Local versus global priorities

Written on April 11, 2007 by Max Oliva in Development

J.Pozuelo-Monfort, MSc candidate in economic development at LSE
Jaime PM.jpg
Published at Estrella Digital (In Spanish).
Writing about how to change the world, about how to reduce inequality, about how to close the poverty gap between rich and poor is a first step to change the world. Writing to suggest ideas, writing to propose policies, writing to persuade, to convince. But the world of ideas and persuasion is not easy to conquer, the world of conviction and priorities is not a summit easy to climb.
Having the opportunity to spend a few days in the single superpower and having friends on both sides of the political spectrum is a unique opportunity to understand the way Americans think and feel about a challenging issue that deserves very little attention on both sides of the Atlantic.
Surprisingly enough winning the battle of persuasion and conviction is a fight of feasible priorities. Being able to convince that tackling extreme poverty should be among our priorities, and therefore part of our political agenda, seems to be crucial to target a wide audience of citizens on this wealthy side of the globe. And showing that fighting poverty appropriately by raising sufficient funds for development and allocating them efficiently is feasible on the short term is a second must-have in any wanna-be set of principles of how to make this world a better place.
American liberals will argue and acknowledge that extreme poverty is a problem that needs to be incorporated into the political agenda, but this will only happen on the long run. American conservatives might admit global poverty needs to be addressed, but there are many other local priorities that should be taken caren of before.
There are local and global priorities and we need to learn to tackle both. There are local and global priorities and we need to design effective solutions for both. But whereas the former are part of every major party’s political campaign, the latter are ignored, forgotten or postponed. If both local and global priorities can be taken care of simultaneously, why does extreme poverty remain outside the reach and scope of our politicians?
The world is in the end like a big family. Some of the family members are very well fed, but a majority is not only not fed well, but not fed at all. There is a majority of our big family with no access to water or sanitation, to basic infrastructure or healthcare. Being able to deliver the message so that it becomes a priority in our political leaders’ agendas is only a matter of manners, of how to do it. And if our current politicians are not able to understand what global priorities are all about, then I can say I will have lost my faith in our political class and will welcome new leaders able to propose solutions that measure up with the size of the challenges the world population faces.
It is in the end a question of feasible priorities.


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