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The 5 Main Problems in the World

Important

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 graph showing important data of global incomes
A graph showing important data of global incomes

A Too True Cartoon

The wealth imbalance in the world means some people are making a lot of money at the expense of others.
The wealth imbalance in the world means some people are making a lot of money at the expense of others.

1. Wealth Imbalance

Arguably the largest problem in the world at the moment is the wealth imbalance across the globe.

In 2005

  • 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:

In 2010

  • 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 it's gross product (what it does/makes in a year) divided by the population.

As you can see, the difference in income also widely varies between countries. So depending on which part of the World you are born in, you will earn a lot more or a lot less than people born in other parts.

2. Famine

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 micronutrient deficiency (not enough vitamins and minerals)
  • Over 9 million people die every year because of hunger and malnutrition. 5 million are children.

But at the same time:

  • "1.2 billion suffer from obesity (excess of fats and salt, often accompanied by deficiency of vitamins and minerals);"

Thus, famine can be seen as one of the most unfair aspects of human life. It is not by choice that people starve. But it is by choice that people over-eat. If the wealth & food was spread out equally, it could be argued that there would be no more famine.

To add salt to the wounds of starving people, the people of developed countries actually waste a considerable amount of food. This of course, could have been used to feed the hungry and prevent suffering.
Here are the facts:

  • In the United Kingdom 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 even gets eaten
  • 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 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.
  • The direct medical cost of hunger and malnutrition is around $30 billion each year.

Some would argue that putting money into starving countries could even be an investment as the country will become more prosperous and be able to do trade with everyone else (similar to the reasons of why stronger EU countries are bailing out the weaker economies in the EU currently - maintaining trade)


3. Homelessness

it is estimated that about 100,000,000 people are homeless in the world.

You might say that it's a small amount compared to the 7 billion people that exist. But consider the fact that this is just homeless. This doesn't include people living in slums and takes no account for how they are living, food, water and wealth are not included. These people do not even have shelter from the weather.

4. Disease

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 do the same.

Every day 40,000 children die from preventable diseases.

4. The Top 10 Deadly Diseases

Disease
Annual Mortality Rate
Annual Infection Rate
Lower Respiratory Infections
4 million
-
HIV/AIDS
3 million
39.4 million
Malaria
1 million
300-515 million
Diarrhea
2.2 million
4 billion
Tuberculosis
2 million
8 million
Measles
530,000
30 million
Whooping Cough
200,000-300,000
20-40 million
Tetanus
214,000
500,000
Meningitis
174,000
1 million +
Syphilis
157,000
12.2 million
Sources : http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0933314.html http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/index.html
Change is necessary.
Change is necessary.

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) [1945]
  • First World War (WWI) ~15 million deaths [1918]
  • Russian Civil War ~9 million deaths [1922]
  • Chinese Civil War ~2.5 million deaths [1949]

    Key: [the end of the war] ~Approximate death toll

"Honourable" Mentions?

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 however are difficult to quantify and predict. Their consequences however, such as unemployment, crime and wealth imbalances are easier to deal with. Wealth imbalances being the most significant one out of them in my opinion, as most problems arise from it in the first place.

Conclusion

To conclude, I believe that the 4 largest problem that face humanity are:

  1. Wealth Imbalances
  2. Famine
  3. Homelessness
  4. Disease
  5. 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.

More by this Author


Comments 43 comments

Steve Orion profile image

Steve Orion 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

I agree! I'd add something of war or violence to that list, but you covered most of what I'd say. Maybe ignorance as a sixth factor or the lack of caring about other people. Good Hub!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

Thank you Steve! I will get on adding War as a 5th point for sure, It should definitely be one!

As for ignorance, I think I will add it in with the "honourable mentions sections" under "human vices". Of course it is a huge thing wrong with the world and we can see it daily, but how I can prove that it exists is another question indeed, I guess I'm ignorant about ignorance! Things that lead to ignorance however, such as education standards I could possibly do though.. Something to consider for me! Thank you!


CloudExplorer profile image

CloudExplorer 5 years ago from New York City

Very unique way to present some of your content and subject matter. I like this hub almost better than your Hubnugget one, nice job.

Voted up as awesome, beautiful for visual effects & funny as well. I like the imagery too, cool stuff!


