The UNDP program has concluded on several occasions that “never before has humanity counted on as many resources to eradicate poverty as today” and calculated how much it would cost to guarantee basic social services in every impoverished country.
For everyone to have access to basic education, 9 billion dollars per year would be needed over a period of ten years. Reproductive health aid for women: 12 billion. Basic nutrition and health for everyone: 13 billion. For everyone to have clean water: 9 billion. The total of all these “expenses” escalates to up to 40 billion dollars per year, or 400 billion over ten years. This amount equals to the amount of money that banks launder from drug traffic and less than half the total military expenses in the world.
The most dreadful threat to humanity is demographic explosion. At the beginning of the 20th Century, world population did not reach 2 billion people and, today, there are 6.4 billions.
It has been proved that, wherever women have equal access to education and work, the demographic curve becomes stable. This curve descends in very rich countries, where the retired population escalates and therefore acquires the need for immigrants to cover for work positions guarantee the retirement payments of the population, bonuses included. Demographic explosion will be prevented with education for all, which will guarantee women’s reproductive health, eradicate hunger in a world that has become global, narrow, responsible, and with a sense of solidarity.
It has been proved that the eradication of hunger and the coverage of basic health for all is possible and cannot be postponed because life on this Earth is in danger.
It is insane to fight terrorism with “preemtive” and “preventive” wars by wasting millions of dollars. Would it not be more logical to cover more urgent needs? There is something wrong when there are more than 30 conflicts in the world, when the United States and England bomb civilian zones in Iraq and the free world tolerates the extermination of the Palestinian people by Israel. They do not control the financial powers, but they will surely bomb other countries when it benefits their interests.
The tax on inheritance amounted to almost 250 billion dollars over a decade. Its elimination will have a repercussion on the poorest. But the greed of others who sustain power prevailed. That money was more than half of what was needed to eradicate hunger in the world.
José Carlos García Fajardo
Emeritus Profesor of Contemporary Social and Political Thought. CCS Director
Translated by Carlos Miguélez