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Education and Freedom from Poverty PDF Print E-mail

Introduction


In 1999, Sodako Ogata stressed that "Human security means to be free from being killed, prosecuted or abused; free from the abject that brings indignity and self-contempt; free to make choices"1. But as Rousseau stated in the Social Contract: "Man is born free, but everywhere is in chains", this means that the freedom of man is not a reality but an ideal which has to be realized. Human Security is a new concept that focuses on the urgency of realizing the fundamental freedom and chief among them the freedom from poverty.


Men have different predicaments: some have, others have not; some are happy, others miserable; some live in dignity while other suffer from contempt. How to explain the differences: is it the law of Karma or simply God's will to test our faith in Him. If we want to fight poverty, it may be necessary to understand its causes and dynamics and not to accept it as fateful. Many attempts have been made to analyze poverty in its complexity. Suffice here to present a simple explanation in the form of the following vicious circle : a poor is born poor ; with low IQ and being mal-nourished, he/she fails in education ; his/her work is lowly paid and physically exhaustive ; being weak and without proper health care, he/she is often sick ; he/she reproduces a next generation of poor.


However simple is this explanation, it may still be useful in pointing to the way to alleviate poverty: the circle should be broken by improving education, raising income and providing better health service. But more importantly the attempt should not be the top-down but to allow the poor to be actively involved in pulling themselves up from indignity and self-contempt.

 

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