Can we really eradicate poverty?
Below is a message to a friend regarding poverty and as a response to a video she shared with me.
Poverty can be eradicated if we are brave enough in my opinion to go deep on some issues.
I touch many points in this post, so you might agree with me or you might be pissed a little bit.
PS: there might be some errors of accuracy as this is my thoughts I typed without scripting or editing or doing additional research.
Either way, enjoy the reading and share your thoughts.
Enter my response:
Its all nice sounding but still lack a deep understanding of issues that create poverty.
It is the same rhetoric from politicians: create work for people.
People dont need to be handed jobs. People know what needs to be done.
We have to go to the roots of all: money.
Africa is victim of a global money game that is not in our favour.
Look at it this way:
How come the USA has trillions in debt yet they still give loans to other countries?
It is a rigged game.
How did Singapore become powerful?
What did they produce?
They built a strong financial sector by creating policies that attract capital.
How does Belgium has more voting rights in IMF than Brazil?
Brazil is bigger geographically, produces more.
Then why does Belgium a tiny country that does not produce much become so powerful?
I was reading a report on M-Pesa, in less than 10 years it has lifted more than 1% of kenyans out of extreme poverty. It did not create any jobs. It allowed access and the flow of capital and people knew the work that needed to be done
No politician was involved.
No non-profit organization involved: it allowed flow of money and access to loans at reasonable interests.
Why in Africa, poor people are getting loans at 25% and yet here in Canada we can get a mortgage for less than 3%?
We are told it is due to high risk. Thats BS.
Look into what Professor Yunus proved in Bangladesh with Grameen Bank: lending money to the poorest, women, in villages and uneducated.
Loan repayments are higher than any other bank and now Grameen bank seats on a huge capital, started in rural Bangladesh and now they are making loans to poor Americans who are also unbanked and cut out of the money system.
And guess who are the shareholders of Grameen bank?
Not Wall Street but those same women and their daughters.
He started with less than $27 dollars.
He was a professor of economics but the theories he saw that the theories in classrooms didnt match the reality on the street.
We need to create a new monetary system that provides a levelled playing field.
Now technology can offer that in 2 main ways:
– by taking the power of money away from the establishment: credit and lending from centralized banks and putting into the hands of millions of people.
Soon anyone with a small capitol will be able to deploy into the market and by pass the so called capital markets (Wall Street and the like).
Right now, you put your $100 in your local bank, they give 1% in return and then take that money and send it to what they call emerging markets to earn higher returns.
Why cant you and I deploy our money directly into emerging markets without middle men?
– with technology, now the means of the production can be in the hands of millions of people. Soon with a 3D printer, a village will be able to manufacture a lot of things locally at a low cost.
Africa and other poor areas also happen to be the areas where the raw materials are located.
How come no cellphones are made in Congo when the key components needed in making cellphones can only be found in Congo?
Why is Switzerland the biggest exporter of chocolate yet they produce no cacao beans?
All these imbalances were created by slavery, colonization and wars.
People think of slavery of white vs black. No, the root of slavery was trade.
Our own brothers sold their brothers to white people.
The only way white folks could justify slavery was to lower the ranks of black people to “things”.
Even the opposition to slavery wasnt white vs black.
The slave owners wanted the state to pay them back their money invested into buying slaves.
If a black slave did something valuable to the master, he could earn his/her freedom.
The colour issue came in later.
Imagine an economy of 400 years without paying wages: of course it will grow quickly.
Why are employees feeling the pinch?
The way the system is setup is the new slavery: always looking for free labour (now it is illegal), so the best next thing to do: low wages.
It is just a game few people understand.
Africa needs to wake up and redesign a new system.
Simple example: Toyota a Japanese brand.
You buy a Toyota in Canada, where did it get manufactured?
You buy a Toyota in Africa, where did it get manufactured?
If our politicians understood the game (may be they do but have no incentives to change), a simple policy change and voila we have transferred the technology to Africa by forcing manufacturing to happen in Africa.
But with most African countries cant do just policy change without consulting their masters who give them aid and loans.
And why are we getting aid and loans again when we have all the raw materials?
Then we need to go back and revisit the role of central banks, World Bank and IMF.
World Bank and IMF have been used as a tool to privatize national assets at a discount.
Again, our corrupt politicians and fat banks accounts in Europe let it happen and the cycle repeats.
We can throw in the globalization and we have another dimension.
The role of the government is to protect local industries to the point they are strong enough to compete and then open up the globalization in that sector.
Looks like China got the memo and ignored the western name calling and urging them to open the market and stop manipulating their currencies.
Wait, isnt what the west has done and continue to do: protectionism when needed and currency manipulation through monetary printing and forcing the world trade to do be done via US dollars.
Tell me, why an African country and an Asia country need to first convert their local currencies into US dollars before they can trade things like oil?
And that whole trading platform runs on the SWIFT system and if not mistaken it is based in Belgium.
Oh well, I guess we can keep playing the same game or we can reinvent a new game with rules that favour Africa and other poort countries.
I am optimist because technology is the true democracy.
And the more technology we can put into the hands of people, the less we will need to rely on the establishment and the politicians.
By creating a new system that makes the old obsolete, thats how change is achieved.
The tools are now in the hands of the people and we need to wake up and use the tools.
Millions of people cry that BBC or CNN didnt cover an event in Africa and yet those millions of messages going around complaining could use that same platform to cover the events.
Why is that so?
We have been conditioned to become consumers. In this case consumers of news produced by CNN and BBC.
But we can become producers.
Who has more credibility on attack that just happened lets say somewhere in Africa?
CNN and BBC or the locals with smartphones reporting live with videos and blogs?
Lets use tools (technology) in becoming producers.
Article © Olivier Masabarakiza.