The 5 Main Problems in the World
There are many things wrong with the world, and here are what I personally deem to be the 5 worst ones. The purpose of this hub is to inform people of these problems, using statistics and facts, and explaining where it is complicated.
Watch out for my next hub which will address the best solutions to these issues.
Global Income and Poverty Lines - Graph
A Too True Cartoon
1. Wealth Imbalance
Arguably the largest problem in the world at the moment is the wealth imbalance across the globe.
- 80% of the world population was earning under $10 a day ($3,650 per year!)
- 80% of the world population lived in countries where differences between incomes are getting larger.
- The poorest 40% of the world population accounted for just 5% of global income.
- The richest 20% accounted for 75% of the global income.
This does not just account for people however:
- The GDP per Capita of Liechtenstein (the highest) was $108,952
- The GDP per Capita's of Somalia, The Democratic Republic of Congo, and Burundi (joint lowest) were all just $200!.
Note: GDP per capita is the total amount of money a country has from its gross product (what it does/makes in a year) divided by the population.
The difference in income varies immensely between countries, and thus depending on which part of the world you are born in, you will either earn a lot more or a lot less (for the same skills and work put in) than people born in other parts.
Famine is the term given to an extreme shortage of food. In a world of such huge wealth imbalances as mentioned in #1, it would only be expected that there would also be a huge food imbalance too.
The extent of famine is much larger than most people expect:
- Around 1.2 billion people suffer from hunger (deficiency of calories and protein);
- Between 2 and 3.5 billion people have micro-nutrient deficiency (not enough vitamins and minerals).
- Over 9 million people die every year because of hunger and malnutrition, 5 million of whom are children.
At the same time the following is also true:
- "1.2 billion suffer from obesity (excess of fats and salt, often accompanied by deficiency of vitamins and minerals);"
Famine can be seen as one of the most unfair aspects of human life. It is not by choice that people starve, though it is by choice that people over-eat. Were wealth and food spread out in only slightly different ways, world-wide famine could be eradicated. Whether the cause of this tragic circumstance is international politics, the concept of state sovereignty, or extreme capitalism, it is hard to argue that the consequential pervasive famine is not one of the main world problems burdening us today.
To add salt to the wounds of the starving people, the people of developed countries actually waste a considerable amount of food.
Here are the facts:
- In the United Kingdom it is estimated that 30-40% of all foods are never eaten.
- In the last 10 years the amount of food British people threw away went up by 15%. Overall, £20 billion ($38 billion) worth of food is thrown away each year.
- In the USA 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets sold.
- Of the food that does eventually reach households, 14% is wasted, resulting in an est. $43 billion wastage.
- If food reaching supermarkets, restaurants and cafeterias but getting wasted is added to the household figure, that wastage goes up to 27%.
- In some parts of Africa a quarter or more of the crops go bad before they can be eaten. High losses in developing nations can be due to a lack of technology, infrastructure, insect infestations, microbial growth, damage and high temperatures and humidity.
- To make things even worse, the direct medical cost of hunger and malnutrition is around $30 billion each year.
Some argue that pouring money into starving countries could even be an investment as those countries will become more prosperous and be able to produce more goods and then participate more actively in global trade. It is on this basis that EU countries with stronger economies like Germany have bailed out weaker economies such as that of Greece - in the end a strong Greece means a stronger Germany.
3. Homelessness and Squalid Living
It is estimated that about 100,000,000 people are homeless in the world.
One might say that this is actually a small amount compared to the 7 billion people that exist, but consider the fact that this is just homelessness. This takes no account of how they are living, the millions of people living in slums for example are not homeless but nevertheless are forced to suffer in much the same way.
Once a reasonable standard of having electricity, running water, central heating and an internet connection is factored in, the number of people who live in squalid conditions not conducive to bettering themselves or their society is likely to be in the billions. As such, this is a top 5 main problem the world needs to be prioritising.
As you can see from the table below, just the top 10 deadly diseases cause 13.5 million deaths per year. It should be noted that diseases such as malaria have been eradicated from wealthy countries such as the USA. These diseases still manage to plague many nations, however, who have not the resources (vaccinations, insecticides, medicines and nets) to follow suit.
4. The Top 10 Deadly Diseases
Annual Mortality Rate
Annual Infection Rate
Lower Respiratory Infections
1 million +
5. Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters (human caused disasters)
Wars and life costing regimes are often a result of human vices such as selfishness, ignorance and paranoia.
The most notable wars are :
- An Lushan Rebellion ~ 36 million deaths (15.3% of the then world population!) [763 CE]
- World War 2 (WWII) ~60 million deaths (roughly 2.5% of the world population) 
- First World War (WWI) ~15 million deaths 
- Russian Civil War ~9 million deaths 
- Chinese Civil War ~2.5 million deaths 
Key: [the end of the war] ~Approximate death toll
All discrimination such as racism, sexism, ageism and intolerance to differing sexualities and disabilities should also be mentioned when referring to problems with the world. However, these things are hard to quantify and prove although many readers will be aware that they do exist. Reliable data sources of their prevalence in the past are also hard to come by.
Human Vices such as laziness, selfishness, ignorance and hatred are also worth mentioning but are difficult to quantify and predict. Their consequences however, such as unemployment, crime and wealth imbalances are easier to deal with. Wealth imbalance is the most significant one out of them in my opinion, as most problems arise from it in the first place.
To conclude, I believe that the 5 largest problem that face humanity are:
- Wealth Imbalances
- War & Anthropogenic Disasters
This is a work in progress, and as time does so, I will be adding more to the list as well as make changes that the commentators see fit.
Thank you for your time.