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 5 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much Cloud Explorer and I'm very very glad to hear that you like the way it is presented. I'm also very thankful for your very kind fan mail :) If you have any thoughts on how to improve the content or presentation in the future, please feel free to comment :)

Have a nice day and thank you for your warm welcome :)

Philanthropy,


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Wow this is depressing, but so true. It's great that you are bringing this to light. I agree with your assessment. I think I would add the damage we are doing to the environment, change all the numbers to 6!


msorensson profile image

msorensson 4 years ago

You put it together very well.Thank you.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Thank you very much :)


Doc Snow profile image

Doc Snow 4 years ago from Atlanta metropolitan area, GA, USA

A good Hub--thanks!

A couple of nits--and feel free to delete this comment, if you like--but the first sentence should be updated to accord with the "5" items of the Hub title. And you've inadvertently given Lichtenstein as example twice, contradictorily--as both highest and lowest GDP. Obviously just a cut-and-paste error, but it distracts from your point.

And your points are well-made! Thanks again.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Ah hah thank you very much Doc Snow, you're right, this hub needed re-working! I'll have a good look and revisit of it, thank you for taking the time, and you're right, it really does take away from the content when the grammar/continuity is wrong!


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

Wealth imbalance is only a problem for those who would lead others into socialism. Evil Rich People are an easy scapegoat.


Steve Orion profile image

Steve Orion 4 years ago from Tampa, Florida

@nicomp

You'd say that wealth imbalance in the world isn't a problem? Even after reading the #1 point of the Hub? And how is being concerned about the blatant wealth imbalance we witness scapegoating "Evil Rich People?"


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

No, wealth imbalance not a problem. Poverty is a problem, but someone else being rich is not a problem.

That's like saying health imbalance is a problem. Do you blame healthy people for illness endured by other people?

When NOLA flooded, did you blame the people that lived above sea level?

Do you blame the fit people for the obese people?


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

Wealth imbalance is a problem when it is taken to the extreme of one having not enough food to sustain oneself, when another could easily have provided sustenance at no cost to his own living standard.

It is narrow minded to suggest that there is an analogy between the disparity between money and the disparity between a person's health or fitness.

This is because there is only a finite quantity of money at any one given time that can be shared between a finite number of people, and in each case, the money that one has is inversely proportional to the money that others have and can have, this is not true for fitness.

One person being fitter than another has absolutely no effect on the extent to which another can be fit.

One person being richer than another has absolutely great effects on the extent to which another person can be rich.

Your argument is fallacious.


Steve Orion profile image

Steve Orion 4 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Well said, Philanthropy. My thoughts exactly.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

Class warfare. Sigh!

"This is because there is only a finite quantity of money at any one given time that can be shared between a finite number of people,"

Wealth is created, not confiscated (unless you're the government). Ignoring inheritance for a moment, the free market rewards innovation: people get rich by providing goods and services that other people are willing to purchase.

"the money that one has is inversely proportional to the money that others have and can have, this is not true for fitness."

There is no ratio between the money I have and the money you have. The two quantities do not correlate. If I get some money today, you will not necessarily lose some money today.

"One person being richer than another has absolutely great effects on the extent to which another person can be rich."

The only people who give away a lot of money are the people who have a lot of money.

By the way, have you ever asked a poor person for a job?


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

Steve Orion wrote:

"You'd say that wealth imbalance in the world isn't a problem? Even after reading the #1 point of the Hub? And how is being concerned about the blatant wealth imbalance we witness scapegoating "Evil Rich People?"

@Steve Orion:

Wealth imbalance is not the issue. It never has been the issue. The issue is the plight of the extremely poor. The issue is not that someone else is richer than they are.

By framing the issue as "wealth imbalance" we create a convenient villain. We get to blame a class of people. It's mindless and specious, but unfortunately it works because many people want to blame someone for their own problems.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

"There is no ratio between the money I have and the money you have. The two quantities do not correlate"

If you have 100% of the worlds funds, then I have 0%. There is a finite amount of money, therefore there is clear correlation.

"If I get some money today, you will not necessarily lose some money today" By getting some money today, you limit the total that I am able to acquire, if in a micro economy that means that there is not enough for me to buy food, I will die. Take this to lesser extremes and you see Inequality at its finest.

