Welfare state and Poverty in Flanders #12 Conclusion

Poverty evolution in Flanders

12.     Conclusion

The Flemish poverty risk percentage (12%) lay in 2009 clearly lower than the EU27-average (16%).  Flanders gets a 5° place with that in the EU27. That has been signalled better than the years before that. In 2005, Flanders got a 12° place, in 2006 and 2007 an 11° place and in 2008 a 10° place. The Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Slovenia lead in 2009 the classification.

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Environmental economics - Sustainable development diagram - Image via Wikipedia

We all have to take our responsibility how to look at the global system and how to eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative. We must ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.

With more than 330,000 Flemish households having their costs for housing crossing a budget, that is too low for a humane to have a dignified existence, and with more than one out of ten persons living in real poverty, with 3% in serious life threatening problems, against 14% of the people falling in the poverty margin and 3% in the millionaire margin, Flanders has to do something to create a more safer network around education, work, leisure activities, housing and health plus a more balance income system.

Our society has to give respect to everything it may use. Part of this respect is build up by the attitude to life and to the way it looks to human resources, gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development. The starting point to make our community grow in a strong oak tree is by ensuring universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity, upholding the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual wellbeing, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.

Integrating into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life, treating all living beings with respect and consideration.

Belgian provinces

Flanders, like every state, should promote a culture of tolerance, non-violence, and peace, where everybody is respected for what he or she can do with his or her own capabilities and even with his or hers restrictions.

We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.

Separation and stepfamily formation form a clear risk factor for children and bring more poverty to the children and their parents. Ill-treatment of others and not living according certain moral standards bring several problems into life and create also financial problems, making the person poorer.

The large socio-economic differences that also exist in our region must drastically be decreased. When we take away the creators of poverty we shall be able to live in a more peaceful environment where peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which we all are a part.

We all should be aware that in Flanders, as in other industrialized countries, we can find a capitalist system with a lot of hidden poverty and unjustness.

To move forward we must recognize that we, being part of a vast evolving universe, are in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny. Though only a very tiny region, Flanders, being a unique community of life, should be part of bigger entities, like for example a country Belgium, but at least part of one European Community that should be striving for a better world for all its habitants. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.

Affiche voor Open Erfgoeddag Armoe troef - Poster for the open Inheritance Day Poverty trumps

We can only exclude poverty when we come to respect the total environment, pure waters, clean air, plants, animals, people of all sort of cultures and religions. The protection of earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty should be a sacred trust.

The dominant patterns of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species. Communities are being undermined. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance, and violent conflict are widespread and the cause of great suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological and social systems. The foundations of global security are threatened. These trends are perilous—but not inevitable.

It can be five to twelve but we surely do not have to wait until five over twelve. It is more than time to form a global partnership to care for earth and one another. We all should be aware of the risk of destruction of ourselves and the diversity of life. Fundamental changes are needed in our values, institutions, and ways of living. We must realize that when basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more. We have the knowledge and technology to provide for all and to reduce our impacts on the environment. The emergence of a global civil society is creating new opportunities to build a democratic and humane world. Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.

The egoism of each of us has to be put aside. We must decide to live with a sense of universal responsibility, identifying ourselves with the whole Earth community as well as our local communities. We are at once citizens of different nations and of one world in which the local and global are linked. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world. The spirit of human solidarity and kinship with all life is strengthened when we live with reverence for the mystery of being, gratitude for the gift of life, and humility regarding the human place in nature.[1]

We should recognize that all beings are interdependent and every form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings and we should bare them all our respect, accepting that with the right to own, manage, and use natural resources comes the duty to prevent environmental harm and to protect the rights of people.

Poverty barometre

To exclude poverty on all grounds we have to ensure that communities at all levels guarantee human rights and fundamental freedoms and provide everyone an opportunity to realize his or her full potential. Further we do have to promote social and economic justice, enabling all to achieve a secure and meaningful livelihood that is ecologically responsible and protected for future generations. The freedom of action of each generation is qualified by the needs of future generations who should be educated and receiving values, traditions, and institutions that support the long-term flourishing of earth’s human and ecological communities.

We have to internalize the full environmental and social costs of goods and services in the selling price, and enable consumers to identify products that meet the highest social and environmental standards but have to take care that everyone shall be able to buy healthy food to stay in good health, and shall always be able to have appropriate housing for the size of the family with the necessary comfort of sanitation. Important is also to ensure universal access to health care that fosters reproductive health and responsible reproduction.

Further we have to make everybody sensible to adopt lifestyles that emphasize the quality of life and material sufficiency in a finite world, guaranteeing the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.

Let us recognize the ignored, protect the vulnerable, serve those who suffer, and enable them to develop their capacities and to pursue their aspirations and empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a sustainable livelihood, and provide social security and safety nets for those who are unable to support themselves, promoting the equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations, ensuring that all trade supports sustainable resource use, environmental protection, and progressive labour standards.

Eliminating discrimination in all its forms, such as that based on race, colour, sex, sexual orientation,

Religion, language, and national, ethnic or social origin we should affirm the right of indigenous peoples to their spirituality, knowledge, lands and resources and to their related practice of sustainable livelihoods, enabling everybody to fulfil their essential role in creating sustainable societies.

In Belgium there are too many laws and regulation by which the people take it as a sport to evade them. More work should be made to eliminate corruption in all public and private institutions and that everybody has the full possibilities to live a good life with educational and work opportunities that empower them to contribute actively to sustainable development.

An income guarantee so that life projects can become realized, the quality of the jobs and a more social economy can be promoted, the social-economic inequalities on health matters, a permanent housings administration policy, are to follow guidelines for the men in the field and stored tasks for the authorities. It is the duty of the authorities to take measures, while also taking care that there is coherence in the connection and outlining of the policy and the administration.

Een analyse van de Armoede in Vlaanderen door Marcus Ampe - Poverty in Flanders, an ananlyse by Marcus Ampe

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Adjusting means testing standards, changing tax codes, making investments in the form of loans to support people trying to open businesses, and providing other forms of assistance designed to promote the development of wealth and additional income have been suggested as ways to address the poverty trap problem.

Webs announcement for articles: No person with decent human feelings can be unmoved by the plight of those who suffer. Yet, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Christ did not tell us to invoke the coercive power of the state to help the victim, he told us to do it ourselves.

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Empower every human being with the education and resources to secure a

Sustainable livelihood…

Earth Charter Principle 9b

“Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come.”

Wangari Maathai, Earth Charter Commissioner and Noble Peace Laureate


[1] Earth Charter

Een analyse van de Armoede in Vlaanderen door Marcus Ampe - Poverty in Flanders, an ananlyse by Marcus Ampe

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About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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