Some Really Scary Facts About The World We Live
Halloween is approaching and that's the time of the year we all embrace the silly costumed rituals and welcome “the night of horrors”. That is the beauty of Halloween after all, when we allow ourselves to believe in the absurd for one night. When I was a child, Halloween gave me the comfort that horrors are only fictions, and reality is the opposite; a perfectly rational world with no reason to fear. But, are all the horrors gone after Halloween? Is there any element of the “grotesque” that remains present in our every day life?
Unfortunately, horrors do not end with the folklore of October 31st. On the contrary, they are experienced by millions of people around the globe. As matter of fact, the scariest stories are told when we look at real-life stories. No horror can be greater than that of the victims of hunger, misery, poverty, domination, misrepresentation, and social injustices.
We don’t need to go far to “celebrate the absurd” and the “grotesque”, we only have to look at these recent numbers on poverty, inequality, and hunger to realize that the world in which we live in today is filled with scary facts:
World Poverty is a Never-Ending Challenge:
1. Recent World Bank report on extreme poverty suggests that 1.22 billion people lived on less than $1.25 per day. Despite the significant decline in numbers, the report suggested that 1 billion people will still live in extreme poverty in 2015 (World Bank, 2013).
2. Amongst the poor victims, children seem to hold one of the scariest trends. Roughly 400 million children are affected by extreme poverty. This means children accounted for one in three of those living extreme poverty around the globe in 2010. These numbers are even worse in low-income countries with half of all children living in extreme poverty. (World Bank, 2013).
3. Using US$1.25 per day per person as the benchmark for extreme poverty line, the latest World Development Indicators show that the numbers of extremely poor individuals have increased in the Sub-Saharan Africa. There are twice as many poor people living in extreme poverty today (414 million) that there were three decades ago (205 million).
Hunger in the World Has Increased:
1. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people, one in eight, suffer from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012 (FAO, 2012). Studies indicate that the number of people suffering malnutrition due to price hikes and economic crisis might be way more revealing; data on deterioration of dietary quality, for instance, could reveal even more alarming numbers.
2. The number of hungry people has risen in developing countries, from 13 million in 2004-2006 to 16 million in 2010-2012 (FAO, 2012).
The Gap between rich and poor is growing:
1.Inequality has remained extremely high through the past years and changed very little even during episodes of economic growth. Current economic crisis has further accentuated the gap between rich and poor. Income inequality rose approximately by 1.4% in 18 OECD countries, including the United States, between 2007 and 2010 (OECD, 2013).
2. According to the OECD, inequality has increased since 2008. The OECD report reveals that, after tax, the wealthiest 10 percent had been able to increase their wealth from 9 times as much as the poorest 10 percent in 2007 to 9.5 times in 2010.
3. Levels of income inequality have worsened across three-quarters of all OECD countries since 2007. This gap has grown steadily in nations hit by the euro crisis, with unemployment rising in most countries. Spain and Italy are a clear example of that, with an economy that was hit harder by the crisis, the average income of the top 10% remained stable whereas the average income of poor has dramatically declined.