Poverty is "entirely avoidable," and the wealthy countries are "deeply implicated in the misery of the poor," says Thomas Pogge, professor at Yale University, who will address the DW Global Media Forum next week.
The wealthy states bear the responsibility for poverty in the developing world "through our participation in global markets, through our contributions to climate change and resource depletion and through the contribution our country makes to the design and imposition of unjust supranational rules and practices," Pogge told DW in an interview in the run-up to the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum.
Professor Thomas Pogge
Pogge is the director of the Global Justice Program and Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University in New Haven (USA). He is scheduled to speak on Wednesday, June 27, in a plenary session entitled "Education and Sustainable Development - Two Sides of the Same Coin?" The three-day conference, which begins on Monday, June 25, at the World Conference Center in Bonn, will explore the topic of "Culture. Education. Media - Shaping a Sustainable World."
The rich for the rich
Pogge said the global economy "is structured by the rich for the rich, and development assistance then mitigates some of the worst suffering so caused." The renowned political philosopher advocates taking "the interests of the great majority into account already in the structural design decisions. In the present system, for example, new medicines are rewarded through patent-protected mark-ups with the foreseeable result that few poor people can gain access through charitable subsidies."
Pogge referred to the "Health Impact Fund", a concept he co-developed. "It would be much better if states collaborated to support a different reward system."
When asked about the role of the media, Pogge said they "must become aware of their responsibility to be the conscience of citizens or at least to inform and stimulate their conscience."
Pogge has published extensively on issues related to global justice. His book World Poverty and Human Rights is one of the most influential and most-discussed works on the topic.
The 2012 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum
The 2012 Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum takes place under the patronage of the German Commission for UNESCO. The conference is co-hosted by the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Sparkasse (municipal savings bank) in Bonn and also supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the European Regional Development Fund, the Minister of Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media for the State of North-Rhine Westphalia, the City of Bonn, DHL, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.