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CC1
18-01-05, 16:25
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6837045/

Interesting article...my questions are:

1. Do you think that it would work?

2. Do you think that the nations would be willing to do this?

3. Do you feel that it would last?

I realize that the people who did this study are probably much smarter than I, but I just don't see how this would work! First, I do think that if the money was pledged and all the nations participated, (on paper) we could get everyone out of poverty. The problem I see is where are all of the jobs going to come from so that they don't revert back? You can't expect the richer countries to continue paying this money until the end of time can you?

What are some of your thoughts on this?

No-name
18-01-05, 18:23
Pie in the sky?
I read the article, and I think that it is something that I would like to believe would work, but it seems so unlikely. If we could actually end poverty forever with just a small increase in overall taxes...but I don't think it seems realistic.

Maybe it is worth trying, but if we are going to double our foreign aid, who will be watching this money? Shouldn't this also be tied to human rights, saving the environment, economic reform, and controlling the world's population growth? I want strings attached...
I don't want my money going into the pockets of some third word dictator, or helping to pollute another river, or actually increasing the population and causing more poverty and more misery.

Censport
18-01-05, 21:14
I think I read this same article back in the Carter administration. Or was it Reagan? It sure is giving me deja vu...

While poverty can be reduced on some scale, I don't think it can ever be ended. We've tried to end hate and bigotry, yet thousands of years later they're still with us.

Sabro raises some good points. Aid money is routinely hijacked (Haiti, Iraq, UN Oil-for-Food scandal, just to name a few), so who could possibly be trusted with the world's wealth? Also, the repeated mentioning of the U.S., Japan and Germany dates the AP's sources, or the research itself. How about the Saudis? There's some money! Maybe you could talk a Saudi prince into buying a couple dozen fewer Ferraris every year and donating that money to Africa? Oh, but then Italy's economy would suffer. And I want Ferrari to stay in business. ;)

Even the U.S. can't eliminate poverty within its own borders. Granted, most of our 'poor' people live better than the middle class in many other countries, but still... Something the well-intentioned crowd neglect to admit is that many poor people are poor because they don't know how to manage money. Sure, I'm not talking about Africa anymore, I'm just talking about individuals. There was a study a few years ago, I can't remember which firm, but they discovered that more than 80% of people who suddenly came into money (by way of lottery winnings or lawsuits) and didn't have it before were completely broke within two years. If someone can't manage $20 and you throw $1,000,000 at them, you really think they'll handle it better?

The real problem here isn't ending poverty, but ending hunger. We're not going to be able to supply everyone in the world with a three-bedroom ranch style house in the suburbs and a used Honda sedan. But food? Clean water? Now those are practical goals!

Really, this looks like another UN scam to control the world's wealth. The UN used to have a great reputation for humanitarian relief, but between the Congo and the recent tsunami disaster, they've been exposed as money and attention sponges, while producing little or no real relief. Nice political angle the AP threw in their too. Hardly surprising.

Shooter452
18-01-05, 22:53
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6837045/

Interesting article...my questions are:

1. Do you think that it would work?

2. Do you think that the nations would be willing to do this?

3. Do you feel that it would last?


What are some of your thoughts on this?

End poverty? No offense meant, Cee-Cee, but what does that mean? A chicken in every pot and a Ferrari in every garage? The word "poverty" is a loaded one, and it means very different things to different people. Therefore I don't know if we could or not.

But there is one thing that we could do: end hunger. The problem is not one of food production because we produce more than enough food to feed the masses (at least for the moment) but food distribution. There is often no way to get the food to the hungry mouths that need food.

The situation in Somalia is the best example I can find of a humanitarian program being hi-jacked by local thugs. And despite the hubris of the State Department and the UN, nothing that was done--including benign (benign?) military action--fed the starving masses. In fact, by the time we were done, starving Somalis were trying desperately to kill the very people who were trying to get the food to them (civil wars are fund, and any number can play!).

What ends that program is just what has been mentioned previously--the funding goes for things other than humanitarian aid. It is not a case of guns-or-butter but butter for guns. Despotic governments take the food aid from the mouths of their hungry populations to pay for the military hardware that keeps them in power.

Just giving out food does not ring the bell most of the time, anyway. Give a fish/teach to fish comes in here, and the Sam Kinison joke about deserts and U-Hauls fits in somewhere..

