Life In Perspective

Chloe Jones, Reporter

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On behalf of The Review staff

There was a time in American history when we walked instead of drove, technology was a dream yet unimagined and religion was a key factor in everyday life. However, we still had the necessary water access and food we needed to stay moderately healthy.

Over the years, we have developed both economically and socially, quickly becoming one of the top nations in the world. Because we are surrounded by these advances every day, we often forget that there are nations in other areas of the world that don’t have the same advantages that we have. Often, the only time the “starving kids in Africa” are remembered is when someone doesn’t want to eat their own food.

America, as well as many other countries in the world, hold a large majority of the world’s money. In the individual countries, that money is often split into the hands of only 1 percent of the nation. The excess amount then filters down to lower classes.

In Khaled Hosseini’s novel And the Mountains Echoed, readers see the extraordinary impact that a lack of wealth has on families in third-world countries. It starts off with the story of two kids living in a poor Afghanistan village. The older brother has become like a father to his sister and walks to a nearby village to find her a peacock feather for her collection. When he arrives, the owner of the peacock demands a trade: the child’s only good shoes for the feather. This loving brother wanted to give a good gift to his sister and see her smile, so he walked miles home without shoes, resulting in torn and bloody feet. Later on those children visit Kabul, a city flourishing with life, and become infatuated with the relative luxuries.

This story caused me to think about the inequality of wealth all around the world, starting with how that one city holds more fortune than any of those villagers could dream about.

The comparison of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in the U.S. is over $53,000, showing the total output of goods over the amount of people in the country. This is less than half the size of Luxembourg’s GDP, however, it’s more than 53 times the size of many third-world countries. While many countries around the world flourish, the Gross National Income (GNI) of many countries throughout Africa and Asia range way below $1,000 per year.

According to  “Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook 2013,” 68.7 percent of adults worldwide  own only 3 percent of the world’s currency. Forty one percent of the world’s money goes towards only .7 percent of adults.

The global inequality of wealth is something that seems to be overlooked often, but it can’t just be about statistics when it is noticed; there are many more despairing faces in nations across the globe. We’ve all seen the commercials: sad, crying children playing in the dirt. The sad truth is that most people don’t bother to watch them. We avoid the painful truth by flipping the channel on our flat screens or smartphones.

With the holidays nearing, it’s easy for us to forget the individuals who are dealing with extreme poverty. We have become so accustomed to this wealth that even the poorest in America don’t understand the poverty of some foreign countries. We don’t think about the child walking miles in bare feet to find a gift for his sister. I encourage you to remember a time when our country wasn’t as prosperous, when we were also struggling. Reach out and aspire to make a change, even if that means just donating your extra change after a check out at the grocery store.