Poverty depends on primarily on who your parents are. If you are the son or daughter of rich parents, childhood can be pleasant with luxuries and even servants. If you are born into poverty, but live in a rural area where there is plenty to eat, life will still be good, but there likely won’t be books, television and little education. If you live in a slum life can be horrible. It would be worse even than in slums of the most industrialized nations. This can be seen in the slums of Brazil and even more pronounced in Rio de Janeiro.
In slums not enough food can be taken for granted along with broken homes, alcoholism, drug abuse, and high crime rates. These are things that one would expect from more industrialized nations, but in Brazilian slums also known as favela most would be shocked at the brutal conditions children and adults are enduring in these slums. Poverty is so extreme that children and adults swarm over garbage dumps to try and find enough decaying food just to keep them alive. You might be surprised to discover that in Brazil the owners of these dumps hire armed guards to keep the poor out to sell this garbage as food for pigs.
Another shocking fact is that poor children are systematically killed. Each year, the Brazilian police and death squads murder about 2,000 children. Some associations of shop owners even hire hit men and auction designated victims off to the lowest bidder. The going rate is half a month’s salary. Life is cheap in the poor nations but to understand this you would have to know that Brazil’s history is very violent. Brazil also has a high rate of poverty, only a tiny middle class, and is controlled by a small group of families who, under a picture of democracy makes the nations decisions.
Large groups of homeless children, with no school or jobs, roam the streets. To survive these street children wash windshields, shine shoes, beg, steal and deal in drugs. These children are part of the “dangerous classes” as they are known, and threaten the status quo (Economist, 2003). The respectable classes see these children as nothing but trouble. They hurt business, because customers feel intimidated when they see a group of begging children surrounding a store front. Some shoplift and others try to sell items in competition with the stores.
With no social institutions to care for these children one solution is to kill them. Murder to them sends a clear message and especially if it is accompanied by ritual torture such as pulling out the eyes, ripping open the chest, cutting off the genitals, raping the girls, and burning the victims body (Rohwer, 1991). No one on the inside sees that Brazil’s society is falling apart. In the past five years the economy of Brazil is falling apart. “In these five years Brazil has had ten finance ministers, ten central bank governors, five doses of economic shock therapy and four currencies” (Rohwer, 1991).
The social structure of this country has taken the brunt of this problem. Corruption undermines the society and corruption is Brazil is a huge problem. The unequal dispersion of money is a factor that has led Brazil in the distinction of being the poorest nation on earth. One of most famous is the pension system in Brazil. Pensions for public workers are huge even the non public worker enjoy a newly designed pension system that many of the poor cannot attain. Schools and training centers are cash only learning institutes (Rohwer, 1991).
Reforms on these issues have been tried but have not yet been implemented and really don’t seem to be worked into the system. With these reforms there is to be more money flowing into the social system to relieve some of the terrible poverty the world sees. The tax burden and public debt are really high and economic growth, which there is some beginning to show, a redistribution of existing spending towards those who need it most is needed, but far in the making. The government does say it is upgrading to include income/support programs for the poor; they have begun a program for them to use a card that gives families money to buy food.
The central problem would be to fix the social class division and the economy of Brazil. Outside intervention is needed to give the government the correct direction that is needed to slow down and eliminate poverty across Brazil and even in Rio de Janeiro a city most famous for its slums and unequal distribution of wealth (Economist, 1999).
Works Cited: “Defeats and Victories in Brazil’s war on Poverty. ” Economist 9 Oct. 1999: 353 (8140). “Targeting the Poor. ” Economist 16 Aug. 2003: 368(8337). Rohwer, J. “The Blessed and the Cursed. ” Economist 7 Dec. 1991: 321(7736).