No-name
18-01-05, 23:00
Give a man to fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he sits by the river on his cooler drinking beer all day

Maciamo
19-01-05, 05:38
Something the well-intentioned crowd neglect to admit is that many poor people are poor because they don't know how to manage money.

Very good point. :cool:


The real problem here isn't ending poverty, but ending hunger. We're not going to be able to supply everyone in the world with a three-bedroom ranch style house in the suburbs and a used Honda sedan. But food? Clean water?

Disagree here. If you provide more food for the poor (and uneducated), chances are that they'll just have more babies, which eventually will lead back to not enough food. That will just create more poor people. The problem is more education. If people can't manage their money, can't do any productive job (because of a lack of qualifications), or just don't want to work (very common in Africa), poverty will not be erradicated, even by creating a good system and providing food and water.

The best example is the USA. Everybody live in the same country, with the same system and the possibility to start from nothing and become millionaire ("the American dream"). However, this excess of freedom has led to over 12% of the population living under the poverty line - more than in any other developed country, although the US has one of the highest GDP per capita. Why ? Because of their lack of education or motivation. Not because of a lack of food (food is relatively cheap in the uS, and Americans are known for eating more than anybody else in the world, and obesity is even a problem among some "poor" people).

It is hardly surprising to me, as the US education system is quite backward by European standard (Europeans already complain that it is not good enough in Europe, but looking at the highschool level in the US it is even more depressing). I think another cause of poverty and under-education in the US is the strong immigration from developing countries. Most of those immigrants arrive at an adult age with little education from where they come from and usually do not seek to better it after settling in the US. If they do not even speak English properly, they can't get a proper job and their children may have difficult following school with English as a "foreign language" to them. If only the US government would provide free education to all, and free (and compulsory) English courses to all immigrants... That could help a lot the poverty problem in the US, i.e. the worst among developed countries.

Maciamo
19-01-05, 05:58
Give a man to fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he sits by the river on his cooler drinking beer all day

Yes, but even a well-fed man can be poor. What if they have no roof, no money for clothes, transportation, books, etc. ? As a matter of fact, many people in so called poor countries are not hungry. For example, there is no food problem in India nowadays, but hundreds of millions of people are homeless and live in appalling conditions. However, the food issue has already been solved and that only incite them to procreate more and increase poverty (as working people tend to want less children and have less time to care about them). As a result, the Indian population is increasing very fast now, which could thwart the overall economic growth. The solution to erradicate poverty in poor countries is doing what China did : one-child policy, with exceptions for people who have the means to pay (a government fee) for any additional child. This way, the possessions and care of the parents go to their only child and help decrease poverty generation after generation.

No-name
19-01-05, 09:20
Maciamo- I absolutely agree. Without reform in a coutry's governance, education system and economy throwing money at world poverty or hunger may do more harm than good. The facts are counter-intuitive: poverty actually can cause the population to rise. Poor nutrition often leads to obesity. (Especially in the US, the poor tend to be fat because sugary, fatty, processed foods are cheaper and more appealing than healthy counterparts. They are also convenient for people who must hold two jobs to break even.)

I disagree, or perhaps misunderstand: The poor aren't poor because they are stupid, they are poor because they have no money.

Also consider: Poverty is relative. The rate of poverty is high here, but our poor are not in danger of starving, generally have some access to health care and education as well as clothing and housing. Certainly it still sucks, but it is better than the middle class lives in most developing countries.

I'm interested in why you think American education is backward. (I'm a high school teacher...I figure we do a better job than anyone. The usual "test scores" comparisons are only one measurement and they tend to measure your best students against our average students) What happens in Europe to eighth graders who fail their entrance exams? How do you educate kids with special needs?

Education is free and compulsory here until age 18 in most states. Free English classes are available in every large city and in most areas with large non-English speaking populations, but there is no law that says you need to speak English. In California it is actually to your advantage to speak both English and Spanish or any other language. The highest rated news program in LA and the highest rated radio shows are both in Spanish.

Anyway, I think it bears repeating that I wish it was practical to end poverty for everyone. I wish that spending twice as much on aid would work. I don't see how sending money to Saudi Arabian would help the poor there, or to Sudan, or to Nigeria. It might be cynical, but I don't think money would get to where it is needed.

