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Land, Poverty, and Hunger: Lack in Relation to Resource Allocation April 11, 2008

Land, Poverty, Hunger

Land, Poverty, and Hunger: Lack in Relation to Resource Allocation

Poverty and healthcare are intertwined and dynamically linked. In an essay written for Public Policy I, I showed how impoverished US urban areas highly correlated to poor health among those living within their borders. This had significant impact concerning minorities, which almost exclusively comprised these areas. Lack of political influence of these people had confounded their socio-economic status with the inability to promote governmental injection of resources into these underserved areas. This essay expands upon that to global poverty, hunger, and health, with a look again at the US and the ethics involved with social-economic lack. Social welfare, hunger and poverty cover the populous, the under privileged and a potential mass voting bloc. The US is a prime example of the ensuing conflict of the masses and those in power, which are not in the same. Our system wields two streams of ethics, individual freedom, the independence of free will and equality for all with community inter-dependence (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). These two streams operate independently until a crisis of conscious occurs, the resulting inflammation of the masses causing the streams to cross and policy change occurring. These two philosophies, independence and dependence are dynamically opposites (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). We as a country have not allowed the paternalistic policy methodology to make much inroads into our system of government (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). We view ourselves as market exchange units where resources are built and traded in economic systems we have established. As a norm, we do not view the garner of resources only based on being a citizen.

Land, Poverty, Hunger

This market mentality does at times violate our sense of decency and at time intense pressure has mounted convulsions of activist movements (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). There have been many examples of these flash points of welfare insurrections: womens suffrage, the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Civil Rights Movements; to expand opportunity and equalization of these who have much and those who have little (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). The most successful of these populace movements was the Great Society movement by Lyndon Johnson. Lyndon Johnson knew that those above the bottom 20% of the US economic scale would rebuke an extensive assault on poverty. His method to pass aid to the poor was to decentralized this aid and disperse it directly to the community level (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). Mexican illegal workers in the US are for all intense purposes at the bottom of the US economic pay scale with many citizens, many in poverty. Before 1964 many Mexican workers were seasonal entrants into the US, but Congress ceased the Bracero program and made entrance into the US by any non-citizen, non-documented persona a federal punishable offence (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). Many illegal immigrants who entered for higher paying employment, after the Bracero program ended feared persecution if found or feared the inability to return to the US if they left. Thus these illegal immigrants stayed. Welfare has become a extensive burden for many states who support these illegal immigrants after the lose their employment and cannot find new employment (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). Amnesty has been granted for 3 million illegal immigrants in 1986 (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007) and has again been proposed more recently. Healthcare of the poor has been an issue as well with Medicaid expenditures surpassing K-12 state educational expenditures in 2004 (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). The question arises: can Democratic or left based political policies lower a national level of poverty (Brady, 2003)? If a system of statistics could be developed to determine if this is the case,

Land, Poverty, Hunger

targeting poverty with specific policy recommendations can be more forthcoming and possibly with greater political acceptance. This statistical formulations could provide a cost benefit analysis of input into governmental welfare services and the output of desired results (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). This for all intense purposes would be utilitarian in perspective. Indeed, David Brady has attempted this in the journal of Social Forces, entitled The Politics of Poverty: Left Political Institutions, the Welfare State, and Poverty. A panel analysis of 16 Western Countries from 1967 to 1997 combined with measures of poverty and measures of social welfare, left leaning political governments were tested and reposted in Bradys Article (Brady, 2003). Upon inspection of the resulting data, several important facts were uncovered. It was found that even after mitigating economic and demographic variables left political institutions were found to lower the overall governmental poverty rates (Brady, 2003). Both the combination of these institutions and their ability to move funding to the poor is cited as significant in reducing poverty with the overall strength of the party in government, positively correlating with the effectiveness of their effort (Brady, 2003). Finally, a combination of left political institutions and labor markets were found not to have the benefits of a reduction in poverty reach down to the bottom 20% of the wage scale (Brady, 2003). They have not been able to accrue at the bottom of the bottom, the truly distressed at this time. Ownership society has been advocated for a variety of reasons, ownership is seen, as a resource to promote, ones own growth of wealth, responsibility for ones actions, and community respect. The main caveat to this approach is this: If you do not have ownership of a resource how do you leverage nothing to produce person wealth? This is the crux of the US and the worlds bottom 20% population in terms of wealth. In the US, the ownership society has extended to faith-based charities. These charities often serve this bottom ownerless majority most frequently through food pantries and kitchens. They too have been under the strain of increased demand (Egendorf, 2006).

Land, Poverty, Hunger

The cause of hunger for many social ethicist can bee seen by how we determine who receives the rights or entitlements to own property (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). The Great Bengal famine, the Ethiopian famine, the Irish famine, and the Bangladesh famine all occurred while there was an adequate or above average supply of food in the region hit by the famine. The root cause of those famines then was the lack of these countries to guarantee minimum entitlements, wherein exacerbated by the purchasing of foodstuffs from some of these countries from outside entities while reducing the food qualities internal to the famine stricken countries at that time (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). Many cite overpopulation as a root cause of pervasive global hunger and widespread poverty. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) observed that population grows exponentially, which then, although food and economic growth occurs, overtakes and outstrips societies resources (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). He and Neo-Malthusians view overpopulation as the rood cause of scarcity and hunger. Neo-Malthusians cite wealthier nations interjection of resources to prevent pending famines as a stopgap leading to population crashes as a result of this help. Wealthier Nations by preventing the natural decline in population cause profound misery for those whom they are attempting to help (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). Many have regarded this issue as a type of lifeboat ethics where to supply everyones need on the planet would be to destroy ones own survival in the process (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). One only needs to clarify this with the ethical check of leaving your seat upon the boat for someone in the water to take it, allowing yourself to drown instead (Mappes & Zembaty, 2007). Even in a city such as New York 53% of food agencies for the poor have had to cut portion size in 2004, and 48 have closed down for lack of food donations (Egendorf, 2006). This lifeboat ethics might be the case with our own refrigerators. Nicholas Hildyard in an article entitled Overpopulation is Not the Main Case of World Hunger views overpopulation as a symptom of inequitable power relationships that cause market economy

