The nature of global poverty as a problem is an important and very vital topic that is to be discussed. This is because through the process of understanding and solutions to this ever increasing problem are found. It is through various theories of the international relations that different solutions to the complexity of the problem can be met. However, they are mostly understood because of the differences that arise from the use of the various theories. It is good to use and dwell on one of the theories, so that we get the best and the most accurate answer.
The paper will give an insight about the theory of Realism, Marxism and critical theory, and the theory of post-colonialism. There would be a relationship that would be made on the prevalence of poverty, and the best theory that would give the most detailed explanation and the best solution of the problem poverty.
The post-colonialism approach is considered to be the best theory that gives an insight about the global problems of poverty. This is because the theory discusses the various causes of increase in the global poverty level. The theory talks about various powerful entities that have the reminiscent of the colonial rule. This aspects lead to the foundation of various forms of imbalance and inequality across the societies that exists in the global world we live in.
Poverty can be best described as a state, under which individuals in any given region or society are deprived from the essential goods and services that are required for their basic continuation of life. This means that these individuals are left to live and survive in inadequate conditions. The problem of the global poverty truly magnifies various problems of the inequality within a given society (Levitan 1990). Poverty cannot be taken as a problem that prevails in a single nation, but across the various nations globally (Harrison and Dye, 2007). Taking close the scrutiny of the various characteristics and facets that involve theories of the international relations, they would give us the insight of understanding of the various causes of global poverty. Therefore, there is a closer need of discussion of major theories of the international relations, such as the realism, post-colonialism and the Marxism, and the critical theory.
The international relation approach of the theory of Realism gives as an overview understanding of global poverty, according to which a nation or state must ensure that its interests are carefully safeguarded and prioritized. The Post-colonialism theory states that there still exist powers and forms of colonialism in this modern world which give the rise of inequality (Owens, 2004). On the other hand, the Marxism and the Critical theory talk about the international relations, associating itself only with the economic matters (Rupert, 2007). After the overview definition of these three theories, we can assert that the post-colonialism theory expresses an important message that gives us valuable contents of global problem of poverty. This is because it speaks of the exploitative nature of powerful entities which resemble the colonial masters, leading to the creation of inequality that causes the increase in the poverty level.
Poverty as a Global Problem
The main reason of poverty being branded as a global problem is that it has taken the position of affecting several nations across the globe, regardless of various standings of the nation, such as social, political and economic in general. This has made it be referred to as the cause of powerlessness and inequality across the globe. Although, it is difficult for some people to achieve equality, considering that the nation’s resources have to be distributed equally, the spread and the existence of poverty have lead to many outstanding problems that need extra measures to combat them (Levitan, 1990). Statistics has shown that almost 23% of the global population have been affected by extreme poverty that has resulted in major problems, such as diseases.
Citizens from such regions as the East Asia, Africa and South America are considered to be living in extreme poverty level, since they earn less than 1 USD per day. On the other hand, high level of poverty or absolute level of poverty affects a large population of the inhabitants of the Sub-Saharan African region with the recently released statistics showing that at least 300 million people having been affected by the extreme poverty. While it may appear that poverty may be still be prevalent in developing nations, there is also another evidence that poverty is affecting some of the inhabitants of rich and the most powerful nations in the world, such as European countries and the United States of America (Harrison and Dye, 2007). It is evident that the problem of poverty is hard to be solved because of its pervasiveness. It is well-known that most people know only some of the factors that cause an increase in poverty across the globe.
It is evident from the book “Power and poverty”, authors Harrison and Dye (2007), that there is a big difference that has led to the disagreement of resulting in poverty across the globe. Other theories suggest that the poverty has been caused by the fact that many nations have avoided following steps that have been created by the Western nation with regards to the industrialization and modernization. Other than these, there is another claim that many nations that are powerful in terms of economic might are exploiting the developing nations that are yet to achieve their goals of poverty eradication.
Other than these already mentioned theories, there is another dependency theory that claims that poverty across the globe has been caused by the ability of the majority of people to have the idea of depending on possession that has been developed by the prospect of modernization and development. Whichever theory rings to be true, it is evident across the globe that poverty is still haunting the majority of the world population. It has led to various problems that are still mayhem in the modern society, and some of these problems include inadequate access to healthcare, clean water, and even lack of the proper nourishment among other social problems. Furthermore, we see the rise of other social ills that are becoming prevalent in our modern society across the globe. The ills include such cases as; sexual harassment, drug trafficking cases, and even the rise of crimes and violence activities.
From the recent survey that has been conducted across the globe, in order to gather the views and opinions concerning the poverty level, it is evident that poverty is still a major issue that needs a lot of financial support and the union of major developed world countries, in order to eradicate it. The number of the responded in the survey was 30000 people coming from 25 countries across the globe. From the survey, it was revealed that 76% of the respondents claim that poverty is a major problem across the globe. Poverty was placed on the top of other social problems, such as terrorism and war (McNeill, 2009).
