Realism In Global Poverty Essay

According to the World Bank (2015b), from the most recent estimates in 2012, 12. 7% of the world’s population (896 million people) lived at or below $1. 90 a day. It was a decrease from 1990 which was at 37% (1. 95 billion) and in 1981, at 44% (1. 99 billion). Among regions, East Asia had the most decline in poverty from 80% in 1981 to 7. 2% in 2012. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it stood at 42. 6% in 2012 (World Bank, 2015b). East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa have for the last few decades accounted for about 95% of global poverty.

In 1990, East Asia had about half of the world poor, but this was dramatically reversed as Sub-Sahara now holds half of the world’s poor. Globally, poverty is declining in all regions but are deeper and more difficult in countries that are experiencing domestic conflict or are highly dependent on domestic exports (World Bank, 2015b). Growth remains as the driving force of this decline, especially in the period 1990-2010, according to experts. Growth during those decades averaged 6% annually compared to the 1960s-1980s’ 4. 5% growth (The Economist, 2013).

It is expected, however, that the decrease in global poverty levels will continue as the World Bank projected the statistic to dip below 10% by the end of 2015, which is about 702 million people, or 9. 6% of the global population. East Asia and the Pacific’s poverty level would fall to 4. 1% in 2015 from 7. 2% in 2012; Latin America and the Caribbean, from 6. 2% to 5. 6%; South Asia, from 18. 8% to 13. 5%; and Sub-Saharan Africa, from 42. 6% to 35. 2%. Data from Middle East and North Africa could not be obtained due to conflict and fragility in key countries of the region.

In 2013, the World Bank’s Board of Governors endorsed two goals: to end extreme poverty by 2030, and to boost shared prosperity by increasing the incomes of the bottom 40% of populations (World Bank, 2015a). Realism on Global Poverty Politics, like society in general, is governed by objective laws that have their roots in human nature. States rationally pursue our interests. Global poverty, as expressed in the view of realism, is a social outcome with which governments rationally pursue given the objective laws at its disposal.

This rationality is based on the potential of choices made to maximize power. Global poverty, then, as a social problem is solved as against its capability to incur power into the political establishment. The concept of interest defined in terms of power. It assumes that the national interests of states are only defined in terms of acquiring & maintaining power. With the goal of power maximization, the concept of interest fully rely on power. When the world’s poverty level was at a high during the middle of the century, interest on the problem can be viewed as also low.

How would solving the poor give more power? But in the long run, as poverty levels were decreased, decisions made through international agencies and governments have to focus on reducing poverty. Politics, in a sense, found a source for increasing power if poverty is reduced. Realism assumes that the key concept of interest defined as power is an objective category which is universally valid. Regardless of Culture, religion, ideology, or political system-the pursuit of power is a universal behavior.

As such, even as interests changed, power is universal. Here, we can see that whatever the issue is, pertaining to culture, or political system, and so on, power remains an end goal. Realism maintains that universal moral principles cannot be applies to the action of states. Some argue realism adopts a Machiavellian “ends justifies the means” formulation regarding state. Sacrificing power for the pursuit of morality is immoral. The universality of moral principles do not jive with power.

In the case of poverty, if we assume that power was not sacrificed and that power played a role in helping solve the problem, then poverty could not be an immoral outcome of society. Moral laws are not universal. Attempts by states to justify or clothe their particular power aspirations in great moral or religious terms is a “smoke screen”. Talk of equality or democracy or religious purity are in reality purely rhetoric. Hence, realism does not believe in the universality of moral laws. The government actions over equality (poverty reduction, for example) is only “pure talk”.

So, in a way, if that is true, only international organizations are doing the decisions and not governments. Realism subordinates all other standards of thought to political ones. Political considerations (about power) dominate other belief systems, whether ideological, religious, or whatever. The struggle by states for power is universal in time and space. In the realm of socio-economics, as a belief system, it would only be dominated by realism. What exists as social problems like poverty is not a prime objective.

Criticizing Realism As a strength, realism is good in maintaining power and influence. But realism strictly resides in the propagation of power, not social development, which is a definite weakness. If governments pursue realism as a guideline, we can only expect a dictatorial government or a perverse communist regime to proliferate. Realism does not care about the social ills or the needs of its citizens since it is only looking for power. Using its political rhetoric as a smoke screen, a realist leader only mumble and not perform.

With the case of poverty, we explained above the ideal behavior of realism and its probable impact in the course of years and years of poverty reduction efforts. If realism was at work, then global poverty reduction was not realism’s point of concern. Governments may have just said “yes and yes” to the World Bank or the United Nations whenever assistance is asked for. Results may then just be an accident, or a spillover effect since realist politicians are only busier in maintaining and expanding power.