Paul Farmer gives me hope. Not only as a doctor and anthropologist, but as a social justice advocate/activist.
I have been reading one of his most recent works, “Pathologies of Power” in which he describes how poverty is a human rights issue. We hear a lot about human rights. In the United States there seems to be a discourse that we already have all the rights we need, but we don’t. But I digress. Paul Farmer is determined and motivated to to help the world’s poor in a way that non-profit organizations haven’t been able to do.
I enjoy Farmer’s attitude and I think it comes from the things he has witnessed. I think that if we all witnessed the world’s ills first hand we would be more inclined to be activists. I find it telling that those who are activists are almost always people who have experienced some kind of trauma and/or seen trauma.
So, when Farmer says that the poor are more deserving of resources than the rest of us I agree. Those who live in poverty in the United States and beyond deserve more of a chance to survive than those of us who don’t need to work as hard to do so. For me, I would be willing to give up some of my comforts so that those who have nothing can have something. These aren’t handouts or charities but proof of being a decent human being, I think.
And remember: can we really believe in meritocracy when over 2 billion people in the world are living in poverty? When 80% of the world lives on less than $10 a day?