Poverty: Can it be completely eradicated?
“”The poor, no matter how destitute, have enormous untapped capacity; find it, be inspired by it, and build upon it” (Toxic Charity 2012, 191).
Imagine if all ~1,000 of your Facebook friends decided to give $1 to eradicating global poverty, and all ~1,000 of their Facebook friends decided to do the same. With only two degrees of development, $1,000,000 was raised. In 2012, the video “PSY – GANGNAM STYLE” was the first video in YouTube history to reach one billion views, and it did so in only 160 days. Now, it leads YouTube in most viewed videos of all time at over 2.5 billion views. Imagine one global initiative, one single crowd-raising extravaganza that reached 2.5 billion people. Now, further imagine a world that deployed young leaders to impact local communities in order to raise funds and awareness for global poverty; that, instead of people only giving money and moving on, people came together, one by one, to “go viral” in the initiative to change the entire construct of global poverty; that, instead of only billions of dollars being given to poverty (something the The Gates Foundation, Facebook, and many other large companies already do), that billions of people give their talents, time, and resources to change one person’s life. Imagine if a viral initiative began that completely overturned global poverty because all 3+ billion Internet users in the world decided to help one person. Imagine a rising generation of selfless leaders that ingest service and offer themselves to transforming a world that’s hurting.
As I write this, I am sitting at Starbucks in North Charleston, South Carolina. To my right is the residual tall, dark-roast with steamed soy milk decomposable Starbucks cup, and to my left is my iPhone 6s. I carried in my latest edition MacBook Air in my Swiss Army backpack, and drove here in my 1997 Lexus that recently survived a large tree falling on top of it. I’m wearing Rainbow sandals, a wrist-watch that I got for my birthday a few years ago, and a Clemson class-ring. I’m sitting in the AC of a luxurious coffee shop that has two full-serviced bathrooms. The building is so well lit that I could wear my Ray Ban sunglasses inside and still write this article with ease. I sleep on a bed with pillows and a comforter every night, have a Keurig coffee maker to brew hot coffee every morning, and live ten minutes from the beach. I could eat five meals a day if I chose to. I have a college degree, which costed a hefty fortune of more money than I’ll ever make, and am now in graduate school.
This morning, when I woke up in my bed, with the heat on (or AC? I’m never sure which is being used, I just know I’m comfortable), I rolled out of bed and onto my leather, swivel chair at my desk to begin my day, complete with a hot, fresh cup of coffee. Around the same time (taking into account the obvious time differences worldwide), about one billion kids also awoke to their life of poverty. While I’m concerned about which show on Netflix I’ll watch after finishing the latest season of Daredevil, 1/7 of the world’s population is concerned about their next meal, or where to obtain clean drinking water. While I’m complaining about the rigorous academia in my graduate program, countless children are dreaming and aspiring to greatness, knowing they will never have the opportunity to sit in a first-grade classroom. Each semester, I complain about the hundreds of dollars I have to spend on textbooks, while many children won’t be able to spend that amount of money to put themselves through school next year.
The opportunity we are given (we referring to the majority of people reading this, 100% of which are on the internet, and many of which are on their smartphones) is extraordinarily more economically possible than the majority of the planet. Many people, due to generational poverty and globally/nationally-distributed wealth, will never have the opportunity to express their ideas and passions to a crowd of listeners like we do. They might never be given the chance to read and write; to articulate innovative ideas, or contribute their own gifts and talents to the vast world we live in.
However, we can change that. We have the power of decision. There are few things in our control, but one thing we always have full power and authority over is our own decision. A decision to help, or to turn a blind eye. A decision to give, or to continue receiving. A decision to be the change, or to contribute to the problem.
Can poverty be completely eradicated?
You tell me.