Who profits from the boom? Who does not?
Last week I already talked about a project to prevent the use of drugs in the northern countries of South America. This week I will focus more on social issues within these countries. There are always two sides of a boom, the ones who profit from it and the others who cannot jump on the train and therefore suffer. Although I already posted about the booming economy in my first post and how many people profit from this I will focus on the opposite of this boom in this blog: I will talk about poverty.
Poverty at its lowest level
“Poverty in Latin America is at its lowest level for 20 years” UN’s regional economic body, Eclac (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean)
According to an article of BBC household incomes had risen a lot over the last decades. The level of poverty had declined from 48.4% to 31.4%, between 1990 and 2010.
Check out this video to get to know more details about this topic:
The report about a declining poverty, published by the UN in November 2011, mentions other reasons for the positive changes: rising public spending levels due to an overall increase in incomes as well as an increase of government expenditure especially on social issues.
“Poverty and inequality continue to decline in the region, which is good news, particularly in the midst of an international economic crisis,” ECLAC’s Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena.
Sounds perfect right? Everybody is happy so we can go home…But:
How is the reality?
The report continues that the progress of a declining poverty was threatened by the “yawning gaps in the productive structure in the region and by the labour markets which generate employment in low-productivity sectors.” You can read more about poverty in Eclac’s report Social Panorama of Latin America 2011
Colombia for example, although one of the countries with the highest decline in poverty, is still facing 37.2% (2010 est.) of its total population living below the poverty line (CIA world factbook) which I would consider as very high. Although the number of people living in poverty has declined there are still many people who earn like 200 Euros a month. The question we have to ask: How much is enough for a living? How much is enough to feed your family? 200 Euros are definitely not enough because you cannot even pay your rent.
Following Jo Tuckman from the Guardian there still exists a very huge inequality in Latin America. There is another report which more emphasizes on the inequality than on the declining poverty rate. This report can be found here.
Isn’t it incredible what those experts found out?
“Latin America is the most inequitable region in the world, presenting lower results than regions with more dramatic poverty levels such as Africa and parts of Asia.” Poverty and Inequality Report Latin America 2011
That is really confusing. What can we actually believe? I think that we should not just believe in one report that we find because although there might be a positive change this does not necessarily mean that everything is perfect. This point brings me to the …
The future outlook of the UN report states that the poverty line will continue to drop into the next years. But still there are many challenges Latin America will have to face. It has to put more effort in social issues to make a permanent change and expand the social security system so that there is more equality for workers.
But compared to Germany I noticed that people e.g. in Colombia did not complain that much about their situation. People always came across me with a big smile and they were always helpful. I think that this depends on the attitude you have towards your expectations in your life. People there might be satisfied with less than people in Europe who are used to the consuming society and being spoiled many times.