Wall Street economics and Extreme Poverty Economics

At a time when the United Nations is seeking increased financial assistance from rich nations to help developing countries meet the faltering Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including a 50-percent reduction on extreme poverty and hunger by 2015, the current U.S. economic crisis and its predictably negative fallout overseas is expected to be a major setback.

Addressing delegates last week, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the current gloomy outlook threatens the well-being of billions of people, "none more so than the poorest of the poor. This only compounds the damage [already] being caused by much higher prices for food and fuel", he added.

Ban has called for 72 billion dollars per year in additional external financing to achieve the MDGs by 2015. As one Asian delegate put it: "The 72 billion is peanuts compared to the 700 billion the White House wants to dish out to save some of the Wall Street firms from going belly up. And the urgent needs of developing nations will now be the least of the priorities of the United States and other Western donors," he predicted.

"It is always the poor who pay the price for the unbridled greed and irresponsibility of the powerful," Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockman of Nicaragua, the newly-elected president of the General Assembly said, taking a passing shot at the staggering 700-billion-dollar bailout.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told delegates “There is something fundamentally wrong, when money seems to be abundant, but funds for investment in people seem so short in supply".

[Inter Press Service]

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