According to the World Bank’s most optimistic estimate, 19.8 million people will attempt to survive with less than R$ 140 ($ 43) per month by the end of 2017 in Brazil. The problem is too serious for us to limit its causes to the mistakes of the latest presidential administrations or the president Temer government. Poverty is a defect in human organization in which we participate equally.
At the moment, Brazil has as many poor people as the sum of the populations of Bolivia and Paraguay: 17.3 million. Recalling that the poverty criterion stipulated by the Federal Government (less than R$ 140 monthly) is six times lower than the officially considered minimum wage for a decent existence.
In order to fight the consequences of the current economic recession that turns the most vulnerable into millions of poor new people, the World Bank suggests raising R$ 600 million to R$ 1.2 billion in resources destined for Bolsa Família, which has R$ 29.8 billion in its annual budget. Created in 2003, the welfare program is recognized worldwide for reducing misery through income distribution, historically poorly executed. On a scale of 0 to 1, called the Gini index, which measures the degree of income concentration where the number 1 indicates maximum inequality, the Brazilian note in 2014 was 0.515.
They are not the original cause of poverty, however, the recurrent economic crises crossed by the country nor the accumulation of wealth in few and powerful hands, but the greedy, and old, exploitation of labor. Ambition impedes social equality and ensures the maintenance of bias hierarchical, financial and material superiority.
It comes from a flaw in character, therefore, misery. An addiction produces the condition of being poor and the observer close – although insensitive – of hunger, lack of decent housing and basic sanitation in the hills, peripheries, viaducts and sidewalks that make up favelas. The permanence of a homeless is something as abominable as slavery or child labor, the difference being that the legislation against the first suffering is fragile.
What other justification would have the construction of inequalities between naturally equivalent beings? We attributed the poverty of the indigent huddled on the ground by being born of humble origin, religious mention the inevitable and necessary karma, but, according to Charles Darwin, “if misery is caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin”.
At the end of this year, it will take almost twenty million steps for the Brazilian people to pay off their most urgent debts. It is a long way to go without shortcuts, using fair labor benefits, professional training and social assistance programs (because teaching the “hungry to fish” – a popular saying in Brazil – before quenching their hunger is another human anomaly, called hypocrisy).