Eternal Poverty

Written on May 22, 2007 by Max Oliva in Development

J.Pozuelo-Monfort, MSc candidate in economic development at LSE.
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We are used to eternal concepts. Some talk about eternal life. Others deserve life in prison which is equivalent to eternal cautivery. Eternity is, after all, an abstract concept very hard to imagine because the human being is finite and oftentimes incapable of grasping the idea of infinite.
Unless it has a positive connotation, eternity is an idea nobody likes. Imagine an eternity in hell next to the devil and surrounded by burning flames that bother you constantly. Think of your mother in law, think of a small elevator, imagine eternity with your mother in law in a small elevator. Definitely nobody likes eternity when it does not have a positive connotation.
Eternal poverty and misery is what most of the Human Kind can only dream of when they are born. In this scenario it may not be worth to be born. Eternal poverty and misery is a condition most of the Human Kind simply cannot escape because even if today’s society were able to turn the current situation around, it simply seems that the first world is too scared to make substantial changes that allow for a massive redistribution matching the Marshall Plan of the post war world of the late 1940s.
Nobody deserves to be born and immediately condemned to eternal poverty. It is not fair, and fairness is a concept that is very well liked in the western world. We like fairness. We encourage fairness. We promote fairness. Think of fair play in football. Think of antitrust in economics. Think of good manners in politics. Think of the international criminal court to judge international outlaws. You name it. The western world loves fairness.
Fairness at a global scale is only possible today. Fairness at a global scale should and would lead to global justice. And only global justice will let the thousands of young men and women born each day escape eternal poverty and misery, eternal hunger and thirst. And when I think of eternal hunger and thirst, I can only think of hell on Earth, and that, ladies and gentleman, cannot co-exist with the modern world of the XXI century.


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