Today many people doubt the feasibility of poverty reduction, often citing the impossibility of raising enough funds. However a closer look at some statistics on global poverty suggests that not only is it possible to eradicate poverty, but its eradication would also come at an incredibly low cost.
- In 2005, nearly 50% of the population in the world lived on the $2.50 per day line while 80% of the world lived under $10 a day.
- The disparity between poor and rich is drastic as 40% of the world’s population account for 5% of the world’s income, while the richest 20% account for 75% of global income. Furthermore, the world’s richest 20% account for 76.6% of all private spending.
- Approximately 0.13% of the global population controlled 25% of the world’s financial assets in 2004. In 2010, it was estimated that a mere 91,000 people owned one third of private financial wealth and half of offshore wealth. These extremely rich people account for only 0.001% of the world’s population.
- In 2006, the world’s total GDP was $48.2 trillion. However, the world’s wealthiest countries also accounted for $36.6 trillion of that total.
- The net worth of the world’s 497 billionaires is $3.5 trillion alone. These billionaires are only 0.000008% of the world’s 7 billion people.
According to Mark Anielski, co-founder of the Canadian company Genuine Wealth, it would cost $29.39 billion to bump the incomes of 5.64 billion people to just $10 a day. This amount does not include individuals earning below $10 in developed countries.
Though the cost seems steep, in reality, $29.39 billion is only 0.5% of the estimated wealth of our billionaires. That is how much it really costs to fight global poverty. Even if income for the 80% living below $10 a day was bumped up to $20 a day, the $85.7 billion would only add up to 1.6% of the wealth of billionaires.
As indicated by these facts, the disparity between rich and poor is a significant hurdle in the fight against global poverty. Unequal income distribution means that the world’s poor have a substantially smaller piece of the pie. Yet according to these statistics, it would take very little to adjust global income to accommodate more people with a decent standard of living. Together we can eliminate global poverty.
– Grace Zhao