Graduation Year

Spring 2011

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy and Public Affairs

Reader 1

William Ascher

Reader 2

Paul Hurley

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Rights Information

© 2011 Jaron Abelsohn


Despite some recent economic progress, there is still widespread poverty and severe inequality in developing countries. According to the World Bank there are over 925 million hungry or undernourished people worldwide. More than 80 percent of people in the world live in countries whose income inequality is rising. Over 2.1 billion people globally live on less than two dollars a day, with over 880 million people facing absolute poverty and living on less than one dollar a day. Three out of four people living on less than $1 a day live in rural areas. These impacts have been magnified by the recent global recession, as rising food prices and a decrease in remittances have pushed between 130 and 155 million people back into poverty. 1 Particularly in lower income countries, the impoverished are faced with poor and insufficiently funded health care systems, restricted access to adequate nutrition and potable water, low agricultural yields, and poor soil quality. Not only are the services in short supply for the poor, but the predicament of the poor often limits their capacity to avail themselves of these services. Parents may opt for keeping their children out of school, either to employ their labor or to avoid the costs of transportation and school fees. Healthcare may also entail costs that parents are reluctant to bear. Thus, people are often in poor health which decreases their productivity and learning capacity. These issues combined, along with inadequate education systems, poor school attendance, and teacher absenteeism, all retard human capital accumulation.