The idea of poverty being present in humanity is as old as the history of civilizations, even if it changes forms.
If, on the one hand, it allowed those who had a better condition to subdue and exploit others, it also caused the consequences resulting from the poor living conditions of the less favored population to change the course of history. Check out six moments when poverty had major impacts.
1. Ancient Age and the exploitation of slaves
In ancient times, the notion that society should be divided into social strata “justified” the compulsory work of peoples conquered in wars and those who were in unfavorable conditions. On the one hand, this allowed large civilizationslike Egypt, built great monuments like the pyramids.
But, on the other hand, it also placed those who did not have privileges in an inhuman condition. In Rome, for example, enslaved people were not seen as individuals, but as a whole. propertywithout political rights and without any right over his life or death.
2. The spread of disease in the Middle Ages
In the Middle Ages, poverty was present for a large part of the population that was not part of the most privileged strata. The social caste division of the period was based on birth, making it difficult to change status.
Besides the exploration and the payment of taxes is part of the reality of most people, hunger, lack of access to adequate hygiene and social inequality, together, made it much more difficult to control the diseases that spread. This resulted in a high number of fatalities, affecting the entire population. It is estimated that the black Plaguewhich began in 1347, has been responsible for up to 200,000 deaths in Europe.
3. Reflections of the Industrial Revolution
THE industrial Revolution, which took place in England in the 18th century, played an important role in the development of technology and contributed to the remuneration of labor. This did not happen, however, without a high cost for workers, who worked long hours with low pay – which is still present today in places that seek to maximize profit in production.
In addition to contributing to the exploitation of the population, the movement also ended up increase inequality between peoples and, over time, to perpetuate the difference in economic power between countries that develop technologies and those that operate in the manufacture of low value-added products.
4. Neocolonization of Africa
Dreaming of a better future could be an option for countries considered to be developed. But not for the peoples of Africa, who suffered from exploitation during the period of Great Navigations, having its development compromised and affecting generations until today. Amid the lack of natural resources in Europe, the main powers were attracted by the possibility of returning to the African continent to carry out the exploration of their lands.
THE Berlin conference, of 1884, played a decisive role, determining the occupation of 13 countries in African regions. The reflection of this can be seen in the maps of the countries of the continent, which contain straight lines resulting from the division made by the Europeans. In practice, this resulted in the death of millions of Africans, loss of minerals and divisions of territorial belts that still suffer conflicts today.
5. Rise of Nazism in Germany
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The poverty that spread after Germany’s defeat in First World War was devastating, making inflation astronomical, making access to the most basic foods difficult and making the population more vulnerable in the face of speeches populists who promised to return greatness and preached the adoption of nationalist ideas. It is Nazism, an ideology that defended the superiority of Germany and the white race over others.
As a result, Hitler’s rise to power from 1934 was responsible not only for the wave of extremism that tried to justify the death of persecuted peoples, such as the Jews, but also for the death of part of the German population itself in a war that devastated the European continent.
6. Covid-19 pandemic
One of the moments when poverty in the world became more painful was during the covid-19 pandemic in recent years, where it was noticeable that countries with more resources had faster access to vaccines, masks and forms of treatment. Even today, many of reflexes that we will have in the future remain an unknown.
In less privileged places, these nuances were even more evident for the population, because even if the lack of resources was different from place to place, it manifested itself mainly in different situations of everyday life. Either in the presence of overcrowded means of transport that do not offer the necessary security or in the occurrence of hospitals without the capacity to serve the needy population in the most critical moments.