The Face of Poverty

Imagine that you are the editor of a major national news magazine. Write the cover story you would choose for the issue that would be on the newsstands January 1, 2025.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the United Nations committed to eradicating poverty by the year 2025. Many foreign nations were skeptical at first and believed that such an ambitious goal was unattainable. But over the past twenty-five years, countries have attempted to unite in this global struggle. Over five hundred million people lived on a meager one dollar per day. Can we now say that the goal has been met? To answer this question, let’s examine the developments of the past quarter century.

When the UN set its goal, the world’s poor were trapped by a number of seemingly intractable issues. While most citizens of wealthy nations took basic necessities of life for granted, those in impoverished countries had no such luxury. Their problems included limited resources, corrupt governments siphoning off money for their leaders’ private wealth, children orphaned by AIDS and other diseases, unsanitary living conditions and land inhospitable to growing crops. Their desperation is perhaps best exemplified by parents’ selling their own children into slavery just to survive. These complex problems needed resolution before any enduring victory over poverty could be obtained.

Diplomats and leaders from across the world addressed...

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