More than three billion people – nearly half of the world’s population – live in poverty. One billion of these are children.
These people are on a wage of less than $2.50 a day. Historically, technology has only penalized the poor, subjecting them to inhumane conditions, dishonouring their work, and demanding they repay debt that they can’t afford.
Thursday the 17th of October is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Specifically, this year looks at child and family poverty, and how we can help those in abject poverty.
Technology could, in fact, ameliorate the poverty problem. More than one billion people have been lifted from poverty in the last 25 years. Yet this simply isn’t enough.
It is a necessity for us to implement better technology to improve the living situations of people globally.
What, exactly, is the poverty problem?
For those in developed countries, who earn a stable and liveable income, the poverty problem might seem distant. However, it’s not merely constrained to developing countries, and it’s far closer than you might think.
39.7 million people in the US are living in poverty.
Extreme poverty is the world’s biggest killer, according to the World Health Organization. This is because it is at the root of many other problems: diseases and illnesses that result in death, such as hunger, disability, inaccessibility to medical care and poor or non-existent vaccination. An illness which would not send a healthy person to hospital can kill an adult or child without access to medical help. This could be anything from pneumonia to a common cold.
Around 17,000 children under the age of five die every day of poverty, most often from preventable illnesses or situations.
We’ve tried before – how could technology fix this now?
While donations to poverty-stricken countries do improve some standards of life, the best thing we could do for those in extreme poverty is give them the capability and autonomy to do things themselves.
This can be done in a variety of ways: by promoting monetary autonomy, by providing them with jobs. Technology provides the ideal gateway for this. It can allow for people to have digital wallets, remote jobs and generally improved financial security.
While many of those in developing countries do not have access to traditional money banking and transfer, blockchain and cryptocurrency could provide an avenue for this.
In addition, the internet in many ways can provide people with employment that they cannot access otherwise. So, providing a person in poverty with a working phone or computer can transform their lives massively.
Access to the rest of the world
Many people are deprived of political, social and economic power due to financial status. Because of this, they have little control over their situations, and must rely on those who have wealth to make the right decisions for them. Often, this does not happen.
Having access to others online can change the way people consume news, affect their own situation and control politics.
Technology connects us to the rest of the world. While it won’t ‘solve’ poverty alone, it can unquestionably change somebody’s quality of life.
Blockhead is creating blockchain-enabled software to transform the way we see data and ensure that all supply chains are traceable, ethical and sustainable. To find out more, click here.