I support World Vision. I sponser children in Thailand. (And I am certain that the money gets there.)

Maciamo
19-01-05, 19:32
Also consider: Poverty is relative. The rate of poverty is high here, but our poor are not in danger of starving, generally have some access to health care and education as well as clothing and housing. Certainly it still sucks, but it is better than the middle class lives in most developing countries.

I think that middle class Indians or Thais have a much more confortable life than poor Americans. They have a house, a car, good healthcare, good education, etc.


I'm interested in why you think American education is backward.

Easy. Where I come from all students must learn from 2 to 4 foreign languages in highschool and the level is such that you are supposed to speak fluently at least 2 of them when you finish highschool (or at least be able to read novels for native speakers). Regarding geneeral knowledge (history, geography, etc.), the media often demonstrate the ignorance of the average American in the streets just by interviewing them or making some surveys. Do all Americans have to learn world history (in relatively high detail), know all the countries, capitals, main seas, lakes, rivers and mountains in the world by age 18 ? Even Japanese are very very far behind on this (maybe even further than the average Americans). As for maths and sciences, comparative tests have shown that a 12th grade level in the US is about the same as a 9th grade in Europe.


What happens in Europe to eighth graders who fail their entrance exams?

What entrance exam ? There isn't such thing in Europe. Every year, the final exam and average results of the year (continual assemment) determine whether you can pass to the next year or not. In my school, if someone failed one main subject (4h/week or more) or two minor ones (even sports and arts), they had to do that grade again. As tests are quite hard, there is an average of 10% of the students who fail each year in elementary and highschool (and over 50% at university). Those who fail even one year have little prospects of getting a good job (or a manual one, some being well paid, such as plumber).


How do you educate kids with special needs?

There are special schools for them. Unfortunately, I think that too many schools in Europe still lack different classes depending on the student's ability. People think that system is too elitist, but it is surely better than having 10% of people failing each year and 20% being bored to the backtooth because it's too easy for them.

No-name
19-01-05, 20:05
So is the main difference is that in Europe, schools filter the kids out, with only the most capable advancing to higher levels? What proportion of the population generally earns a HS diploma? (I'm thinking that if 10% fail each year at each level, then the attrition rate is probably high) I was also under the impression- which may be mistaken, that at some point students are sorted into vocational and academic tracks- with only the higher scoring students taking the academic tracks. (Thus comparing the elite scores to our inclusive scores is not balanced.)

The US system is highly inclusive-- with everyone- capable or not- in a college prep track. There is very little grouping by ability. There are tests that they have to take, including an exit exam-- which includes language, writing, reading comprehension and math (through Algebra). Our overall attrition rate is about 10%, although many "drop out" and earn a diploma through continuation schools or take an equivalent exam. Everyone- including English language learners, children with special needs, behavior problems, attends comprehensive high schools. It's definitely not elitist.

Most students take two years of foreign language (I can only speak for California, as education varies from state to state), two years of science, World and US history and mathematics including Algebra and Geometry. I wouldn't rate these courses as detailed-- they tend to emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization. Geography is not taught (who knows why?) There are huge lapses in the curriculum, especially social sciences and science. Even at our school there are hundreds of seniors who take advance placement exams and earn college credit in advanced Biology, Spanish, English, History, Calculus, physics and chemistry. If you tested these kids only and compared them to Europe, you might be surprised.

By the way, at least in California everyone owns a car. Poor families often have more than one. The poor have more access to education and health care than the middle class.

Maciamo
20-01-05, 04:57
So is the main difference is that in Europe, schools filter the kids out, with only the most capable advancing to higher levels? What proportion of the population generally earns a HS diploma? (I'm thinking that if 10% fail each year at each level, then the attrition rate is probably high)

Of course, some people of fail more than once. I am not sure what percentage of the population manage to graduate from university, but the failure rate is especially high at university because there is no entrance exam, it is free and everyone can attend. So at least one third of the people who enter fail in the first year because they are not capable enough, and another third in the first of second year (or both) because they are not prepared enough (lack of motivation, lack of study, too many parties, etc.). For others it's the difficulty to adapt to a new lifestyle - in Northern Europe, most uni students rent a student room rather than stay at their parents, so they have to learn to live, shop, cook, do the washing, wake up, etc. all by themselves, often for the first time in their life. Some also suffer from depression from stress (high pressure due to high failure rate), or loneliness (as they may study far away from their family and highscool friends). Other students change their mind about what they want to study or just quit in the middle of the year (anyway it's free). In my university, out of 600 students who joined one faculty, about 300 failed in the first year, 200 in the second, then it was more or less stable for the 2 or 3 remaining years.


