My writing covers a wide array of subjects including but not limited to: religion, language learning, health, philosophy and legal issues.
There are many problems in the world, and here are what I personally deem to be the five worst ones.
Top Five Global Issues
- Wealth Inequality
The purpose of this article is to inform the public about these problems using statistics and facts to explain how complicated they are.
1. Wealth Inequality
Arguably the largest problem in the world at the moment is wealth inequality across the world.
- 71% 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; it applies to whole countries as well.
- The GDP per capita of Luxembourg (the highest) was $113,197
- The GDP per capita's of South Sudan was all just $275!
Note: GDP per capita is the total amount of money a country has from its gross product (what it 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 places.
Graph: Global Income and Poverty Lines
Famine is the term used to describe an extreme shortage of food. In a world of such huge wealth imbalances, as mentioned earlier, 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:
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- Around 690 million 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, 3.1 million of whom are children.
At the same time the following is also true:
- 650 million people 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 overeat. Were wealth and food spread out in only slightly different ways, worldwide 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 starving people, developed countries waste a considerable amount of food.
- 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 estimated $43 billion of food waste.
- If food reaching supermarkets, restaurants, and cafeterias but getting wasted is added to the household figure, that waste 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, 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 150 million 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 the reasonable standard of having electricity, running water, central heating, and internet connection is factored in, the number of people who live in squalid conditions that are not conducive to bettering themselves or their society is likely to be in the billions. As such, this is one of the top five main problems the world needs to prioritize addressing.
As you can see from the table below, the top 10 most 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.
1.5 million children die from preventable diseases every year.
Top 10 Deadly Diseases
|Disease||Annual Mortality Rate||Annual Infection Rate|
Lower Respiratory Infections
1 million +
5. Wars and Anthropogenic (Human-Caused) Disasters
Wars and deadly regimes are often a result of human vices such as greed, ignorance, and paranoia.
Among the most notable wars are:
- The 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) 
- World War 1 (WWI): ~15 million deaths 
- Russian Civil War: ~ 9 million deaths 
- Chinese Civil War: ~ 2.5 million deaths 
All discrimination such as racism, sexism, ageism and intolerance to different sexualities and disabilities should also be mentioned when referring to global issues. However, these things are hard to quantify and prove, although many readers are aware that they exist. Reliable data sources about their prevalence in the past are hard to come by.
Human vices such as laziness, selfishness, ignorance, and hatred are also worth mentioning, but again are difficult to quantify and predict. Their consequences however—such as unemployment, crime and wealth inequality—are easier to deal with. Wealth inequality is the most significant one in my opinion, as most of the other problems are a result of it.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.