Putting an End to Poverty

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Putting an End to Poverty

Throughout history, poverty has been a pervasive problem. Even today, almost half of the world's people get by on less than $2.00 per day, and roughly 1 billion live on $1.25 per day or less.

McKinsey & Company defines a consumer as someone with $10 per day or more; this means they only have to spend about half their incomes on the basic necessities of life.1 It turns out that, once people reach about $70 per day, having more things does not make them happier; satisfaction comes from the achievement of earning, doing better than others, and doing something good for others.

So, contrary to what's often said, the last thing we should want is to diminish inequality. On the contrary, what every caring person should desire is that every human being at least have $10 per day, and ideally $70 per day or more.

That should be a legitimate humanitarian goal upon which we can all agree. Until the current era, this has been an impossible dream; physical scarcity and the limitations of technology have prevented this from happening. In fact, according to generation after generation of wrong-headed visionaries who embrace the principles of the "culture of scarcity," we're always living on the edge of societal collapse as humanity pushes beyond the limits of Earth's "carrying capacity." Fortunately, they have been proven wrong, time after time; and they are about to be proven wrong again.

Unlike the four previous technological revolutions, the Digital Revolution takes place in a globalized economy. While North America, Japan, and the EU are at ground zero, the ripple effects will be felt in every village in Africa and India.

Already, a historic achievement is within reach. We can be the generation that ends poverty, forever. For the first time, it is feasible to imagine that in the next couple of decades, no child will die from preventable causes, every child will go to school, and we will eradicate absolute poverty.

According to the Save the Children charitable organization, since the end of the Cold War, global cooperation and development has lifted 600 million people out of poverty. Fifty-six million more children now go to school — and every day, the lives of 14 more children are saved.2

New projections from World Bank experts suggest that current trends in poverty reduction, if continued, could result in only 9 percent of people living on under $1.25 per day by 2022; but that realistic reductions in inequality would make 3 percent an ambitious but achievable target for 2022.3 On this basis, a target of zero percent is potentially achievable by 2025...

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