Friday, July 15, 2005

make poverty history

On the Make Poverty History march in Edinburgh a guy was handing out A6 flyers. No organisation or author credited, just the text:

Over the past few hundred years, while our standard of living has improved, living conditions for millions of others have become worse and worse. This is not a coincidence. Our standard of living depends on other people's poverty.

Nearly everything we take for granted in our modern lives depends on an economic system that keeps millions of people in poverty. Can we manage without state-funded health care, free education, public transportation, pensions, benefits, well-stocked supermarkets, clothing, reliable cars, modern technology, entertainment?

If impoverished labourers abroad were suddenly paid the same as labourers in Europe, would we still be able to afford our clothes, our cars, our mobile phones? Could our government still provide services we think we can't live without?

Each of us needs to ask ourselves, 'can I really live without poverty?' That may seem like a strange question, but there is one thing that the G8 members know and that we are trying to deny; we depend on the current system of poverty for our very way of life. Bush, Blair, me, you - we all depend on a global economy based on unfair global distribution of wealth.

If we somehow managed to wipe out global poverty tomorrow, would we be ready to face what that actually means in our daily lives? It's easy to stand up and tell the super-rich that it's their responsibility to eradicate poverty, but what responsibility do we have? Are we not consumers living off the world's poor and keeping the G8 in power?

If we want to end poverty today we have to be ready to fundamentally change our lifestyles today and every day. Today we join thousands marching to end poverty, but what will we do tomorrow or next week? What sacrifices will we make in our daily lives?

It's time to stop blaming others and truly take responsibility for the global community we live in. We can live responsibly and fundamentally change the world. We can find alternative solutions.

If we want the G8 to end world poverty, we need to show that we are ready to make sacrifices and to live differently. If we change our lives, we can begin to change the lives of others.

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