Lesson 4: Poverty: A historical context, continued

Lesson 4: Poverty: A historical context, continued

By the middle of the 19th century we see a sustained movement out of poverty for those parts of the world that were industrializing, mostly in Europe. Europe had become the center of accumulation of wealth and power, with the rest of the world progressively being submitted to its rule. The just ending slave trade had devastated Africa, and the Spanish colonization of South America had left its native population barely clinging to survival. The whole of the European imperial project in economic terms creates a vast amount of the world’s poor and is the origin of the notion of the third world. These 3rd world locations were often exploited by wealthy capitalists for their natural resources, which were then shipped off to other countries; this exploitation left in its wake intense poverty, lack of infrastructure, and massive disease burden for the native populations.
Gradually industrialization began springing up in the late 19th in other parts of the world. You see the same things you saw in Europe now in India, China, and Latin America. There is a rise in science and technology, which allows for increased agricultural productivity. With the new form of economy comes a new level of inequality never before witnessed. Fewer people are starving and yet there is still a massive underclass serving the rich, and there is still rampant poverty.

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