Website owner: James Miller
There have been several articles in the newspaper recently on the subject of child slavery. It is usually associated with deep, desperate poverty in the poorer countries of the world. There are many countries of this world in which there is a lot of deep poverty. This is especially true of many of the countries of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. There are millions and millions of people in this world who live in deep, abject poverty. What do I mean by deep, abject poverty? I mean a person living in a hovel (mud hut, tumble-down shack, etc.), perhaps without electricity, running water or toilet, living on less than a dollar a day, eating a very spartan diet consisting mostly of the least expensive staples such as rice, beans and corn --- and barely making it or hungry much of the time. The most of the people of most of the countries of Africa probably fit this description. So do millions upon millions in many other countries of the world. Different countries have different definitions of what constitutes poverty. In the United States the definition of poverty is such that, according to the US Census Bureau, 46% of those officially regarded to be in poverty own their own home with the average poor person's home having three bedrooms, one and a half baths, and a garage. (Rector, Robert E. and Johnson, Kirk A., Understanding Poverty in America). Compared to the most of the world, these people aren't poor, they are wealthy. With poverty there is often associated a lot of crime and violence. Why? The poor often grow up like animals without moral instruction and when people get hungry many will often do desperate and bad things. And with poverty there is often associated the problem of child slavery. Consider this couple with a dozen children living in squalor and filth in a gigantic slum district of a large city in the Third World. They live in a hovel constructed from mud bricks, with a sheet metal roof, and with a squat type toilet and a faucet outside with running water. [And they are among the fortunate of the poor because there are vast numbers of people in this world, living out in rural areas, that have neither toilet facilities nor running water, who may indeed have to hike a considerable distance every day just to fetch water --- and firewood for their cookstove (if they are fortunate enough to have a cookstove)]. Everyone in this family we are speaking of is illiterate and the economy of this country is dysfunctional, providing very few jobs. The husband makes less than a dollar a day laying bricks. Money is hard to come by. Life is hard. There is no welfare in this country and if you don't have money for food you have a problem. There is no one to help. The family is barely making it and the family is in debt. The father developed a serious illness and they had to borrow money for doctors and hospital expense. To borrow this money they had to make a deal with the lender. They hired out a six year old son to him on contract as an indentured servant for $250 a year for 10 years to get money to pay off the debt. The young boy makes carpets. He works 16 hours a day. And he is treated roughly, badly, is abused. He sleeps with ten other boys on the mud floor of a tumble-down shack and gets hardly enough to eat. After hiring out the boy, the father continued to be ill, couldn't work, they were still in need of money, and then a fellow came along and told the family he could place their 11 year old daughter with a wealthy family doing housekeeping for $40 a month. It sounded great and the daughter was eager to go. They agreed and this unscrupulous fellow takes her to a foreign country where she doesn't know the language and sells her to a brothel owner and she is forced into prostitution. She dreams of getting away but even if she were to successfully run away she, not knowing the language and being illiterate, would have a difficult time finding a job. If she tried she would likely very quickly get cold and hungry and end up going back into prostitution. It is a bad situation she is in. She feels caught, trapped, doesn't know how to get out. Life for countless people in this big world is hard. People in the richer countries of this world, countries such as America, just don't realize how bad things are in much of the world. A great many people in this world live on less than a dollar a day. A great many people live in squalor with wretched lives. There are huge numbers of children living in slave-like or near slave-like conditions. They were hired out or sold to help their poverty-stricken parents. What is the answer to all this? I don't know. But the main point I am trying to make is this. Money is important in this world. Very important. In most cases ready money means something to eat and no money means nothing to eat. And one gets very hungry very quickly with nothing to eat. If you have money you have a warm bed and food to eat and the necessities of life. And if you get caught without it you have a problem. A big problem. You are in a corner with few options. You are highly vulnerable. It is something to be taken seriously. And education is very important. Without it decent jobs and money can be hard to get. Life can be hard. You can find yourself in the same kind of bad situation as the poor, destitute people of the world. America is a wealthy country with a vibrant economy (compared