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we need to help stop poverty

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/5/2015 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 577 times Debate No: 76227
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (4)
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Poverty Poverty is hunger. Poverty is lack of shelter. Poverty is being sick and not being able to see a doctor. Poverty is not being able to go to school, not knowing how to read, not being able to speak properly. Poverty is not having a job, it is fear for the future, it is living from hand to mouth. Poverty is losing a child to illness brought about by unclean water. Poverty is powerlessness, lack of freedom. Poverty has many faces, changing from place and across time, and has been described in many ways. Most often poverty is situation people want to escape. So poverty is a call to action " for the poor and the wealthy alike " a call to change the world so that many more may have enough to eat, adequate shelter, access to education and protection from violence. Unfortunately, poverty is a hidden agenda. The voices of the poor are seldom heard. What makes me feel like writing about poverty is the unwillingness of our society to deal with this preventable problem. Another reason is that politicians who rule the country pretending that poverty is simply part of life " a force of nature " unstoppable and eternal. In fact what makes a good life? These are material and physical well-being, security, freedom of choice and action " the very things that bring joy to human existence. It is living healthy and peaceful lives in love with no hunger; no warring about the future of children that brings the principal pleasures of everyday life. Physical health, strength and appearance are of great importance to the poor. The body is poor people"s main asset, but one with no insurance. If it becomes infirm, hunger and destitution hover at the doorstep. Shortage of food and sickness not only cause pain, they weaken and devalue the asset, make a person highly vulnerable. Illness can plunge a household into destitution. Anguish and grief over watching loved ones die because of lack of money for health care is silent crisis of our generation.

No one deserves to drink dirty, contaminated water. Starve. Watch their family and friends die. What if it was you? would you want people to help you? Would you be grateful for even just a bucket of clean water, some food, shelter, and clothing? They don't ask for much so why can't we give it to them? because we're selfish. we would rather be on our phones, at the mall, with our friends, or at a restaurant, then help people that don't have that privilege. They CAN'T do it, and i'm sure if it was us that needed help, they would do it.


Even with some level of poverty present throughout history, humans have survived and flourished. There therefore cannot be a need to end poverty. Ending poverty, is instead, a deeply felt human desire. Ending poverty is a want not a need.

Poverty : Lack of access to necessities to survive and live in general dignity participating with the rest of humankind. People in poverty are unable to lead productive and healthy lives due to not having enough material or resources available to them.

Need : something you must have to live

Want : something you would like to have

A. There has always been some level of poverty present in humankind.
B. Despite some level of poverty being present humanity is more successful than ever before.
C. If A and B, there cannot therefore be a need to end poverty. Ending poverty is a want.

(A) There has always been some level of poverty present in humankind.

Arranged moving back in time I present sources showing poverty present from 1900 to now, in human societies. The timeline moves from present day backward.

Present Day- A data report by accounts for current estimated levels of poverty this year. Their info graphic is compelling in showing poverty exists today.[1] Additionally, I might add that it is highly likely, since we are debating the merits of ending poverty, poverty is a current present issue for humans today.

2000- Death rates due to poverty are found to be as significant as stroke and heart attack, accord to an epidemiological review, by Columbia University, NY, USA.[2]

1959- The US Census has estimated poverty rates, in The Untied States of America, dating back to 1959.[3]

1900- An estimated 40% of the US population is living below the poverty line in 1900.[4] (Scan to tables in the middle of this page, see definition for column H, and find last H recorded.)

1798 - "" "no possible form of society could prevent the almost constant action of misery upon a great part of mankind." For most countries, poverty was not even a problem; it was a plain, unchangeable fact." [5]

BCE- Christian texts have multiple places describing the prevalence of the impoverished. Some scripture quotes such as Matthew 26:11 (circa 70 to 110CE), as well as The Book of Deuteronomy 15:11, (circa 7th century BCE) are good examples. "A Puritans Mind" has a rather exhaustive list which shows poverty must have existed in these times. [6]

While not an exhaustive trip through human existence, I"m stopping my evidence line here, as sufficient. I believe this point to be irrefutable, sound, and factual.

(B) Despite some level of poverty being present humanity is more successful than ever before.

I define success in terms both biologic and as general human progress.

Biologic Success-

From best scientific evidence, and current demographic estimates, we have gone from beginning as a species to over 7 billion strong and growing.[7] Human distribution across Earth has grown from where we originated as a species, in Africa, to living in every biome of the world.[8] About 12,000 years ago we developed agriculture.[9] This began our journey toward moving away from subsistence living and put us on the road to modern human societies today. "Out of agriculture, cities and civilizations grew."[10]

Human Progress-

I"m sitting in a room heated by natural gas, lit by stable long lasting electric incandescent light, using radio waves to communicate with humans around the globe, via written language, on a machine which is able to copy, store, transform, and display huge amounts of data. While I"m doing this, an automated machine is sanitizing ceramic flatware and metal utensils that my family and I used to eat off of. I"m wearing combinations of synthetic and natural cloth which are: breathable, light weight, soft, and pleasingly colored. My immune system has been artificially armed against potential exotic as well as common and pervasive microscopic disease. Yes. I am very lucky to be able to partake in the majority of human advancement, but I"ve describe only a fraction of what humans have created and done for themselves.

