Post One: Poverty, SDGs, and MDGs

Jacqueline defines poverty without a single definition; meaning poverty cannot be defined by one single aspect. The most predominant aspect, lack of income (making less than four dollars a day), is often mistaken as the only defining factor. Yet, income may be the least important of them all. She specifically mentioned two others; lack of choice and lack of freedom, which essentially go hand in hand. In her Ted talk “An Escape From Poverty,” Jane lacked the freedom of choice. Jacqueline describes Jane’s inability to choose, have options, or make decisions. In her story, Jane suffered the loss of her mother and departure of her husband, which left her with two children and no money. Jane was forced into the life of prostitution by her lack of options. The inability to choose a reputable career path that would make make enough money to support her family left her with HIV and little money. Jane aspired to be a doctor and marry a good man with a good family, yet had little freedom to fully pursue these dreams. Thanks to an organization which donates to individuals no matter their economic status, so long as they put money into savings, Jane was slowly able to get back on her feet. In a year she was able to save $50 and purchase a sewing machine. She then started purchasing old ball gowns and repurposing them for uses such as baptisms, first communion, and sweet 16s. Though she then made more than four dollars a day and was no longer poor by technical terms, she still lived with insecurity and fear. She was even driven from her home during a riot. Thankfully, some organizations understood that poverty does not discriminate based on economic status, and these organizations built low cost homes outside of the slums. Jane must give savings and match mortgage to her shanty rent, but was able to move out of the slums and into a safer place for her family. After this, she was able to shift her dream of wanting a husband and loving family to a reality of having two children she loves very much and who love her. She was able to shift her dream of becoming a doctor to a reality of counseling HIV patients. Poverty is not only economic poverty, but also emotional poverty; feeling insecure, unsafe, and trapped in a world where there are no choices. Her main message stresses the importance of giving back to the Jane’s of the world and providing hope and support to those not only struggling economically, but anyone struggling at all.

slum1

Picture from: http://www.technologystudent.com/pse_flsh/slums1.html

Sustainable development tries to understand the interactions of the world economy, the global society, and the earth’s physical environment. Furthermore, Sustainable Development Goals are objectives set to drive economic, environmental, and social development that will ultimately impact the physical Earth, as well as the people in it. Though many attribute sustainability to mere environmental protection, sustainability has many other factors. The SDGs also call for widespread economic expansion, elimination of poverty, and strengthening communities through trust. According the academic journal “Can Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals Survive Neoliberalism,” neoliberalism is on the rise. The article claims cutting government spending could lead to an increase in poverty. In addition, a neoliberalism society fosters competition among economies and prioritizes economic growth over any other goals, including Sustainable Development Goals (Kumi et. al.). The effects of neoliberalism are very negative on Sustainable Development Goals, and leave future success of the goals in question.

“Players on the Bench” is referring to the competent and able parties who did not support the Millennial Development Goals. These parties include the Bush Administration, State Department officials, Washington in general, and The World Bank. All parties had the financial and authoritative powers to support the Millennial Development Goals, but neglected this civic duty. McArthur criticizes the Bush Administration’s failure to initially link its AIDS relief efforts to the parallel efforts of the MDG’s, thus preventing Bush from building political capital and hindering the Millennial Development Goals from attributing the relief efforts to themselves. Though Bush did eventually endorse the Millennial Development Goals, he waited until there was a significant backlash from other countries and the media. He criticizes the State Department official’s similar shortcomings in supporting the Millennial Declaration but not the Millennial Development Goals, which were directly taken from the Millennial Declaration. McArthur largely criticizes all of Washington for their strong resistance to any initiatives established under and involving the UN. Washington let political tensions relating to the Iraq war affect their support so much that many advocacy groups felt uncomfortable using the phrase “Millennial Development Goals” to avoid losing any more support. Lastly, the World Bank neglected its role to financially support MDG’s by prioritizing economic reforms, ignored donor financing gaps, and missed an opportunity for budgetary expansion for the International Development Association. McArthur is criticizing any and all of the people and institutions that were able to support the Millennial Development Goals, yet failed because of political and economic issues.

Aid is a crucial aspect in accomplishing many of the Millennial Development Goals in poorer countries. The article lists multiple achievements as a result of aid money. Some of these include eradication of smallpox, lower infant mortality rates, treatment of diarrhea and river blindness, increased access to contraception, and increased availability of education. It even helps restore peace in feuding countries. Yet, aid is only beneficial if it is used correctly, carefully targeting specific objectives. Some instances exist where aid has assisted little in developmental successes of various countries. On some of these occasions, the problem stemmed from the donors themselves. Multiple donors striving for different objectives leaves recipient countries being pulled in many different directions. This causes confusion and lack of consistency when pursuing the different objectives. Furthermore, aid generally causes confusion for recipient countries because of the countless causes in need of funding. According to the article, the most problematic issue surrounding foreign aid is the inability of the most desperate countries’ governments to use aid efficiently and effectively. These desperate countries in Africa, though vulnerable due to a lack in agriculture, isolation, and widespread disease, will not necessarily benefit from an increase in aid. Essentially, the entire article stresses the importance of aid in assisting struggling nations, but only when countries are able to adequately delegate the aid to specific and achievable objectives.

Kumi, E. ( 1 ), A.A. ( 2 ) Arhin, and T. ( 3 ) Yeboah. “Can Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals Survive Neoliberalism? A Critical Examination Of The Sustainable Development-Neoliberalism Nexus In Developing Countries.”Environment, Development And Sustainability 16.3 (2014): 539-554. Scopus®. Web. 30 Aug. 2016.

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