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Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 254
Uli Locher

Poverty, Famine, and Diseases of Famine Sept.18.12 - Basic measure of poverty: life expectancy Economic aspects of poverty: - Unprecedented poverty - First world countries have reached a high level of well-being (education, life expectancy, etc.) - Industrial revolution caused the increase in well-being - Cheap access to resources - Productivity and efficiency gains are major in all aspects - Long-century of growth 1820-1950 that affected many parts of the world - 1960-2010 another period of growth - Economic growth, measured by income per capita - Paralleled by other aspects of socio-economic characteristics (summarized in the HDI and the human development report) - Undeniable success hides certain issues: inequality, absolute gap between rich and poor countries is widening - The poor have grown to be a little less poor and the rich have become much richer over the last few decades - The relative gap: proportion of poor in relation to rich, widening - Few countries will be able to close this gap at some time - Exporting products in poorer countries has become very popular (i.e. wheat production and consumption) but can be a poor competitor in comparison to rich countries (i.e. Canada’s wheat production) - Technological changes has multiplier effects in rich countries - The money that’s being made from technology goes back to rich countries - Consequences of inequalities: emigration of educated people to rich countries, shortage of qualified labor in poor countries, migration would reduce the inequality (remove certain resources and the others become more valuable), mass of unemployed and angry people in the poor countries (revolts?) - Present inequalities using Lorenz curve and gini coefficient (high gini value = high inequality) - GDP measured by square m Inequalities Diseases of poverty - Malnutrition - Widespread scarcity of food - Aids - Malaria - Tuberculosis - Measles - Pneumonia - Cholera - These are observed in poor countries more than rich ones - Aids: 95% of cases are in poor countries - Pneumonia: 98% of cases are in poor countries - Within countries there is a replication of the same trends - Poor countries are more susceptible to these diseases than rich countries; they are more exposed to infectious diseases (crowding, lack of healthcare, etc.) - Individual factors: malnutrition - Structural factors - Diseases make poverty even worse - Many African teachers have aids, lack of teachers so there are fewer educated kids, direct impact on economic levels, feedback loop (positive feedback) - Fewer services offered so the disease levels increase as well - Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe: control of water was taken over by the government, new centralized control/provision, control taken away from local councils who were against the central government, political decision, punished the areas that voted for the opposition - Politics and health go together, provision of services is subject to political decisions (i.e. food security and vaccinations can be turned on or off by centralized governments) - Governments essentially decide who gets to live and die - Political opportunities to fight diseases: selective biomedical interventions (can be successful, intervention in sub-Saharan Africa to reduce malaria was successful and cut in half, continuing protection after requires structural change, not going to forever have the support and money from foreigners, interventions are quite alien to the country so not always supported, vaccinations may delay immunity, interventions may do more harm than good if they aren’t supported after by structural changes) or decentralized community based alternatives to have a pr
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