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Poverty and Inequality

Among the greatest issues that the world is still facing today are poverty and inequality. The division of the poor and the rich has always been present in any society. Some countries get poorer and poorer whereas some continue to gain wealth. Poverty and inequality are very much linked to how the wealthy people’s expenditures and gains behave at a given time. Their salary and bonuses, their spending on consumptions and taxes, even the political policies that they support contribute to what it means to be poor.

One might ask, why is inequality always intimately related to poverty? The answer is simple. When there is economic growth in a society, like the U.S., the larger share in the economy is seized by the affluent. However, when there is a slow decline in economic growth, the rich are unaffected while the middle class and the poor get hit harder. When workers work much harder, they create more value for their productivity but they do not get wealthy. It is the company owners and executives who do.

Seeing how the wealthy influence poverty, many propose that the wealthy should do something for the poor to alleviate inequality. Foreign aid, according to some, should be offered to poorer countries.

However, not all wealthy people and economists agree. Many economists are interested in ending poverty and inequality through other means. One of them is Angus Deaton who has written several books and conducted many researches to analyze poverty. His works in economic research earned him the award for this year’s Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.

In one of his books, The Great Escape, he talked about how the world changed over time since 250 years ago. He said that at a certain point, everyone progressed equally and slowly, progress has opened gaps and set the stage for today’s unequal world. He refers to human achievements as great escapes and examined how these great escapes have left a widening inequality between people and nations.

For Deaton, offering foreign aid to poor countries is much more damaging because it stops poor countries from developing. Foreign aid, instead, should only be given when disaster strikes. Donation of money to poor countries weakens the countries’ own capacity for economic growth. Rather, Deaton turns to the power of the governments to impose change. There are many things that only the governments can do. He said that the governments should do their best to enforce the rule of law, defend their territories, and even promulgate education. When the governments of poor countries fail to do what they are expected to do, the poor countries will not achieve economic growth and the average people will remain poor.

질문&어휘 문법TIPs 해석
questions

1. How does the affluent influence the poor?

2. What is foreign aid and how does Angus Deaton see it?

3. According to Angus Deaton, what is a better way to fight poverty?

4. Explain the meaning of the underlined part.

vocabularies

expenditure 지출

seize 붙잡다, 장악하다

inequality 불평등

economist 경제학자

impose 부과하다, 도입하다

rule of law 법의 지배

promulgate 널리 알리다

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