Poverty, a relative notion. When we talk about poverty, we often think of the notion of G.D.P or that of a monetary value
The concept of poverty is constantly emphasized through quantitative rather than qualitative data. For example, the amount of material goods a person owns, or their annual income. It was only with the advent of the modern era that poverty was now seen as a quantitatively defined element on the basis of a monetary income threshold. Until recently, poverty was seen in a much more subjective or relative way.
In ancient Greece, Plato wonders about the perception of poverty, which he believes is intimately linked to desire. It is for him the perception of not having met his needs. A person with very little property, but who believes that he has met his needs cannot be considered poor, while another person, who may have more material possessions, but who still remained dissatisfied with his condition, could be considered. as being poor.
It was in this spirit that Plato advocated frugality, a quality that is also advocated by practitioners of Catholicism. The hunter-gatherer peoples of old may appear poor to us at first glance, but yet they met their food needs well while working only about 25 hours a week.
However, by the little material goods they accumulated, they would be considered poor nowadays. In order for there to be people qualified as poor, there must first be rich people. There are rich people because they have accumulated substantial wealth compared to their peers. It is this imbalance in the mechanisms of distribution and accumulation of wealth that forms the basis of an unequal relationship between different social classes. This concept is one of the foundations of capitalism, the accumulation of wealth.
However, this accumulation of wealth, of the surplus-value of the proletarians, is unequal, as much for the proletarian mass of workers as for the most deprived in society.
With this mechanism of concentration of wealth through the ultraliberal and capitalist model, corporations are in constant search of a sustained increase in profits while reducing the costs associated with the production of goods, in particular by minimizing the costs associated with the salaries of employees while monopolizing their surplus-value.
A situation that pushes the proletarians into a situation of quasi-enslavement, by giving the employee the bare minimum. A devastating fact emerged from a study by the United Nations World Development Economics Research Institute in 2006. It’s that 10% of the richest population in the year 2000, of which nearly half live in the US, owned 85% of the world’s wealth.
On the other hand, 50% of the poorest held only 1% of the world’s wealth. The richest 1% of the world alone held at least 40% of the wealth. In 2008, there would also be ten times more billionaires than 20 years earlier. This is a very concrete example of the excessive concentration of wealth.
Conclusion and exploration
Poverty has a major impact on the determinants of health of populations. Defending the public health model seems essential to me. It is important that there be ministerial oversight and transparency of care because the search for profits by private companies will always lead to a reduction in the quality of care and services for the benefit of the shareholders.
The inequalities in terms of wealth that impact the general state of health of individuals can only be reduced for the most part by political will. For example, by investing heavily in secondary and post-secondary education programs. By reducing the costs of access to college and university studies to facilitate access to education for the most disadvantaged classes. Or for example by establishing a guaranteed universal income.
If all this does not work, it will be necessary to go through the revolution to destroy this scourge which is the capitalist system, because, with this system, there will always be rich and poor.
Between climate change, the loss of biodiversity, climate change, and the rise of social inequalities, the future of the world as we know it seems bleak to me. And among these possible causes of global systemic ruptures, the distribution of wealth seems to be the most problematic in the short or medium term.
When 26 billionaires own as much wealth as 3.8 billion of the poorest individuals, the very balance of our social ecosystem is endangered.
Disclaimer: all opinions in this article are of Nikolas Martin’s and not The Simple Herald.