7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018

Make it a better place

Arthur Macdonald's 'A wealth of humanity' gives us enough thoughts to ponder upon. While we move on with our day-to-day lives one hardly thinks how many people live in the base lines of poverty while the rest of the world splurge, which would be an understatement. The inequality of wealth in the world is so wide that we can put oceans between them. This sure is one of the causes of the economic meltdown in most countries. The rich seem to be getting richer and the poor poorer.

According to the statistics in the "Forbes list of Millionaires'' in 2012, there are 1,226 millionaires around the globe with a combined net worth of around $4.6 trillion. The top five grossing in the list are:

* Carlos Slim of Telmex at the top whose net worth is $69 billion

* Bill Gates of Microsoft at around $61bn

* Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway worth around $44bn

* Bernard Arnault of Louis Vuitton, whose net worth is around $41bn and,

* Amancio Ortega of the Inditex Group, worth around $37.5bn.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are household names. Yet nobody racked up billions faster than the relatively unknown Amancio Ortega of Spain. The 76-year-old founded Inditex, the world's largest clothing retailer, which is known for its more than 1,600 trendy Zara stores. He made more than $18bn from the start of last year through October 5 - or about $66 million a day. That windfall was more than enough for the Spanish tycoon to eclipse Buffett - who's now at No 4, with $48.4bn as of October 5.

The hard hitting facts of poverty are as follows .The world population is 6.8bn. Out of which:

* 870 million people do not have enough to eat - more than the populations of the US and the European Union combined.

* 98 per cent of the world's undernourished people live in developing countries.

* Two-thirds of the world's hungry live in just seven countries: Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

* Where is hunger the worst?

Asia and the Pacific: 578m

Sub-Saharan Africa: 239m

Latin America and the Caribbean: 53m

Some of the aforesaid billionaires have contributed billions towards philanthropy but has it helped?

It might have just helped them get on momentarily with their lives. But to make this world a better place and alleviate poverty one has to empower the poor and create jobs. When jobs are created the poor and the bourgeois become self-sufficient and it is the best way to keep evils related to unemployment at bay.

Instead of hoarding wealth they should take steps towards developing the socio-economic conditions globally.

Many people are surprised at how rich they actually are compared to the rest of the world. One doesn't have to be a billionaire to give out a hand. A little redistribution of this wealth can go a long way, when given to the most effective causes. When you consider just how much good you can do with this money, this is a tiny sacrifice. Mubina Maqbool

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