Capitalism & Poverty

Today is blog action day, and the topic is poverty. I was wondering what to write about and decided on the topic below.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been reading The Wal-Mart Effect, and highly recommend it to anyone interested in the globalisation of business. Overall the book is an eye opener to the way one of the largest corporations in the history of mankind operates.

Throughout the book Charles Fishman highlights several examples of where through Wal-Mart’s drive to have the lowest prices all the time is, in my mind, actually causing harm to not just America but countries all over the globe.

An example, health insurance in the state of Georgia as of writing over 10,000 children of Wal-mart employees we enrolled in the state insurance program for poor children who had parents who worked for Wal-Mart. the next highest employer in the state was 734. Now ignoring the size differences Wal-Mart had 1 child for every 4 employees while the next employer was 1 in 22.

There are stories after stories in the book of the impact that this massive company is having on people’s lives not just in America but all over the globe. While the drive to have the lowest prices all the time is smart for business at one level. When you get to the size of Wal-Mart it can have a devastating effect on organisations and people. Dare I say it possibly driving some into poverty, and not just in western countries they could in fact be keeping some people in poverty by pressuring manufactures to keep their prices down.

Poverty & depression

While today is Blue Day 2008, where the Australian tech & social media community are raising the awareness of depression & anxiety, we need to remember that we still live in a privileged part of the world. Most of us will never experience poverty in the real sense such as the way people in Darfur are at the moment. Unfortunately this does not mean people don’t experience poverty in Australia, in fact people can end up on the poverty line, or even below it, as an outcome of depression.

Remember over 1 million Australia adults and 100,000 youth live with depression each year, on average, 20% of people will experience depression at least once in their life; 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males. While experiencing depression many people are unable to function within what we casually call normal society, sometimes they end up without any means of financially support themselves or their family.

The inability to financially support oneself can result in them living in poverty. Not only that, these people can be living next door to you, not a faceless individual in another country. Poverty and depression together can create are terrible cycle with one feeding off the other and can send an otherwise intelligent & well functioning person over the edge.

This leads me to Blog Action Day and Learn About Poverty.

Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. Our aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

This year Blog Action Day is focusing on poverty, which brings me to Learn About Poverty a blog where World Vision has brought together their resources for Blog Action Day.

To help generate excitement for Blog Action Day, World Vision and several other Australian organisations are running a competition to encourage more people to post about poverty. So I encourage you all once you have written you post on depression, pull one together for poverty.