Just because someone does not live in a developing country does not mean they are better off. Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen views development as empowering people to lead a life they find meaningful. Meaningfulness is a relative concept. Being able to follow other’s consumption patterns or get health care or send your child to school may be meaningful. Currently many people across the globe do not have these capabilities especially in America.
We live in America and I am shocked at how many parents talk about their children joining the military to be able to give their children a college education. There is nothing wrong with that option. The problem is there are primarily only two options for most people, military service or extreme debt.
Similar people have few options for health care.
We see that people start to sense a lack of capacity to lead a life they find meaningful. The root cause links to poverty and inequitable income distribution. In America, we promote the cultural idea (not a fact based truth) that poverty results from personal choices and is therefore the problem of individuals. The reality is when people feel they lack the power to lead meaningful lives it is everyone’s problem.