates
“It also helps to look at the overall impact this spending has. To get a rough figure, I added up all the money spent by donors on health-related aid since 1980. Then I divided by the number of children’s deaths that have been prevented in that same time. It comes to less than $5,000 per child saved (and that doesn’t include the improvements in health that go beyond saving the lives of young children). $5,000 may sound expensive, but keep in mind that U.S. government agencies typically value the life of an American at several million dollars.”
It is impossible to say how many deaths were prevented. When you use estimates your conclusions are suspect.
Most of the countries that were in poverty are still in poverty.
You use the Congo as your prime example of aid helping. It is the most impoverished nation on Earth.
Haiti is still the poorest nation in this Hemisphere even after 50 years or more of Federal Aid and NGO aid.
We have been throwing good money after bad, down a bottomless pit.
Foreign Aid has NOT been shown to end poverty. Besides there are about 21% or so of Americans in poverty. We cannot take care of our own. What are we doing trying to take care of the world?
We cannot even end or substantially reduce poverty in the US. There are more people in poverty in the US than there were in the 1960s when the ‘War on Poverty’ was started.
Myth #3 Saving lives leads to overpopulation
by Melinda Gates
[Saving lives lead to more population. So long as the underlying issues that cause the poverty are not addressed and they are not, then having more people in poverty just exacerbates the problem. ]
“Given all the evidence, my view of a sustainable future is much more optimistic than the Malthusians’ view. The planet does not thrive when the sickest are allowed to die off, but rather when they are able to improve their lives.”
Overpopulation of a given area makes it harder, if not, impossible to improve their lives. When it costs more to raise a kid then they produce, you will eventually say our family is big enough. The reason why birthrates fall off as populations increase is because they realize that they cannot handle more. If not they’d have more and more in poverty. The respective pies of each country are a finite size and poorer countries the pie is miniscule to begin with.
By 2050, the world’s population is estimated to be 10 billion or so.
I wonder how many are going to be in poverty.
“I just traveled to Ethiopia, where I had a long conversation with young brides, most of whom were married at 11 years old.”
It was odd. Maybe 150 years and more ago, it was the age to get married back in the hills, let’s say, of Tennessee.
Right now we can produce enough food to feed 10 Billion people but people still starve. There are more births and deaths in countries in poverty in part because of no birth control. In a few cases this for religious reasons.
So, it not a matter of too many people worldwide. It is too many in some areas and the inability to grow enough food there. Also, getting food there seems to be a major problem—logistics. It should not be.
Birth Rates have fallen in most of the world. Yes, maybe, rates—percentages. If percentages even remained the same the number of births increases because the population increases. A decrease in rate may actually produce more births.