How Should We Put an End to Poverty and Is Feedburner Utter Crap?

Hello Folks,

Following on from my request yesterday that you ask me questions, here we are on Day 1 of my answers to your questions. If you have any more questions or things to say, leave me a comment below or email me at masmilele(at)thedisplacedafrican(dot)com

Btw, a lot of the post isn’t spellchecked

Thomas Johnson asks:

Here’s a question – In your opinion, what is the best thing we can do to help prevent poverty in the world?

I know it’s a complex issue but I’m keen to hear your thoughts on the matter.  I might put your answer on my website if thats ok.

My Answer:

Before I give my answer let me give my caveats:
1) I am far from an expert.
2) This answer is a mixture of intuition, reflection, all the various schools of thought that I have been exposed to over the course of my life as well as facts and figures (which have never been my strongest area)
3) I am just gonna vent it out uncensored



Alright, what is the best thing we can do to help prevent poverty in the world?

If I was to give a technical answer to your question, i.e. how can you and I best help prevent future poverty in the world, my answer would be:

Cyclical Culture of Consumption

If you haven’t watched it, please go and watch the Story of Stuff . In it, one of the key ideas is that the West, in particular America, post World War 2 has had policies which pretty much accelerate a linear, non-stop type of consumption. Not only that, but there is something which I believe is called planned obsolescence.

When these two things merge it results in people who strip the Earth, consume its resources, put nothing back into the source of life and then quickly run to consume the next thing.

In addition to that, I did a semester of Sustainability at college and one of the great ideas I got from that is that, in order for the whole world to live like the West does we would need 3 planets to accomodate all the linear consumption, I have since heard estimates of 5 and 7.


Don’t Know Why This Part Popped into My Head…..


We need to focus on renourishing the Earth and repairing the damage done. Far from being just something to do because it feels good, or is the right thing to do, or any airy fairy justifications, the way we are consuming is resulting in global warming which is resulting in polar ice caps melting which results in some islands being flooded, resulting in environmental refugees….where are they gonna go?

If we slow down our consumption, this prevents any more people having to live in poverty or losing their homes just so we can have the latest model fashion accessory without putting anything back into its source

The Above is a Terrible Answer, But its the First Thing that Came to My Head, Take 2

The best thing we can do is support people who are working towards a few things:
1) All the organizations standing up to the World Trade Organization to demand that trade be fair and that a world that claims to be capitalist actually lives by one of the cornerstone capitalist principles, free trade. Not free trade with subsidy and tarrif caveats.
2) All the poor people like the shack dwellers of South Africa who are fighting just for dignity and land.
3) Organizations like the World Social Forum where the poor get together to exchange ideas, recipes and map out the future.

We can also try to affect policy within Western countries and get rid of subsidies and tarrifs. Aid is a sick pathetic joke. Tell me the day that a compound interest loan, the humiliation of having people of another country be in charge of your destiny and shove their way of life and ideas down your throat is charity and I will show you the day that a shower curtain is the perfect fashion accesory for any season.

I think the key is to remember that its always been the opressed who have gotten themselves out of their mess. Let’s help them out once they get started, get out of their way when they don’t need us and try to stop people from gettting in their way.

Finally, as a species we need to raise our consciousness to a place where we can actually co-exist with each other, without always trying to dominate and control one another on the one hand and with all of us taking responsibility for the individual and collective good i.e. loving ourselves and loving our neighbour just as much and not only knowing that intellectually but making decisions daily that are guided by that principle.

If we don’t, then we’ll just continue the cycle of empires rising and falling, rising and falling, rising and falling as opposed to all our boats rising together. For the first time, almost every one in the world can watch the same thing at the same time via the Internet, TV, satellites, mobile phones etc etc, if they can’t watch it they’re probably close to someone who can. Maybe we can somehow take over these avenues and use them to raise the global consiousness otherwise it’ll just end up being:

Greece-Egypt-Rome-Britain-America-X

Also a terrible answer but it’ll do. As I said, not my forte, but I hope this served.

tracyjones asks:

I’ve read about feedburner not working and yet you use it, there are whole sites devoted to telling me it is a load of rubbish.  How come it works for some and not others?

My Answer:

For those who don’t know what Feedburner is, check out this page explaining what it is, check out the Feedburner site or subscribe to the blog via RSS to see it in action (the subtly of that plug has to be seen to be believed doesn’t it :P )

I can only speak from my experience as I have never conducted in depth investigation into Feedburner. Personally I have never ever heard people complain about Feedburner’s ability to get the job done and in fact I have heard it recommended quite a few times BUT Feedburner definitely has a problem as far as consistency is concerned.

There are many times during the course of the week that I won’t have access to my subscriber numbers and what was once a subscriber number turns into a 0. However, in terms of showing me raw traffic numbers, with the exception of the time when I was transferring and changing themes over, which is understandable,Feedburner has been great as far as showing me how many people have visited my site over the last few hours and days.

Personally I recommend that if you people are going to ask people subscribe to your blog via email or RSS then you use Feedburner. If you want an email newsletter, Aweber.

Hope this helps. Any other questions, do not hesitate to ask.

No Comments

  • By kelly, August 8, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

    Here’s to free trade! Although I don’t see that ever happening, it would be a step in the right direction.
    Actually that answer was quite good.

  • By Mwangi, August 10, 2008 @ 5:32 am

    @kelly: Why, thank you. Me thinks you and I would have done quite well on the same debate team.
    Yeah, if we want free and fair trade it’s going to be at the very least, a tedious uphill climb.

  • By Thomas Johnson, August 14, 2008 @ 12:58 pm

    @Mwangi I think you hit on some really important issues particularly in “take 2″.

    I’ve posted an article on my site with my thoughts on some of the issues raised http://ourdevelopment.org/2008/the-displaced-african-on-ending-poverty

  • By Mwangi, August 14, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

    @Thomas Johnson: I am glad I could be of service. It was amazing. I actually had soo many ways I could have answered that question. I think we can actually spend a week just blogging about ideas on how to do this because there are so many ways and so many angles the situation can be attacked from, poverty can be eradicated and wealth can be created.

Other Links to this Post

  1. The Displaced African on Ending Poverty : Our Development — August 14, 2008 @ 12:37 pm

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