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This is the richest year in human history...ironically Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Jay-R Patron, Philippines Mar 13, 2007
Culture , Human Rights , Globalization   Opinions
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Forbes Magazine has recently released its list of the world’s richest; stating no other than Bill Gates as the top most contender in the wealthiest-man-in-the-planet position, with Warren Buffet closing in on the Microsoft founder’s lead.

In Asia, India has taken the top spot from Japan (after 20 or so years) with the richest man in the continent.

According to an Inquirer.net article (March 9, 2007), “Bill Gates still top dog but other billionaires catching up”:

While the 20th annual list was dominated as usual by US businessmen, Russian oligarchs and Asian entrepreneurs, especially those from India and China, were increasingly making their presence felt.

Some 36 Indian billionaires led by steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal now featured on the list boasting a total wealth of 191 billion dollars between them, knocking out Japan after two decades as the leading Asian power on the list.

But even India's dominance would be overturned if China and Hong Kong were lumped together with their total of 41 billionaires, led respectively by Hong Kong property magnate Li Ka-shing and China's paper manufacturer Yan Cheung.

But ironically…
· Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.
· The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people combined.
· Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
· Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
· 1 billion children live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million live without adequate shelter, 400 million have no access to safe water, 270 million have no access to health services. 10.6 million died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (or roughly 29,000 children per day).

More from http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Poverty.asp Causes of Poverty - Global Issues

Here in the country, 41 percent of the population lives below the poverty line… that is four out of ten individuals struggling to find shelter and nourishment on a day-to-day basis – and the figure is gradually increasing.

The people at the lowest tier of the Philippine society find difficulty in at least witnessing the gains from a positive fiscal performance in the year 2006. And the ongoing political instability does no good to the welfare of the destitute. The Philippine political scene epitomizes “Messianic Complexity”. Some politicians believe that they can do better than their contemporaries, and some individuals believe that a request from a few hundred of their supporters equates to the common good of all. I’m referring to showbiz personalities and sports figures (my pet peeve) who do not have prior experience in government but still run for elective positions, with the frame of thought that it is all about what you feel you can do for the public.

The problem here is that emotions are placed far from intellect. That is why the brain is in the head, and the heart is in your chest.

We are trapped in a quagmire… and the only way I see to free the masses from the shackles of despair is to advance education and skills training, to provide the society with a reliable and quality public academic system veered towards the poor. But public education in the country is in a dilapidated state, and deteriorating even more.

But furthering education is just the beginning. According to Ronald Meinardus (Business World 2003):

Arguably, the phenomenon also has an educational dimension, as the Philippine society is footing the bill for the education of millions of people, who then spend the better part of their productive years abroad. In effect, the poor Philippine educational system is indirectly subsidizing the affluent economies hosting the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers).

More from http://www.fnf.org.ph/liberalopinion/crisis-public-education-philippines.htm The Crisis of Public Education in the Philippines

To subvert this, the country needs to develop a strong and broad trade and industry model promoting local employment – and along with this, a compensation scheme enough to feed the needs of the ordinary Filipino family.

According to a recent report, a worker needs to earn at least 8,500 pesos (US$174) per month to meet the basic needs of a family of four, and ‘basic’ does not necessarily mean a comfortable lifestyle. However, the average wage earner receives only 6000php per month, in some cases it’s lower than that.

Now here comes another problem… the call center industry. If you’re from North America, Europe or Oceania calling technical support for your product, chances are you’re talking to a customer service representative with a well-defined ‘unorthodox’ accent from India, the Philippines or China.

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Writer Profile
Jay-R Patron

Jay-R Patron, 24 years old, currently works as content provider for a multinational IT consultancy firm, under its interactive marketing department.

He was a writer for Hawaii-based Greater Good Inc., a media company behind the much-acclaimed Greater Good Radio. The show promotes social entrepreneurship and servant leadership.

Jay-r is a Journalism and Communication and Media Studies graduate from the University of Southern Queensland.

chow pei ru | Oct 22nd, 2007
i hope the lord will bless u

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