"By framing the issue as "wealth imbalance" we create a convenient villain. It's mindless and specious." That is utmostly ridiculous. The villain who has copious amounts of money to spare and shares not his wealth with his own greed in mind, leaving many to die and more to suffer, has created himself.

This is a question of ideology: should we share the finite resources that we have amongst humankind so that everyone is able to live comfortably, or should we let 1% of our population own 99% of the wealth and let 99% of humankind rot in the poverty that has been imposed on them?

The answer is obvious.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

"If you have 100% of the worlds funds, then I have 0%. There is a finite amount of money, therefore there is clear correlation."

No one has 100% of the world's funds. By definition that's impossible. Everyone spends money, that's the purpose of money. If it doesn't change hands it's not money.

"By getting some money today, you limit the total that I am able to acquire, if in a micro economy that means that there is not enough for me to buy food, I will die. "

The world is not a micro economy. You don't seem to get that.

"This is a question of ideology: should we share the finite resources that we have amongst humankind so that everyone is able to live comfortably, or should we let 1% of our population own 99% of the wealth and let 99% of humankind rot in the poverty that has been imposed on them?"

Should we use apples for car tires? Your premise makes about as much sense. I'd respect your position if you'd be honest. Use the word 'redistribute' rather than 'share.' That's obviously what you mean.

In some countries you could be fabulously wealthy and still starve because the government and the UN have munged the economy so badly that there's no food to be had at any price.

According to the CIA World Factbook, The 2010 World GDP is about 7.8 trillion USD. The per capita GDP works out to about 11,800 USD. By your logic, everyone in the world should get $11,800 a year. The following year, expect that amount to drop by an order of magnitude when most people realize they no longer have any incentive to better themselves. Confiscation and redistribution has been tried: it doesn't work.

Why become a doctor if you'll make the same salary as a professional complainer? Where's the motivation?


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

"No one has 100% of the world's funds. By definition that's impossible. Everyone spends money, that's the purpose of money. If it doesn't change hands it's not money."

By definition that's completely possible. Nowhere in the definition of money does it necessitate exchange, money is merely a medium of exchange. You may have all of every currency, it just puts everyone on having 0 to exchange.

"The world is not a micro economy. You don't seem to get that." Macro economy is compiled of micro economies. You don't seem to get that.

What matters to people's lives is micro economy.

"the UN have munged the economy so badly that there's no food to be had at any price." That is irrelevant in its entirety. There is no county where food cannot be bought at any price at all.

You've also committed a fallacy in narrowing World Problems into Country Problems. There is enough food to sustain the world's population, therefore it is more moral to share or 'redistribute' (in this case exact synonyms - what's your problem?) the food than not to.

"Confiscation and redistribution has been tried: it doesn't work." Name me anything that has ever worked?

Ameliorating the wealth imbalance is not talking about paying everyone equally, it is talking about acquiring the fairest payment possible.

It is not talking about paying Doctors the same as Binmen, it is talking about paying people what they deserve for their efforts. Because we cannot yet accurately quantify cognitive strain, this problem of payment will remain.

However, you would be an utter fool if you would pretend that someone who has by utter chance made a fortune and taken advantage of this wealth to create more for himself and take away that of the other, more hard working, citizens around him is fair.

When all men are born equal, is it fair for 1% of mankind to own 95% of its wealth?


psychicdog.net profile image

psychicdog.net 4 years ago

Thanks Philanthropy but I have to say this hub is a little misguided. Wealthy people don't TAKE wealth away from others they actually create MORE for others - more disposable income, more charity, more fun and frivolity when their money goes around. The flow on effects of wealth are far greater than criticizing or taxing it. Rich people and the incentive to get rich creates better lives for everyone. Don't knock it! because more money goes around and more and so on - the harder we make it for people to get rich and dispose of their income (read: spend it on others trying to do the same) the harder we actually make it for ourselves and everyone else. Think of it in terms of spirals - one downwards one upwards - when wealth and spending goes down it sets a downwards spiral - when it goes up it sets an upwards spiral.


Yonder Moon 4 years ago

People really ought to read real news on issues such as those outlined in this article..sadly many people are far more interested in celebrity gossip and know far more of Cheryl Cole's love life than about the extent of people's suffering on a global scale.


