La caridad en tiempos difíciles

PRINCETON – Durante mi gira por los Estados Unidos para promocionar mi nuevo libro, The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty , con frecuencia me preguntan si no es éste un momento inadecuado para pedir a los pudientes que aumenten su esfuerzo para acabar con la pobreza en otros países. Respondo enfáticamente que no. No cabe duda de que la economía mundial tiene problemas, pero, si los gobiernos y las personas recurren a esa excusa para reducir la ayuda a los más pobres del mundo, lo único que harán será multiplicar la gravedad del problema para el mundo en conjunto.

La crisis financiera ha sido más perjudicial para los pobres que para los ricos. Sin pretender minimizar el golpe económico y psicológico que sufren quienes pierden su empleo, los desempleados en los países opulentos siguen teniendo una red de seguridad, en forma de prestaciones de la seguridad social y, por lo general, atención de salud gratuita y educación gratuita para sus hijos. También tienen saneamiento y agua potable.

Los pobres de los países en desarrollo no tienen ninguna de esas ventajas, lo que resulta fatal para unos 18 millones de ellos, aproximadamente, todos los años. Se trata de un número anual de víctimas  mayor que el de la segunda guerra mundial y resulta más fácil de prevenir.

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