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Millennium Development Goals

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The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are targets that are aimed at looking at the dismal situations of the poor and disadvantaged people in the world. The goals express the desire and commitment of member states to eradicate poverty and hunger, realize universal education, and ensure environmental sustainability. Also, MDGs are planned to improve maternal and child health, institutional partnerships, enhance gender equality and women empowerment, and tackle HIV/Aids, malaria and other diseases. UN-Habitat serves as the center stage in making sure that the population without basic sanitation and access to safe drinking water will be reduced to 50% before 2015. It also seeks to better the lives of about 100 million slum dwellers.

The most important of the MDGs is the goal number one: to eradicatie extreme poverty and hunger. According to statistics from the UN, the percentage of people living with less than $1.25 daily in 2004 was 47% in the sub-Saharan Africa, 34% in the Southern Asia, 17% in the South Eastern Asia, 13% in China, 6% in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 2% in the Northern Africa. This goal is important because poor health will persist and lack of education will go on as people concentrate on getting out of their poverty traps and feeding themselves. Hunger takes the mind and effort of people, hence they can’t concentrate on other activities towards improving their lives.

The road to achieving MDGs has been slow and uneven. This is due to differences between countries in capacities and over ambitiousness of some goals. For example, Kenya has great efforts in reducing poverty from 56% in 2002 to 45.9% in 2006, and in universal education the country has registered 90% of girls and 95% of boys in the primary school enrollment. The country has made remarkable steps when dealing with Goal number 6, fighting against HIV/AIDS and malaria. In terms of environmental sustainability, the country which has suffered from deforestation, water pollution and land degradation, has increased land protected for biological diversity by 0.6%. Political and social factors have continued to be a hindrance in the Kenya towards implementation of sustainable growth in the country.

Question 2

Brazil has enjoyed a rapid economic and social growth and financial stability since the mid-1990s. This can be attributed to its strong macroeconomic structure which was the response to catch up with high income countries. Social progress has been on the rise where inequality and poverty levels have greatly declined. This is due to the government’s efforts in policy agenda where good labor markets presentation and redistribution policy have been excellent. Poverty level have been reduced by 50%.

Demographic factors have acted in favor of Brazil’s economic and social growth. The country has a large and growing middle income class representing over 50% of its 200 million population. 51% of the population is aged below 30 years. During the maturing process of this population, the country entered financial independence while creating wealth and a broad spending population. This young population has become educated, creating more services and labor required for a growing and stable economy.

Another important factor in Brazil’s economy over the last three decades is that the country is rich in natural resources. Brazil has an abundance of hard and soft commodities which include: beef, sugar, iron ore, cocoa, and soybeans. This leads to self-sufficient markets which have led to withstanding og the geopolitical events and economic downturns than most countries like this one have. Although it exports 17% to China, Brazil is less dependent on China in its development than peer commodity-rich countries such as Canada and Australia.

Decrease in inflation rates has made Brazil become one of the world leading economies. This is because lower inflation rates mean positive development which is reflected in access to mortgages to finance home ownership. Inflation has decreased from 5000% in the 1990s and the mortgage debt (as a percentage of GDP) is 4.8% in Brazil. Keeping inflation under control will help to improve and extend Brazil customer story even in the future.

Question 3

Traditional economics refers to proficient, low-cost allocation and distribution of limited productive resources coupled with the maximal growth of these resources over a period of time with the aim of coming up with a multifaceted and expanding range commodities, goods and services. This comes in line with the neoclassical economics dealing with perfect markets; automatic price adjustments; assessments based on marginal, private profit, and equilibrium outcomes in products and resource markets. Traditional economics involves solely materialistic, self-serving and individualistic inclination in making economic judgments.

Development economics surely has greater scope. This is because it goes a step further beyond proficient allocation and distribution of scarce productive resources and their development over time to incorporate political, economic, social and institutional mechanisms. This includes both private and public mechanisms important in bringing up quick and large-scale advancements in peoples’ living standards especially in Africa, Asia, and most socialist economies. Countries in Africa have goods and resource markets which are imperfect, where producers and consumers have little information. Also, critical structural modifications take place in the economy and the society, and multiple equilibrium is instead of a single equilibrium high, and prices do not reflect demand and supply.

Development economies make economic calculations which are overshadowed by political and social prioritization such uniting a nation, local based policy makers instead of foreign ones, tribal and ethnic conflict resolutions, and preservation of religious and cultural norms. Development economics is eclectic and combines various relevant theories and concepts from traditional economics, together with specific models and multi-disciplinary approaches derived from Africa’s and Asia’s historical development.

Question 4

Poverty can be measured in two broad ways: absolute poverty and relative poverty. Absolute poverty measures the number of individuals under a given income threshold of households which cannot afford the basic goods and services. Relative poverty measures how a household fairs in comparison to the average bar for the economy. Beyond the two categories, poverty can be determined through three ways of well-being: whether families have capacity to cater for their daily needs; variations in income distribution and consumption, as well as chances of being poor or getting poor in the future. 

Comparing developed and developing countries poverty levels, we ought to consider a couple of factors. For example, the cumulative outputs of developing nations accounted for 38% of global GNP in 2010 which was twice what they contributed in 1990. If the GDP was to be determined using purchasing power parity (PPP), developing economies would have overtaken developed world in 2008 and hit 54% of the world GDP. This is because PPP considers that the lower the prices in poorer countries improve the real spending power. Imports in developing countries increased to 47% in 2010 from 27% in 1990. They also attracted over 50% of all inflows in foreign direct investments (FDI). This is because they have a quick growing local markets and low wages. They also contributed 29% of outward FDI: a figure rising drastically.

In consumption, developing economies score high where they use 60% of the global energy, 75% of the steel and 60% of the copper. This is amazing as there is space for improvement and growth. They use 55% of the global oil yet the oil use per person is below that of developed nations. Although emerging economies are catching up well, they have a long way in world commerce and finance. They also score the lowest in government debt being at rate of 17%. This is an advantage as in the long run the future is bright compared to developed nations whose massive debts will be a hindrance to their growth. 

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