I was also under the impression- which may be mistaken, that at some point students are sorted into vocational and academic tracks- with only the higher scoring students taking the academic tracks.

That's right. The educational system is divided in 3 : academic (also called "general education"), technical (for electrician, mechanics, etc.), and vocational (for other manual jobs or some artistic jobs).


The US system is highly inclusive-- with everyone- capable or not- in a college prep track.

Maybe that is why the level must be lower for everyone to be able to follow.


There are tests that they have to take, including an exit exam-- which includes language, writing, reading comprehension and math (through Algebra).

So just English and maths ? What about literature, grammar, proverbs, idioms, etc. in English ? We had to study that even for foreign languages.


Our overall attrition rate is about 10%, although many "drop out" and earn a diploma through continuation schools or take an equivalent exam.

Same in Europe.


Most students take two years of foreign language (I can only speak for California, as education varies from state to state), two years of science, World and US history and mathematics including Algebra and Geometry.

Most students take 6 years of 2 foreign languages and 2 to 4 years of 1 or 2 more foreign languages. Usually the level in final grade is hard enough for native speakers of those languages having trouble passing the test themselves. I have heard that in non-English speaking countries, English tests in some schools can be more difficult than those for native speakers in the US (or Australia).

The EU has decided that from now on (this yera, next year ?) elementary school students from grade 1 will have to study at least 2 foreign (European) languages in every EU countries. My elementary school already had 2 years of foreign languages in 5th and 6th grade (although very basic compared to highschool).

All students must take 6 years or history, geography AND science. History is divided by period for each year (per grade : antiquity => middle ages => European renaissance and colonisation => 18th c. enlightenment, American and French revolution, ideological changes in society, etc. => 19th c. and industrialisation => 20th c. WWI, WWII, holocaust, post-modernism, etc. + brief history of arts for each of these period). In one year (2 to 4h/week) of studying the 18th century enlightement and philosophers, there is enough time to go in quite a lot of details, as you can imagine.

So basically, if a 11th grader doesn't who is Voltaire or Goethe, can't explain the socio-economic factors that startled the Us or Frenc revolution, or can't make the difference between a Classical and Baroque building or painting, there is no chance that person can pass the exam for history. As it's a minor subject, it's ok to fail once (not twice in consecutive years in school I went to) if that student doesn't fail any other subject. Each student also had to make a 1 to 2 hour oral presentation about a particular topic and write an essay about anotjer topic (not only in history class, but some other subjects like mother-tongue or main foreign language too).

In my school, Geography included also geology (1 year), and (macro-)economics (2 years).

Science includes physics, biology and (from 9th grade usually) chemistry. Students usually have an average of 4h/week, with options allowing up to 8h/week in higher grades.


I wouldn't rate these courses as detailed-- they tend to emphasize critical thinking over rote memorization.

The European system emphasizes both, with critical thinking becoming more important in higher grades.

bossel
20-01-05, 08:59
I am not sure what percentage of the population manage to graduate from university, but the failure rate is especially high at university because there is no entrance exam, it is free and everyone can attend.
I can provide the numbers for Germany: 30 % overall failure rate for students who study for the 1st time (no numbers for students who tried a 2nd or 3rd time). But there are great differences between fields of study: medicine only 8%, but social sciences 42%.

What should also be noted, European school systems vary widely. Even inside Germany there is a lot of differentiation because federal states have quite some autonomy in that regard.

CC1
20-01-05, 12:08
Where I come from all students must learn from 2 to 4 foreign languages in highschool and the level is such that you are supposed to speak fluently at least 2 of them when you finish highschool (or at least be able to read novels for native speakers).

That's fine for EU, but many Americans will never leave their immediate home...why should they spend the time learning one or more languages? Many (and I am embarrassed to say this) have a hard enough time learning the subjects before them, and wouldn't be able to handle learning languages as well!



