Saturday, 20 July 2013 02:27

The Human Condition Is What Matters

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The Human Condition Is What Matters Unknown

The entire scope of the human condition is what matters. Quality of life in all its forms, whether that be access to healthcare, education, housing, safe drinking water, electricity, communications technology and financial services or the defense of human, civil and political rights or basic human dignity; quality of life is the central concern.
               The challenges of providing these basic goods are fundamentally connected. Thus the poor are thrust into a spiral of mutually reinforcing moral outrages that are nigh impossible to escape. Let’s imagine for a moment a single mother fighting against poverty; at the moment she is employed in a relatively nice roadside shop and is slowly saving money to buy her own store and educate her two children.

One day she cuts her arm in the shop and the next day she realizes it is infected. Lack of access to basic healthcare results in her minor cut and incipient infection progressing into a crippling condition. She is constantly exhausted and can barely move her now grotesquely swollen arm. She finds it impossible to work. In the face of dwindling savings and growing desperation she turns to a neighborhood doctor who says that her only option is to have her arm amputated. She goes through the procedure and exhausts her savings in the process.

               With one less arm she cannot work as fast and her boss reluctantly fires her. She can no longer afford her rent or the schooling fees for her children. Living on the street her whole family is now exposed to much greater risk of illness. She fears another sickness will make things worse. She fears that without a decent education her children will be condemned to the same life; and they won’t be able to provide for her in her old age in the way she had dreamed. But there is little more she can do.

               She knows that her lack of access to basic healthcare is what stripped her of her livelihood and her children of their education. She knows it is all interconnected. So must we. We who focus on develop must not bicker over silver bullet solutions. We must take a balanced ecosystem approach developing each of these areas simultaneously. For the mutually reinforcing effects work in both directions. We can turn this death spiral into a virtuous cycle and improve the human condition.


This post is part of a series required by IDEX. You can read posts on the same themes by the other wonderful IDEX Fellows on our collective blog CommonThreadX.

Read 4351 times Last modified on Saturday, 20 July 2013 06:17