Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World"

"New poverty estimates published by the World Bank reveal that 1.4 billion people in the developing world (one in four) were living on less than US$1.25 a day in 2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981.

"The new numbers show that poverty has been more widespread across the developing world over the past 25 years than previously estimated, but also that there has been strong—if regionally uneven—progress toward reducing overall poverty."

Ccmment: The World Bank kept the poverty line at $1/day for many years, and inflation has outmoded that standard. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, many years ago, I lived on just under three dollars a day, in 1960's dollars, and I felt poor. I really can not imagine how one would live on $1.25 a day! On the other hand, the new study summarizes a huge amount of work, and provides basic information of use to the development community.

Of course, a more meaningful definition of poverty should be in all our heads.
Think of poverty in terms of sick and hungry kids, too often dying early. Think of people living without access to schools or education. Think of desperate mothers, facing sick children without access to medical care or even the simplest drugs, of mothers facing hungry children without food to give them or money to buy it. It is important for policy makers to think dispassionately about poverty, but it is also important for us all to feel viscerally the pains of poverty. JAD

1 comment:

Glenn said...

great post, is important to think about the moral dimension. I just wish we could expand our moral boundaries beyond our own household....