By Amir Khan
Poverty and inequality are hallmarks of today’s global societies. Developed nations, and the people living there, have relatively better life prospects, while developing and under-developed countries are plagued by myriad problems that affect the lives of the public. Despite of the differences in overall quality of life, there are differences in living standards within countries based on socio-economic class. Poverty is on the rise, and so is the wealth of a few families and groups. Why is poverty increasing?
In my opinion the lower and upper classes are responsible for this state of affairs; the lower classes are hopeless and hapless, while while the upper class people are ruthless.
While the elites are able to enjoy and celebrate their lives, roaming the world, wearing expensive cloths and living in vast mansions, the poor are hungry, desperate, dying due to diseases, or fighting the perpetual war for survival.
The rich are making money, and amplifying their wealth and stature through overt and covert means. They are are the leaders, bureaucrats, policy makers and influencers. They, often, have a ruthless disregard for the plight for the poor. They formulate policies to save their wealth, while exploiting the labor of the poor, and capturing resources.
On the other hand, the poor are suffering from all sorts of issues, ranging from hunger to homelessness, and unemployment to diseases.
Let’s take the example of wages. But, before that, let’s read a short story. There was a farmer worked all day and night, laboring in his fields, and toiling from dawn to dusk. Nearby lived a King, in his spatial palace. The King saw the farmer toiling in his field, and marveled him for his hard work.
One day the king met the farmer, and chatted with him
The king asked, “him how much money do you make in a day?” He replied,
“Only four rupees, your highness.”
The kindhearted king became worried and immediately asked, ” You work throughout the day and make only four rupees. What do you do with your money?” The farmer responded swiftly, “Your highness, I spend 1 rupee on myself. The second rupee pays my previous loan. I loan the third rupee to someone, while the fourth one i throw in the water.
The king was perplexed. “I don’t understand you. Can you explain it more?”
The farmer replied, “Your highness, I use the first rupee on my personal expenses. I use the second rupee to take care of my parents, who took care of me since my childhood. The third rupee is reserved for my children, which is an investment i am making, while the fourth I use to serve the people in need. I said that i throw it in water, because I don’t expect the money to return to me.”
The King understood the farmer’s point. But it was difficult for him to be in the farmer’s shoe, because he had not seen poverty and hunger.
The elites need to be aware of the plight of the poor, and they should also actively work to create a more equitable society for all humans. States need to create equal opportunities for all, so that all people are able to improve their lives, with the help of their skills and talents.
All people need to live balanced lives. We should not be drowning in vanity if we have wealth, and neither shall we be living in despair if we have limited or no resources.
The contributor is a BS 3rd semester student at National University of Modern Languages Islamabad.