Regarding geneeral knowledge (history, geography, etc.), the media often demonstrate the ignorance of the average American in the streets just by interviewing them or making some surveys.

I have to agree with you on this! Many Americans really don't care what is going on in other places, so they lack the desire to study these subjects! Quite sad actually...


Do all Americans have to learn world history (in relatively high detail), know all the countries, capitals, main seas, lakes, rivers and mountains in the world by age 18 ?

We are taught these subjects in school (at least I was) but again it goes back to how much information are they willing to retain? It seems as though many in the lower classes do a "brain dump" once they leave high school! (once again my observation) It seems like many learn enough to graduate, then just say whew! and forget it all again!


I was also under the impression- which may be mistaken, that at some point students are sorted into vocational and academic tracks- with only the higher scoring students taking the academic tracks.

I don't really like this way of thinking. High school is pretty young to make people decide which track to take. In my opinion this would lead many people into changing careers quite often! Or being stuck in a career field that at age 16 they "thought" that they would enjoy, only to find out they hate it!


But back to the main topic... education is definitely the key to improving situations in less fortunate nations. You can not just pump money and food into programs without making an ernest effort to educate the people...this will lead them to better living conditions and better lives. However, everyone doesn't need top class education! And if you improve their lives too much won't you just create more problems?

Look at one problem in the states...there are many jobs that Americans will not do because they feel that it is beneath them! Many homeless people are homeless because they choose not to take the jobs that are available to them...not all homeless people mind you but many of them! And many of these countries that need help are the same way! Not many Americans are willing to pick tomatoes all day in San Diego, or clean toilets in a fast food resturant, and many want a job with absolutely no manual labor at all!

No-name
20-01-05, 18:19
Maciamo,
I was writing specifically about high school, which here is only four years long. In middle school they have a fairly rigorous course of study (depending on whether it is a 4th-8th, 6th-8th, or 7th-8th grade MS) they take History, Math, Science, and English along with a lot of electives. They do have a year long Geography class (lands and people) in CA, but again not "detailed". Almost all classes run a bit under 5 hours per week. Our school years are also only 182 days (I think Germany is 212?)

Right now, no foreign language requirement for graduation (although most kids take it). Nor do we even offer philosophy. Economics, sadly, is only one semester. The exit exam is quite fair, although only English and Math-- (What about literature, grammar, proverbs, idioms, etc. in English?) Not really too much literature (there is a core literature that they are supposed to study) but some grammar (spelling, punctuation, capitolization and usage) and idioms, no proverbs (proverbs?).

Our schools do not sort kids into three tracks and determine for them what future social ranking they should have. CC1 makes this point above.

My point: I'm tired of hearing from others how poorly our school systems do. American schools are different, they vary from state to state, some are better than others. We do more with a wider variety of students than most other countries even bother to try. People assume that our product is inferior, and yet we continue to turn out some of the globes best and brightest.

Back to the topic: Education is definitely a key in ending world hunger and poverty. (but I'm not certain that knowing what the highest point in Tanzania, what rivers flow through Indonesia, and what the capital of Myanmar has to do with this.)

No-name
20-01-05, 20:59
Our little correspondence here inspired me to look up actual data. I checked out TIMMS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) at http://nces.ed.gov/timss/ for 2003 which seemed at first glance to support Maciamo's POV. The US ranked near the middle for 4th and eight graders among 52 nations, and near the bottom for HS seniors.n The PIRL 2002 also showed the US in the middle in reading comprehension. A look at the methodology reveals that the administrators of the TIMMS took great pains to make sure the samples were comparable- oranges to oranges, not elite to average. So on this data, I conceded that we need some work.

But on closer examination, in all areas, at all grade levels the US was within one half standard deviation from all other countries with the exception of a few countries such as Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden, and the Netherlands who scored significantly higher. This kind of makes the US mediocre, but not significantly worse than Germany, Britain, England, and Italy. Check out the data.

Censport
27-01-05, 18:03
There's a great Cox abd Forkum cartoon about this subject here (http://www.coxandforkum.com/archives/000516.html).

chrisg4
12-08-10, 08:22
If the countries kept up the 0.7 percent level of aid-giving for another decade, it said, “by 2025 extreme poverty can be substantially eliminated” for the remaining 500 million people surviving on a dollar a day. Is it really true?