All of these things have occurred with poverty present, and typically present in the very specific cultures and communities who helped make these advances for humanity.

Tying it together-

Even if over 3 billion people are living on less than $2.50 a day, the other 3 billion are living better. If you are in poverty in the United States, or other developed countries, you still benefit from many of the advancements I"ve described above.[11] And if lower poverty itself is a measure of success, that it is at historical lows now.[12]

Our biologic success and all human progress has occurred with various levels of poverty present. Human population growth, distribution, influence, and command over our own lives is greater than at any other point in human history.

(C) If A and B, there cannot therefore be a need to end poverty. Ending poverty is a want.

Poverty doesn"t threaten our species existence or remove all human ability to succeed and progress. So we, humanity, do not have a need to end poverty. No, instead, we have a great desire to end it. It is a want. I share in that desire as well. But, as long as there is a large enough group of humans able to live fully and well, for species viability, then poverty can remain within our species and does not need to be ended.

Total world population could descended into poverty, and live much as pre-historic man once did. Even then, humanity wouldn't have to end poverty. World population would crash, but humans have survived through population crashes before (the black plague, toba explosion).

Will I personally work to prevent myself from falling into poverty? Absolutely. Will I donate my time and resources to help other fellow humans who are less fortunate than I? Of course. Do we need to end poverty altogether? No. It might not even be possible to end poverty and remain what we understand to be human.


1. Poverty in Perspective: An info graphic from the 2015 DATA Report. Retrieved 6 June 2015.

2. Death by poverty?. Columbia University, Mammalian School of Public Health. 16 June 2011.

3. Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2009. US Census Bureau, 2009. September 2010.

4. Historical Statistics and Analysis on Unemployment, Poverty, Urbanization, etc., in the United States. 1996.

5. Poverty Not Always With Us The Economist. 1 June 2013.

6. The Early Church and ideas about Alms. A Puritans Mind. Retrieved 6 June 2015.

7. World Population. Wikipedia. Retrieved 6 June 2015

8. Journey of Mankind (Adapted from 'Out of Eden'/'The Real Eve"). Bradshaw Foundation. 2003.

9. Humans Change The World. Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 6 June 2015.

10. The Development of Agriculture. National Geographic. Retrieved 6 June 2015.

11. How Rich Are Poor People?. Slate. 14 September 2011.

12. Max Roser (2015). "World Poverty". Published online at Retrieved 6 June 2015.
Debate Round No. 1


espinosa5644 forfeited this round.


The opening pro argument/definition appears to be plagiarized from here:

Last round expired before my opponent could supply further argument. In the spirit of the debate, and to try and strengthen my own argument more, I"ll expose where I see one weaknesses in con and then counter.

Weakness: if poverty, as shown by con"s own sources, is life threatening, than that would by con"s own definition put stopping poverty in the classification of a "need".

Counter: I agree that stopping poverty is a need for those experiencing poverty itself. However, because the argument is framed as "we need" this pushes the defined group of people outside of those just affected by poverty. It would propose that we, as an aggregate, have that need. Per my line of argument I have show there to be no compelling need. Again, this is a want. One I also share.

I also would like to note that I had some poor editing here:
"" I present sources showing poverty present from 1900 to now, in human societies." That should have read, ""showing poverty present from current day to BCE."

In round three, if no further rebuttal or arguments are presented for pro, I"ll see if I can supply other interesting lines of argument con.
Debate Round No. 2


espinosa5644 forfeited this round.


I'd like to thank espinosa5644 for bringing this topic to debate. Please vote con.

Final thoughts:
I was thinking a bit more about what would be, perhaps, a more entertaining con argument. If I had to do this one over again, I think I would go less semantic, and instead argue that to truly end poverty we would actually no longer be human. Essentially I"d argue that to remove poverty, you would have to have extreme homogeneity and equality, a state that would render us something beyond humanity and be more awful than poverty itself. That argument is really complicated, philosophically tinged, and would probably loose. It would still be great fun.
Debate Round No. 3
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Rew 1 year ago
Thanks for the welcome Ragnar! :)
Posted by Ragnar 1 year ago
Welcome to the site, and good luck.
Posted by espinosa5644 1 year ago
go ahead i think it would be a great challenge
Posted by Rew 1 year ago
I think this needs a little more framing:

I currently read it as:

" Humans need to actively work to end poverty

" Poverty : defined as lack of access to necessities to survive and live in general dignity participating with the rest of humankind. People in poverty are unable to lead productive and healthy lives due to not having enough material or resources available to them.

If that works for you I'd like to give this a try. I think I can argue a good con.
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