An Unequal World

An Unequal World

"The real relief to be provided to the poor is the abolition of poverty."

Victor Hugo, French novelist

The news on socioeconomic inequalities on a global scale, there is no room for doubt: the world is becoming more unequal and less fraternal.

In fact, it seems the world is upside down - The world turned upside down, as the letter of Coldplay, and it was also entitled in the latest report on inequality published by the The Economist, in the April last edition. The figures corroborate this sad scenario that deserve consideration: one in two people live on less than two dollars a day, one in three have no access to electricity, one in five have no access to drinking water, one in six is illiterate.

One in every seven adults and one child in three suffers from malnutrition. Every five seconds a child dies of hunger in the world, although there is fertile land for growing food. Just as an example, planting destined to produce food for livestock in the United States is 64% of the amount of their own lands, while the production of fruit and food takes up only 2%. In summary, it appears that one person in every seven is suffering from hunger in the world that reproduces this paradigm in the U.S.

While the consumption of food grows for a part of the world population, another part is seen completely jettisoned from this feast: 20% of the population - or one in five people - is excluded from the growth in consumption. This affects the continuity of life: more than 300 million people worldwide have a life expectancy below 60 years, in part by poor diet and because of diseases resulting from poor diet. Thirty-five percent of the world population does not have energy and sufficient proteins in their diet. In the world there are 2 billion people with anemia, including 5.5 million who live in countries of advanced capitalism.

However, while hunger and its consequences victimize a considerable proportion of the population, on the other side, the opulence of that story gives a special coloring to some "privileged." Note that only four Americans - Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Warren Buffet and Larry Ellyson - possessed a few years ago a fortune equivalent to the GDP of 42 of the poorest nations, concentrated in their hands, countries with a total population of over 600 million empty stomachs and starving mouths.

The global inequality shows that 80% of global wealth is in the hands of 15% of the "privileged." From this comes the sumptuous consumption, conspicuous in the parlance of economists. Example? The annual consumption of cigarettes, just in Europe is around 50 billion dollars. For the various alcoholic beverages, also in Europe, spending reached 105 billion dollars a year. In the U.S. alone, the annual expenditure on cosmetics reached $ 8 billion. Drug consumption in the world rotates on "optimistic" calculations, the importance to the economy of 400 billion dollars each year.

According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the money that the world (especially the rich countries, highlighting the country run by Barack Obama) designates to military spending for eleven days would feed and heal all the sick and starving children on the planet. Eleven days are hardly sufficient for the world to know the face of brotherhood. For the aggressors, those who command this process of severe inequality, are left with 354 days for the "noble" profession of killing.

Specialists in the subject believe that 200 million dollars (less than twenty times what is spent on ice cream a year in Europe alone) or what the armed forces spend in only three hours of "good work" decimating the innocent, could wipe out (to use a term common to the countries of warfare) diseases such as diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, measles and polio, which together kill 4 million children per year.

For these and other reasons, the world is becoming more unequal, more unjust and savage. How long until resistance arises against such aggression against the greatest of all principles: life?

Marcus Eduardo de Oliveira is an economist and Professor of Economics and the FAC-FITO UNIFIEO in Sao Paulo. Specialist in International Politics by (EPHF) and master's (USP). Columnist of the sites, "The Economist" and "Portal EcoDebate. He also contributes to Zwela News Agency (Angola) and the Lusophone News (Portugal).


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Author`s name Oksana Orlovskaya