The Blanket

The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
UN Report on Human Development
Liam O Ruairc • 11 September 2003

This year's UN Report on Human Development once again reminded us of global injustice. The ten percent richest people on earth earn 124 times more than the poorest ten percent. The 1% richest earn more than 57% of world population combined. In 2001, the world's GDP was 45 000 billion dollars. If this wealth was divided equally, a family with three children, be they living in Africa, Asia or in the USA would have a monthly income of 2260 Euros - enough to have a comfortable life. Every human being on earth would have 14 dollars per day, but 2.8 billion are currently living on two dollars or less, and 1.1 billion on one dollar or less. One person out of three has no electricity, and one out of five no drinking water. Every day, 30 000 children die of hunger and preventable diseases. More children died of diarrhea during the 1990s than the total number of people who died in armed conflicts since the end of the second world war.

Every year, 10 million human beings die of hunger. Yet, there is an annual surplus of food for at least 600 million people. But 800 million people suffer from hunger: one person out of three in sub-Sahara Africa, and one out of four in South East Asia. In India alone, 200 million suffer from hunger. However, the solution is fairly easy. Saving them would only cost 5.2 billion dollars, the equivalent of one month of US occupation of Iraq. The report also notes that only 35 billion dollars would suffice to prevent the annual death of 8 million people from preventable diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and diarrhea. That is less than the 40 billion dollars spent by the US for their war in Iraq between March and April this year.

What is scandalous about those figures is that all this misery is preventable. Compare on the basis of this UN report socialist China and capitalist India for example. In India, more than 200 million people suffer from hunger and more than 400 million have to live on less than one dollar a day. If India provided the same health care as China, every year 1.5 million children could be saved. Proportional to population, China spends three times as much as India on health care. India has an illiteracy rate of 35 per cent compared to China's rate of 16 percent. The average Chine can expect to live until 71, the average Indian 64. India's infant mortality rate is twice that of China. In Cuba, there is one medical doctor for 170 people. In the rest of Latin America, the proportion is of one doctor for 613 people. Cuba spends per inhabitant twice as much on health care and education than the rest of Latin America. In those countries, the ten percent richest people earn 46 times what the poorest ten percent earn. In Cuba, the proportion is five times. A quarter of Latin Americans have to survive on 2 dollars a day or less. In Cuba, less than two percent do. This is a reminder that a more equitable organisation of society is possible.










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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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Index: Current Articles

11 September 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Seconds Out for Round Thirteen
Eamon Sweeney


UN Report on Human Development
Liam O Ruairc


No Sign Yet of an End to the Cold War
Anthony McIntyre


West Belfast - The Politics of Childhood
Davy Carlin


Review of Eoin O'Broin's Matxinada
Douglas Hamilton


Help Renew the Republican Dream
Gerry Ruddy


Three Meeting Announcements
Belfast & Dublin


7 September 2003


Bush, Coke-a-Cola and the Nazis
Eamonn McCann


A Regime of Silence
Anthony McIntyre


Lower Falls Memories
Kathleen O'Halloran


My Axis of Evil
Pedram Moallemian


In Memory of Israfil Shiri 1973-2003
Debbie Grue


IRPWA Calls on Paul Murphy to Reveal Recommendations
Martin Mulholland


A Letter to Mr Foley
Matthew Kavanagh




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