Therefore, there is need for the major world powers and prominent figures to come close together and discuss the issue of poverty across the globe, in order to help people live in the problem-free society. For instance, 2008 became the year that marked the meeting of major world powers in a summit that was held in Latin America. The idea that led to formation of strategic alliance was to discuss various methods of eradicating poverty, and it was reached. Also, there is a one program of the United Nations known as the Millennium Development Goals that deal with various ways of overcoming and reducing the poverty level across the globe. The program has its annual meeting that calls upon every leader from major world countries to make a report on how far their country has initiated tis program in reducing the poverty levels across the globe. For instance, the 22nd of September, 2010 marked the day, when various leaders came together and presented their reports to the United Nations leaders on how far they had gone in reducing poverty around the world. During the briefing meeting, various initiatives mechanism were presented, for instance, one leader said that reducing the poverty level across the globe needed a long term security measures and approach that had to be adopted by the various nations of the world. However, there is a belief that such meetings and summits are conducted worldwide and attended by leaders from the developed world only, in order to advance their own agendas that they believe they can be met via attending such gatherings.
From the journal “Poverty reduction and the new global governability” that has been authored by Jonathan Joseph (2010), we can state that some but not all the strategies that are implemented by the major world powers, in order to reduce poverty across the globe, are done for the main goal of regulating most of the developing countries and their governments. To give an insight into this concept, and how it has been realized, the comprehensive development framework of the world bank of the year 1999 gave the most of the international organizations across the globe the power and the ability to advance their development and the capacity building. In addition to this purpose, it was indented the purpose of providing the technical assistance. The framework was crafted out, in accordance with poverty reduction strategy plan. The strategy enables most countries to form a partnership with these international organizations, in order to reduce the poverty level through the financial assistance the countries receive from the mentioned organizations and the financial institutions. Such strategies may sound too good to the majority of the citizens from the benefiting countries, but they do not realize that the proponents of those strategies have one common goal of creating one global government that would gain the authority to dismantle powers of the smaller states. Such issues arise from the process of reducing the global poverty level, and it reveals the various interests of major world powers of controlling the world economy through crafting of strategies that would favor their ill intentions. They assert power for the main goal of creating a united political system that would govern the world internationally. Thus, problems are created concerning the international relations, when such measures and strategies of the global poverty reduction are implemented (Jones, 2006).
International Relations Theories
The modern world is the best described by the growing pattern of the coordination from the different nations across the globe. The existence of the international boundaries has been considered as a failure of the past that has resulted into the national isolation. Nevertheless, thanks to the world unified through the implementation of the various strategies of international relations, making the relationship improve among the various types of people from different backgrounds across the globe, and thus making ties among different people grow (Shimko, 2009).
One of the most common theories of the world is the theory of Realism, which states that nations must prioritize their security and interests at the forefront of any other issues. From the article of Jack Donnelly, “Realism and International Relations” (2000), it has been shown that the characteristics which have been drawn out among various nations that build the international community are the antagonism. Each community that forms the international community is always in a state of international competition. The influence that a given state can have is always determined by the power and strength of the military and the economic ability it has over others. Further, the theory of realism presents boiling facts, such as the self-centered functions of a given state, and thus, the possibility of the process of promotion of major international relations ideas would make the individual state security be less. The best thing the theory presents is the fact that citizens’ interests are valued, and that there is no chance exploitation on the interests of the citizens of that individual state that is given to the foreign values or entities (Jorgensen, 2006).
Other traditional theories of international relations do criticize the theory of the realism with the fact that it is limited and more conservative on various notions of politics. On the other hand, states that emphasize the idea of the capitalist intentions are highlighted in other theories, such as the theory of Marxism and the critical action theory. Global capitalism is fueled, as a result of each country’s interacting with each other making the international arena look like a united region of different economies that arise from different nations (Rupert, 2007). The Marxist’s theory spells out that the economic system is the same as the social system, because they both have the ability to produce goods and services. Thus, the goal of the capitalistic is the one that drives the international relations, and thus, the term “world market”. Hence, the process of the world globalization is the best described in the theory of the Marxism, because one of its features is highlighted by this theory. Various theories have come out into the limelight, such as the theory of dependency, the underdevelopment theory, among many others that are still being debated in the public domains by the majority of scholars across the globe (Salmon, 2008).
Many of these theories describe how the act of inequality has come into reality because of the different operations across the globe (Rosenberg, 2007). Relationship among the different communities across the globe are the best described by these theories. Perhaps, the Post-colonialism theory is viewed by many as the newer way of defining the concept of the international relations. The theory, however, tries to show a few of the semblances of the colonialism that still have an impact in the modern world. It states that various powers that were used and implemented by the colonial masters still are in use, and are the cause of the inequality that has spread across the globe nowadays. For instance, a social injustice that has led to the various cases of races to occur is one of the aspects of the theory. The theory of the post-colonialism has been attributed to the recent globalization as a resemblance of the colonialism that was practiced by major European nations from the times of the medieval during all the way through the times of the American realism (Sil, 2008). The theory of post-colonialism tries to be involved in the destructive nature of the international relations.