Noah 4 years ago

rock dus


Noah 4 years ago

These problems are making this world fall apart


Noah 4 years ago

These 5 problems are making this planet fall apart.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 4 years ago from London Author

I'm glad you agree Noah, the more people agree the sooner we can do something about it.


jcales profile image

jcales 3 years ago

with the wealth imbalances continual increase the other 4 issues will increase as well. I know there are more bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

I agree Jcales, though we don't necessarily need equal wealth distribution for the rich to provide just enough money so that everyone would have housing and food.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! :)


Anna Sternfeldt profile image

Anna Sternfeldt 3 years ago from Svenljunga, Sweden

Much has been said, so I will not add anymore to the discussion except saying that it is great subject that we need to discuss. We neet to put it on the table again and again, as it is a shame on humanity having all the resources to provide food for all people and not doing it. It should be forbidden for some people to own billions while others are starving.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

I agree wholeheartedly Anna, this is really an undervalued topic of conversation!


jainismus profile image

jainismus 3 years ago from Pune, India

Great analysis of world problems.


Davidwork 3 years ago

Great hub. You've analysed humankinds' problems quite rationally.

I've just published a hub about the future of humankind, and I am also writing a book about it.

I believe that our future is going to be a positive one; I believe that as we become more mature COLLECTIVELY, as an entire species, we will solve all of these problems, because nearly all human suffering is self inflicted; but it will take time, I think at least 200 years.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

2,3 and 4 are results of number 1.

Non curable diseases should be separated from those that have cures but people lack the economics to get the remedies.

As for wars, people haven't changed since recorded history, so there is no solution for wars.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

@Jainismus, thank you for your support :)

@David Work, thank you I will check out your hub, best of luck on your book!

@Ratatoesk, I would be very interested in understanding what exactly you meant by what you said - I don't want to go into something that you didn't ever say.

@Ib Radmasters,

[2,3 and 4 are results of number 1.]

Indeed you could say that number 5 is also a result of number 1, or a great contributor.

You'll have to forgive me for not replying as much as you would like me to, it's been awfully hectic recently.

I appreciate that you give insightful and often debatable comments so I hope that you can appreciate that they take more than the off-hand remark to adequately reply to.

Perhaps write your views in succinct hubs for others to appreciate and add to.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Philanthropy2012

"Perhaps write your views in succinct hubs for others to appreciate and add to."

????????


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

By this I mean maybe you should write hubs about the things you post to me.


ib radmasters profile image

ib radmasters 3 years ago from Southern California

Philantrhopy2012

I have written 133 hubs, but that is not your point.

My view for this hub was terse and to the point, there is no reason to write a hub on this subject.

If you want to say something about the content of my views that is one thing, but I suspect you are making passive aggressive sounds about me personally.


PaoloJpm profile image

PaoloJpm 3 years ago from Philippine

Great hub! the wealth imbalance really attracts my attention. Some are truly lucky but some who are not suffers that reflects the problem in the world itself


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

@Ib Radmasters,

Not at all, I was referring to the fact that you can write about how " people haven't changed since recorded history" and your idea about why physics cannot correctly handle light.

I was just pointing out that these are interesting topics that others can input to ;)

There's rarely any need for passive aggression in this world, if I wanted to offend you it would be clear as day - don't be so sensitive!

@PaoloKpm,

Thanks a lot! Hopefully with a strong collective consciousness we can work against disparity.


PaoloJpm profile image

PaoloJpm 3 years ago from Philippine

absolutely. we just need to be more educated of all things and work together against it


Reuche12 3 years ago

Philanthropy2012 - much appreciate this hub - brief but informative, effective presentation of stats and clear input of facts without any sentimental 'varnish' - it got me thinking even more about a lot of things in this world! Look forward to reading more from you. Respect and thanks.


someonewhoknows profile image

someonewhoknows 3 years ago from south and west of canada,north of ohio

We should think of the world in terms that reflect our thoughts about our own individual countries problems with similar issues concerning income disparity , food distribution , health issues and human rights issues.War involves all the above.


Philanthropy2012 profile image

Philanthropy2012 3 years ago from London Author

Thank you everyone who commented! Glad to see people thinking about the state of our world. People in hundreds of years will be judging us harshly because our time period will sculpt so many later ones.

Philanthropy


Aqbhudson 2 years ago

Good job, to the point, I agree. Now, what can we do about it?

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