Before I close the book What Matters, there is one particular photo essay that changed the way I look at things and it is with regards to poverty.
I used to misperceive as the author described that poverty is caused by individual laziness and government corruption and that it could never, even with the billions of dollars pumped into these countries, be alleviated.
But Jeffrey D. Sachs who had worked with the UN on the Millenium Development Goals poignantly pointed out that a society’s economic dominance makes it easy for its members to assume that it was due to a superiority either religious, racial, genetic, ethnic, cultural or instituitional that resulted in the success rather than an accident of timing or geography.
Many Third World countries find it difficult to emerge from their vicious cycle of poverty due to a complex mix of factors – geographical, historical and political. Particularly the exploitation by First World countries, their early colonial masters.
I am reminded to be grateful for being born into a loving family in a relatively developed country with an efficient government, where opportunities for education and employment abound, and a multi-religious society so that I had the grace of knowing Christ early in my life.
Based on current statistics, there is a 50/50 chance that anyone of us could have been one of the world’s half population living in abject poverty so what gives us the other half the right to ignore their plight or blame it on them?