Land, Poverty, Hunger

scarcity to induce hunger that is labeled overpopulation. In cooperative or communal societies agriculture is a vested interested of all those who farm the land simply because each persons efforts are partially dependent on another, these relationships become reciprocal (Hildyard, 2000). Resources are jointly held so all are held accountable for sound management. In an unbound, unregulated economy, food is give to those who can afford what the market will bear, those who cannot post purchase price starve (Hildyard, 2000). One example of this was the horn of Africas famine in the 1980s. Though tankers of grain headed to their European buyers, the purchase price posted by them with the market responding, Africans died of hunger. Land itself for farming is now concentrated with the few. In the U.S 124,000, entities control of our agricultural land. In Guatemala, 2/3 of the agricultural land is controlled by 2% of its population. Finally, 18 transnational corporations own more global farmland than the surface area of the Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland combined. Without land to grow food, purchasing becomes the only viable option (Hildyard, 2000). What seems to hold the least promise for some holds the most promise for others, globalization. Globalization is seen as a means for a poor country to reduce poverty and promote economic growth. The annual report: Economic freedom of the World has examined 123 countries in a time span of 25 years (Vasquez, 2004). The report links economic freedom, the amount of prosperity in a region with the freest economies growing at close to 2.3% while the least free growing at approximately 1.5%. The study found that the U.Ns poverty index of a country grew with an increase of economic restriction. The rule of law correlated with poverty as well with lack of private property rights for the poor, driving up poverty and slowing economic growth of a country (Vasquez, 2004). Deontological ethics is concerned with the basic human right of those in society in the world, local, legal and illegal (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). Lifeboat ethics comes headlong in conflict with

Land, Poverty, Hunger

Deontological logics. Along with poverty, healthcare is foremost in the U.S, European countries and the developing world. Barack Obama cites our failure to push our healthcare system into the technological era as one reason for the exponential rise in cost (Obama, 2007). The second compounding issue in the US healthcare system he cites is the downward spiral of coverage, as premiums rise, more people unable to afford health insurance become uninsured, again increasing costs. Thus again the number of uninsured American continues to grow (Obama, 2007). The premiums for an average family have risen 87%, deductibles 50% and prescription costs skyrocketing over just the last 5 years (Obama, 2007). One sobering statistic senator Obama cites is that our families premiums cost 922 dollars more to cover emergency services for all of the U.S uninsured (Obama, 2007). Deontologists could in theory pair up with the Utilitarians and both could be ethically justified, statistically, financially, and in basic human rights. Illegal immigration into the US merges into poverty and healthcare because many leave poverty from other countries and enter into the US to raise their standard of living. Many are unable, and most have no health insurance. It as estimated that up to 9 million undocumented illegal immigrants are in the U.S according to the 2000 U.S census, half from Mexico (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). The GAO in a study undertaken in 1997 found AFDC and food stamps spent 1.1 billion on-undocumented illegal immigrants that year. Over 14% of all births with Medicaid health coverage went to illegal immigrants (Bluhm & Heineman, 2007). The most telling remarks came from the Central Intelligence Agency in December of 2000, wherein they cite economic globalization driving inequality and poverty which would stress societies to violence (Vasquez, 2004). Those countries and citizens left behind would feel cultural alienation, poverty, hunger, political and economic extremism, and violence. Most telling of the CIAs report in

Land, Poverty, Hunger

2000 was a warning that global inequality through globalization, if continued to be pursued would cause global circumstance to deteriorate (Vasquez, 2004). Eight years later, those remarks proved prophetic. When the richest three people on the Earth hold more resources than the combined economic production of the least developed 48 countries on the planet (Vasquez, 2004) economic resources must be skewed. This strategy of economic policy not just the U.S is pursuing but the world must be mediated, otherwise global upheaval will occur unlike what we are seeing today. As a policy major, I would recommend these policies: The US: 1. Free open borders 2. All illegal immigrants, those already in our country or entering would be issued a social security number with a prefix indicating non-citizen status, replacing the green card system. 3. They would be issued a U.S system immigrant ID/drivers license, not a state license 4. Payment of taxes from non-citizens would be mandated with the prefixed social security number 5. Mandated health coverage for all citizens and non-citizens with the requirement of a social security number, or prefixed number.

Global: 1. A trans-national global corporate tax 2. A wealth tax for the top 1-3% wealthiest global citizens 3. The establishment of a global health and human services agency 4. The allocation of these tax monies re-distributed on the U.S model of AFDC and food stamps to the World Populace.

Land, Poverty, Hunger

These policies may seem extreme in nature to many but we must find ways to pull societies together on a world scale or they will tear each other apart from within and from without. What we see know on a global scale was predicted by the CIA in 2000. It holds true today and will be more so, ten years from now. Time may be the most important factor in poverty, health, hunger, and immigration. We should use it wisely, as of yet I have not seen much progress of this front.

Land, Poverty, Hunger 10 Bibliography