with the most of the countries of the world) and offering so many opportunities and so many Americans don't realize how lucky they are to live here. Children here are given the opportunity to get a good, free education. How many, especially in certain minority groups, squander this opportunity? They attend school and put in minimal or no effort. The country gives them the opportunity but they don't take advantage of it. On the other hand, there are other minority groups that study hard and do well. I believe it is mostly culture. Some cultures appreciate the importance of education and understand the facts of life. Others don't. I find it amazing that so many Americans squander all their money, spend it like water, aren't prudent enough to save it (to save it for that bad day when they might find themselves with no job, might find themselves in a corner without money and without options). I guess they are accustomed to the welfare society and feel the government will always be there for them when they need help. The following are some facts and statistics on world poverty found on the internet. Total world population: approximately 6.5 billion Almost half the world --- over three billion people --- live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. The poorest 40 percent of the world's population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. Water problems affect half of humanity: - Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. - Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day. - Close to half of all people in developing countries are suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits. - Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water. Number of children in the world: 2.2 billion Number in poverty: 1 billion (every second child) Shelter, safe water and health For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are: 640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3) 400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5) 270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7) Rural areas account for three in every four people living on less than US$1 a day and a similar share of the world population suffering from malnutrition. Approximately half the world's population now live in cities and towns. In 2005, one out of three urban dwellers (approximately 1 billion people) was living in slum conditions. In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass ---- fuelwood, charcoal and animal dung --- to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels [by poorer segments of society] is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis. In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest 20% just 1.5%. The poorest 10% accounted for just 0.5% and the wealthiest 10% accounted for 59% of all the consumption. 1.6 billion people --- a quarter of humanity --- live without electricity: Breaking that down further: Number of people living without electricity South Asia -- 706 million Sub-Saharan Africa -- 547 million East Asia -- 224 million Other -- 101 million World gross domestic product (world population approximately 6.5 billion) in 2006 was $48.2 trillion in 2006. The world's wealthiest countries (approximately 1 billion people) accounted for $36.6 trillion dollars (76%). The world's billionaires --- just 497 people (approximately 0.000008% of the world's population) --- were worth $3.5 trillion (over 7% of world GDP). Low income countries (2.4 billion people) accounted for just $1.6 trillion of GDP (3.3%) Middle income countries (3 billion people) made up the rest of GDP at just over $10 trillion (20.7%). Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific. Source:
Anup Shah, Poverty Facts and Stats, GlobalIssues.org, Last updated: Wednesday, September 03, 2008Dec 2008 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
On Self-sufficient Country Living, Homesteading
Principles for Living Life
America has lost her way
The really big sins
Theory on the Formation of Character
You are what you eat
People are like radio tuners --- they pick out and listen to one wavelength and ignore the rest
Cause of Character Traits --- According to Aristotle
These things go together
We are what we eat --- living under the discipline of a diet
Avoiding problems and trouble in life
Role of habit in formation of character
The True Christian
What is true Christianity?
Personal attributes of the true Christian
What determines a person's character?
Love of God and love of virtue are closely united
Walking a solitary road
Intellectual disparities among people and the power in good habits
Tools of Satan. Tactics and Tricks used by the Devil.
On responding to wrongs
Real Christian Faith
The Natural Way -- The Unnatural Way
Wisdom, Reason and Virtue are closely related
Knowledge is one thing, wisdom is another
My views on Christianity in America
The most important thing in life is understanding
Sizing up people
We are all examples --- for good or for bad
Television --- spiritual poison
The Prime Mover that decides "What We Are"
Where do our outlooks, attitudes and values come from?
Sin is serious business. The punishment for it is real. Hell is real.
Self-imposed discipline and regimentation
Achieving happiness in life --- a matter of the right strategies
Self-control, self-restraint, self-discipline basic to so much in life
We are our habits
What creates moral character?