Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rampant poverty in richest year

Forbes magazine has given out the head count, the number of billionaires has skyrocketed over the past year to 946 men and some women. There were 178 newcomers, including 19 Russians, 14 Indians, 13 Chinese and 10 Spaniards, as well as the first billionaires from Cyprus, Oman, Romania and Serbia.

Steve Forbes, the founder of the Fordes magazine has said that this is the richest year in human history. Forbes also said the best way to create wealth is to have free markets and free people, and more and more of the world is realising it.

JK Rowling, the Harry Potter author, has made it to the super rich club, making her the UK's sole female billionaire. Innovation will be the trend to develop ideas for future wealth creation.

In the 20 years since it began compiling the list, Forbes said, "old world powers like Japan and Germany - and the billionaires who dominate their businesses - have given way to the latest global hotspots such as booming China, India and Russia. Yoshiaki Tsutsumi was the world's richest person in our inaugural year, but the Japanese land baron fell off the list this year."

In a world of unprecedented wealth, a UNDP report shows almost 2 million children die each year for want of a glass of clean water and adequate sanitation. More than 2.6 billion people do not have access to safe water.

According to a World Bank report, 1.1 billion people in the world live on less than $1 a day. This is the measurement for extreme poverty.

Why is poverty still so endemic inspite of the potential and the continued creation of the gigantic wealth? Is there more to it than just blaming the poor for their plight? When the rich are soaring upto the sky why are the poor languishing so far behind?

For these numbers to be relevant, there is something radically wrong with a system that continues to deprive such a large segment of humanity. There must be critical issues that needs to be addressed in the interest of global peace and a sustainable economic development.

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