In 2000, 189 Heads of State and Government signed the Millennium Declaration. We are committed to liberate all persons from “abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty” and “make the right to development a reality for everyone.” The objective is still far away: the global economic crisis and rising commodity prices have weakened the improvements that occurred between 1990 and 2005 (the period when the number of people below the absolute poverty had declined by 1, 8 billion to 1.4 billion) increase in the price of food and fuel prices has caused a new increase in the number of deaths by starvation (from 16% to 17%), especially children. The European Union, one of the richest regions in the world, has designated 2010 as European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion. This attempt to promote solidarity as a fundamental value and give security to the community at this time of world crisis.
The United Nations defines the concepts of poverty and wealth, and hence of development and underdevelopment, not by income, but according to the characteristic of existence: the average life expectancy, literacy, per capita income. These values form the Human Development Index (HDI), which expresses the degree of poverty. With this methodology, the United Nations consider 55 countries with “high human development ‘, 86 as a” medium human development “and 36 than the” low human development “. Earth’s population reached 6.8 billion people. Of these, 2 billion live comfortably, educated and receive health care. Two thirds of them are concentrated in highly-developed countries. 5 billion people are, instead, concentrated in countries with low and medium development. And a half billion live in “absolute poverty”, with less than a dollar a day. Other 2 billion reaching $ 2 a day, but still fail to meet basic needs such as nutrition, education, health. In this scenario, you identify 60% of population in Africa, Latin America 35% and 25% in Asia. Even in industrialized countries are found, however, pockets of poverty. This is called “relative poverty” and involves people living on less than half the national average per capita income. 17% of Europeans have, in fact, limited resources and is unable to meet their basic needs. In Italy, 7 million people earn less than 500 € per month.
It is a world sharply divided into two groups: dominant and wealthy elite and a mass of billions of desperate people, often unaware of the powerful service. Just as was the Middle Ages, albeit in a wider territorial context, millions of ‘serfs’ are exploited to maintain a high standard of living of us “modern noble.” In our planet, 20% of the population owns 86% of wealth, and 63 million people concentrated on himself all the benefits. We Westerners eat alone most of what the world produces: 55% energy, 70% paper, 40% of the meat. We have also 74% of cars circulating and 55% of mobile working. E… die for this, millions of consumers in industrialized countries die because of the abundance desperately seeking (stroke, cancer, diabetes). Abundance and riches that none of us will ever wear in the afterlife …
Translated by Martina Delser