Our Readers' Opinions
August 31, 2007

Technology and poverty eradication


Editor: Technology though revolutionary in nature, relates to poverty in that people tend to want more as more is acquired. This increase in acquisition comes at the expense of those who do not have.{{more}}

Take a case where a family of limited means begins to experience the need for computers. The income which would have comfortably provided the necessities and small comforts of life, now need to be doubled in order to provide and maintain the use of a computer with its related expenditure on electricity etc.

Such a family may have to make a choice between purchasing the computer and doing repairs to the home. This choice has further repercussions: if the computer is purchased it makes someone who is involved in the production and marketing of computers and accessories richer, however, the carpenter or mason with the labourers who would have been employed, are poorer.

The foregoing illustrations tell us that as we acquire a taste and corresponding demands for technological assets we must create a corresponding or relatively supporting increase in income. If income remains the same then the spending pattern prevents money from trickling down to all levels of the society and poverty develops. In short, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. To aggravate the problem, we find that the same knowledge which is now mandatory competes for our job. As we advance in mechanization and automation we have less need for human labour especially of the unskilled nature. Just take a look at construction sites now and compare it to 20 years ago here again less money trickles down to the poor.

It seemed to be a greater challenge to eradicate poverty than to build a space ship! We advance in technology but “the poor we have always with us.

This is because we do not understand that the individual and the private sector have a greater responsibility towards poverty eradication than the government. The economic principles of many of these small islands are so ambiguous that we are sinking our islands in more and more poverty rather than eradicating poverty. We love to make economic comparisons of countries and patronize their policies. What is good for St. Lucia does not mean that it is good for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The government needs to set the framework. The spending pattern of individuals will have a great say however, about whose hands money end up in companies need to be sensitive about the conditions existing in the societies they exist in and create means of employing all persons to an extent which will ensure that all persons receive at least basic necessities.

How many of us opt to establish a firm so as to employ the unskilled labourer in our community? Or a cottage industry which has a uniqueness to create a small additional income to dependent women who have something to spare?

I firmly believe the wealth of rich men is entrusted to him to be used for the benefit of society. The inability to or lack of concern for the poor generally results in such spending sprees, they spend more money to be rich while the poor don’t get enough.

As the poor get more they will purchase more and the economy will be vibrant thus allowing the rich to earn more, but they must get the procedure correct. Think first of the poor man then more will become rich.

Ariston Dennie