Friday, March 18, 2005

Getting to the root of the problem

In a recent TIME magazine article, economist Jeffrey Sachs describes how extreme global poverty can be eliminated by the year 2025...!!

Interestingly, the U.S. seems to be the biggest culprit when it comes to not giving aide that was promised. To throw some numbers at you, the U.S. government will put $500 billion toward military spending, while only spending $16 million on world-wide poverty.

To wit, the U.S. is basically trying to get rid of a problem by attacking its symptoms (terrorism, for one), and not the root cause of those symptoms -- that being the extreme proverty that causes "global instability."

In a much lighter example, this was something my dad always told me about pulling weeds -- it's never enough to just take off the visible part of the weed, you have to extract its roots, or else it keeps on coming back, time after time.

This seems true in all life, doesn't it? Whether it's in the yard or around the globe, the only way to exact true and lasting change is to attack and solve a problem at its root. The cause, not the symptoms.


At 12:18 PM, Blogger Simon said...

I couldn't agree with you more Sandra. Sometimes it's hard to find the root, though.

I've just been reading about the time when Hitler rose to power in Germany in the 1930s, as well as watching the miniseries "Hitler: Rise to Evil".

In circumstances as desperate as those, reasonable people appear impotent, while completely unreasonable, anti-intellectual people like Hitler, seem to present 'the answer'.

Hitler's just an extreme example - it's a temptation in everyday life to boil things down to black and white alternatives, when in reality there's a lot of grey areas.

Because of this, sometimes finding the root of a problem seems to take an inordinate amount of time and energy. But it's more than half the battle, because once you've identified what the problem really is, you can deal with it for what it is.


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