Health Checkup for a pregnant woman in Myanmar

How Poverty Is Created

Explore the issues which cause poverty

Poverty is created

Poverty is a human-made phenomenon. Just as humans have created great wealth, we have created great poverty. The causes of poverty in every country are deeply rooted in the global system, which has been programmed over thousands of years to benefit the richest and most powerful – from colonialism, to structural readjustment and the global spread of neoliberalism today.

Although the causes are complex, the fact that they are programmed into the system by humans gives us hope. The causes of poverty are not natural, which means they are solvable and changeable – it means we can work to reprogramme the system to prioritise people rather than profit. This is why we campaign for policy change, as well as working with communities and governments around the world to improve health and tackle injustice together.

Speaking out about the causes of poverty

In far too many cases, the causes of poverty are brushed over and ignored. We are often encouraged to take pity on those ‘unlucky’ enough to be in poverty, and give money because we are the ‘lucky ones’. Very rarely are we encouraged to think about how we might be impacted by the same system which causes this extreme poverty – how we unjustly benefit from it, or how we are also suffering because of it.

At Health Poverty Action, we believe talking about how poverty is created is so important if we actually want to solve poverty and create a world where everyone has the right to health. Without understanding the root causes of poverty, it will be impossible to prevent it from happening in the future. This is why we have created this section of the website – for you to explore and learn about the causes of poverty, and why we work holistically to tackle them all.