Poverty has been an issue since the beginning of mankind. However, many things have been done to reduce it globally, with technology being at the forefront. The United Nations defines poverty as a lack of basic capacity to participate effectively in society including not having enough to feed or clothe oneself. We still have a long way to go to eradicate poverty, but in this article, we discuss how technology is doing that.
The biggest issue facing most impoverished people around the world is distribution and access. With the most basic need – food, the problem is not production, but distribution. The world produces more than enough food than it needs, and wastes an awful lot. Many companies are currently working on technologies to reduce food waste such as the Compass Group, City Harvest and AgriMax. In the case of City Harvest, the company aims to feed New York’s poor, redistributing food waste and providing educational programs.
A major piece of technology that has connected the world is that of a Smartphone. Individuals across the globe can interact and communicate with one another through the click of a button. With the ascension of the App economy, everyone has access to products and services at their fingertips. Consequently, this is spurring economic growth internationally, especially in the eCommerce and content creation space.
With the invention of the Smartphone, and to some extent the PC before it, many aspects of our lives are now online. Access to online banking saves a lot of time and provides more opportunities than the traditional methods before. Entertainment has been revolutionized, with companies like Netflix streaming content online for a small monthly fee. Even traditional land-based options such as playing at a casino are more convenient online. Players can now enjoy casino games from the comfort of their own homes. There are comparison portals that cover the different variations of casinos and their available games, recommend secure operators, and even check for the most generous bonuses. With a land-based casino, all these options are limited.
The future of distribution looks rosy, especially with new technologies on the rise such as Blockchain. The tech is the cornerstone of Web3 technology, which is a more decentralized version of the internet. Blockchain hopes to be more inclusive in a vast array of industries, of which finance is the most important. The most famous and first one is Bitcoin, which allows users to pay for anything, anywhere without the need for a third party. In the developing world, many people lack banking services, and through Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, individuals can have access to a bank account. With Smart Contracts and Decentralized Finance (DeFi), individuals have access to financial products that are normally very exclusive. An example of this would be exchanges, clearinghouses, and insurance products.
Education is very important when it comes to tackling poverty. Currently, there are programs around the world that assist in literacy for financial empowerment. Through learning how to plan finances, many people will be lifted out of poverty. In addition to learning about money, the internet provides ubiquitous resources for learning new skills which in many cases can be free.
With social media, starting an online business with $0 has never been easier. By creating a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter account, gives you access to a global audience to market your product or service. Communication has been rapidly improved through technology, with a plethora of messaging apps available to speak with clients.
COVID 19 has accelerated working from home, and during the year of lockdowns, it proved successful. Many people now are opting to freelance, using their skills to earn money and working with multiple clients. As the world moves forward, the future is putting more control into the hands of the individual as opposed to companies. The digital space is just in its infancy, with India on track to have a $1trn digital economy in 5 years.
The planet is the most connected it has ever been, with distribution channels being the most sophisticated ever. With the ascent of new technologies such as blockchain and AI, they will assist in reducing poverty and will hopefully allow everyone to chase their dreams.