Relating Poverty and the Theories of the International Relations
It can be observed that the international arena of politics and the drawn out relationships that exist among the different nations can be best described as volatile and the most competitive. All these can be drawn out on that the different theories support the various ideals of the international relations. There is the call for the various states to have the unification of the world economy for the sole purposes of the capitalistic world. The international political scene is considered volatile in the sense that it has to be securely controlled on its standings, in order to avoid causing disagreements. Since the theory of realism has no insight on the nature of the global poverty as a problem of the modern world because of the fact that it only concerns itself with the internal affairs of an individual state, we can say that the theories of Marxism and the critical action, and post-colonialism theory have the ability to give a better understanding of the nature of the global poverty.
There are conceptions of newer social theories, as a result of Marxism and the critical action theory. Such theory includes the theory of dependency and the theory of the underdevelopment. These newer theories explain why the there is the increase on the poverty level, and why it exists in the first place. Despite those facts, the majority of nations in the modern world have devoted their energies to the concept of capitalism; it is impossible to help in such a scenario, but to apply all the possible plans, in order to meet its set out targets of profit. However, it must be noted that such scenarios are the sources of troubles, since they adopt the nature of becoming exploitative in the process of becoming productive and while meeting its targets. We can then be able to note that the key characteristic of the post-colonialism theory is the exploitation act, specifically witnessed in the modern world. For instance, the behavior of some of the Western world companies has led them to make some business operations outside their home country. They have the repetitive pattern of setting up their companies in most areas that are affected by poverty, in order to be able to enjoy the cheap labor and gain the use of free natural resources that have not yet been exploited by the inhabitants of that region, simply because of their poor nature. The perfect example is the most notorious American companies that establish their operational branches across the globe, especially in regions that have not yet been exploited, in order to take advantage of the cheap labor from that area.
These companies set up their branches off shores in countries, such as India and China, where the population is too large, and thus, the level of poverty is extreme. In the modern day world, many small firms under the ownership of American business have mushroomed in local industrial towns of India and China to take advantage of the cheap labor. It is evident from previous surveys conducted by some of the world largest research firms that workers who work tireless in these firms receive income of about 10-28 percent of their American counterpart’s salaries (Kumar and Varghese, 2004). This depicts the real act of exploitation that is done on a daily basis by these ‘so-called’ foreign companies under the pretext of helping the poor to get out of poverty. We can see that actually normal Indian citizens are underpaid and do not forget that the real American citizens back home loose their jobs that results the rise of unemployment rate. Finally, one big firm owner benefits from it and pockets millions of dollars on a monthly basis as the profit of the firm. It so saddening to hear such stories, but it happens on the daily basis in this modern world.
Beyond all doubts, the post-colonialism concept has offered a lot of encompassing insights that explain that the world of poverty is being a natural calamity that has to be stemmed out as quickly as possible. The theory points out poverty as a major and global problem that needs a lot of measures to be taken, in order to avoid it. In addition, the approach of solving poverty has been hijacked by the superpower states of the world, in order to advance their interests in the name of bringing globalization, in order to solve the problem of poverty. This forces the developing countries to surrender their powers to these powerful states, and to act under their mercies. Therefore, exploitative acts are fully driven by those who are in power, in order to gain their own interests in such profitable fields as business and international relations. The so-called “helping nations” tell people the reason why poverty is being taken so long to wipe out and eradicate from the face of the earth. Various international influential acts were being driven by different groups of interest, which have taken the advantage of doing such exploitative acts in such a volatile environment. These acts need to be exploitative, so that their interest can bear the profits they want to gain in the long run. The post-colonialism theory, nonetheless, gives us an insight that is at least valuable in respect of the problem of the poverty across the globe, and it talks for the big reason of existence of the powerful nations that have influence in the modern world.
Thus, we see that there is a real erosion of sovereignty of each state by the exploitation actions of the most economically powerful nations in the world. They take advantage of the real and bad situation of extreme poverty in these developing parts of the world, and advance their interests, not forgetting even that they hurt their normal citizens back home, and cause unemployment that eventually leads to increase in the poverty level. Therefore, we see that there is a need to have the concept of international relations being thought in a more positive way, so as to be able to tackle the issue of the global poverty, or less we risk in increasing the level of poverty in most parts of the world to the extreme level, including both in the developed and the developing world. In other words, we need to have leaders, especially from the developed nations, who have bright and positive attitude towards the aspect of poverty in regards to the international relations. These leaders are the ones who can break this monotony of taking advantage of less fortune ones in the society, and bring changes, especially in regards to the concept of international relations theories and poverty in general.