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Wealth and Poverty

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Religion and life coursework Wealth and Poverty Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school and not knowing how to read. Poverty is not having a job, is fear for the future, living one day at a time. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of representation and freedom. This being the definition of poverty wealth can be seen as the opposite of this. However there are dimensions of poverty. One way of defining poverty is in absolute terms. Absolute poverty is characterised by the lack of basic needs and necessities such as food, clothing and shelter. Poverty can be caused due to a number of reasons including war, natural disasters, debt and trading inequalities. Outline Christian and Jewish teaching on wealth and poverty Most Christians should have few problems understanding the duty that the Bible places on them to take the issue of poverty seriously. The Old and New Testaments are both full of injunctions to be compassionate to the poor. Under God's ideal plan for Israel, poverty ought not to have existed at all (Deuteronomy 15:4: Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it) but it was recognised that the reality of human nature would not allow it to be eradicated. In words that would later be echoed by Jesus Himself (Matthew 26:11), Deuteronomy 15:11 states that "the poor you will always have with you in the land". However poverty was so clearly contrary to the divine purpose that there was a special duty to strive to relieve it as far as possible. Christians believe that wealth is something which can be used for good and evil and so is not a bad thing. ...read more.


In 1990 the South paid $43 billion in interest repayments to the rich nations. This is three times more than the aid given to the poorer countries. The total debt of the LEDCs is now about $1.4 trillion. In order to pay these loans poor countries must cut public spending on such things as health, education, and food subsides. Many people have died due to these cutbacks demanded by the banks of developed countries. Campaigns have been held to let the LEDCs off the debt and progression has been made. The only way many LEDCs can make enough money for their debts is to grow cash crops. Cotton, coffee, tea and tobacco are grown to sell to the developed world. Many people in the LEDCs are starving because land is being used to grow cash crops instead of food. There are other factors contributing to world poverty: lack of education, lack of clean water, disease, low life expectancy leading to large number of children, replying on one export (copper, oil etc.) whose value may go down in the world market changing a country from rich to poor in almost one night. World poverty concerns us all as we all depend on each other. e.g. If we want the Sudanese to grow cotton fro our clothes we must be prepared to make sure that the Sudanese have enough food. There is a desperate need for world development. There is a world development report which reviews the situation but more has to be done to help these poorer countries. Developed countries must be prepared to help LEDCs to help the situation. Analyse and explain the work of one religious agency working for world development Supported and sustained by the churches and driven by the Gospel, Christian Aid is inspired by the dream of a new earth where all people can secure a better and more just future. ...read more.


Equal wealth would be an injustice to wealthy people as their quality of life would be worse. Jewish teaching states, "If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted towards your brother. Rather be open- handed and freely lend him whatever he needs."-Deuteronomy 15:7-8. Even though equal wealth is doubtful one can do the best they can to improve the quality of life for those who are less fortunate. God created us equal and gave us this land to live in. Should we not all do our best to help the poor? Some people believe that absolute poverty can be easily eradicated and the standard of living for poorer people can be raised. The bare necessities of life such as clean water, food, shelter and heating could easily be provided to people who do not have these. It is impractical and impossible at this time to make everyone of equal wealth but improving the lives of others is possible. If the richer countries donate a fraction of their money towards providing poorer countries with their basic needs, then it helps matters a lot. I believe that circumstances will improve for poorer countries as time progresses. There was a time when even the western world suffered from lack of food and shelter but we have developed. There will always be poverty in the world and there will always be wealth (Deuteronomy 15:11 "the poor you will always have with you in the land"). Various efforts have been made to create a society of equality such as the Kibbutz in Israel, and in Germany after the First World War. There should be no rich people as long as there are poor people but there is not much we can do at the moment to change this. If we all took on board the teachings of the bible and put them into practice the world could be on its way to alleviating poverty. ...read more.

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