We Tolerate Extreme Poverty

Richard Stearns, president of World Vision, in a Q&A with Guy Kawasaki:

Today, we live in a world that tolerates extreme poverty much like racism was tolerated 50+ years ago. We can all become people determined to do something to change the world. We can speak up, we can volunteer and we can give. Ending extreme poverty will take money, political and moral will, and a shift in our value system. When enough ordinary people embrace these issues, things will begin to change.

Stearns was then asked, “What are biggest hurdles to alleviating poverty?”:

“One word: apathy. The very frustrating part is that we actually have the knowledge and the ability to end most extreme poverty. The world just doesn’t care enough to do it. The U.S. government has spent more than $400 billion on the war in Iraq to date.

Our annual humanitarian assistance budget for the whole world is only about $21 billion. We spend less than a half percent of our federal budget on humanitarian assistance and less than two percent of private charitable giving goes to international causes. People and governments make choices based on their priorities. Poverty is still not a high priority for the world.

But poverty is a high priority for God. It’s reminders like this that make me want to march against myself.

My immediate thought after reading the interview was that I wish I had the means to sponsor dozens of needy children through World Vision. Of course I do have the means, I just squander it on things I don’t really need. That and loans. If I could pay off my various school loans I’d have plenty of extra cash to save the world. Or so the thinking goes.

(link via NextGen via Knightopia via Inotice)

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