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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Poverty after the Boon

Updated: Jan 15

Poverty is a relative thing. People living on $25,000 per year in the USA would be considered poor here, yet rich in the Philippines. I've seen most degrees of poverty in my travels.

One of the things I've witnessed in my travels is the economic disaster that hits a town after the main industry leaves it. The bust that follows the boon.

I've witnessed that in the USA most places I've lived. When the paper mills and shoe shops left my home state of Maine, I saw the higher paying manufacturing jobs exit with them. People had to learn a new way to earn a loving. Same thing in my current town with the exit of a paper and chemical company.

But, there are many social programs here in the USA which can mitigate the damage. Also, there is a lot of wealth in this country which leads to domestic tourism. That helps to spread the wealth throughout the country. Add to that, there's just a lot more opportunities in our country than others.

Looking at things from my travel perspective, I have seen other places not so fortunate as we have here. I posted about one place once in Iquitos Peru:

This is a very remote area in Peru. In fact, it is the largest city in the world that you can't drive to. It's only accessible through plane or boat via the Nile River.

The city was born because of the rubber industry. But when the rubber industry was transplanted to southeast Asia, the industry dried up quickly in Iquitos. I witnessed the aftermath of the city as today they rely on the few tourists to come their way. In the referenced post, I showed some of the poverty conditions that they live with.

This is not an uncommon story. It's just much sadder when it happens to poor countries because they don't have the social programs or the country wealth to distribute to mitigate the poverty conditions. But people always find a way to eke out an existence..

I'll show you one other area of the world where this happened. It's in the far western corner of Thailand in an area called Pilok. This village was formed by the mining industry years ago. But as all industries do, this one eventually dried up as well. The problem is this village, like Iquitos, is a very remote place. Also, there are a few social programs to help out. As a result, the poverty conditions are worse here than most places in Thailand.

For me, it's always saddest to see poverty among the children. Adults learn to cope with it, and children even learn to live with it as it's all they've ever known. But the effects of poverty are still there. Effects of poverty I've outlined before here:

Poverty is a relative thing. Even in a poor country, there are degrees of poverty. I remember being in remote, India, a very economically depressed region of the country. But it borders Bangladesh, an even poorer county. The region was angered by the infiltration of the Bangladesh people into their country. They didn't want to share the limited resources they had with even poorer Bangladesh people. So poverty is certainly relative.

I don't really have any reason for this post other than to make aware that such places exist in the world. Many of these places are unknown to much of the world because they don't get any coverage on the news. I think mostly people are not interested, so it is not newsworthy. That's unfortunate. Because I think these places should be headline news compared to what's on TV today.

I'll leave you with a video of this poor area of Thailand:

Thailand is always among the top 10 visited countries in the world. But I think you would be hard-pressed to find anybody that travels to this area of poverty. But now you've seen it!

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