Despite the enormous scientific and technological progress that accompanied the world in the twentieth century, social inequality in the modern world is only growing. Moreover, social differentiation is aggravated in all countries of the world, including developed countries. In simpler language, the poor become even poorer, and the rich - even richer. So, according to research, by the beginning of 2016 in the world of 62, the richest people had the same amount of assets as 3,6 billion people - representatives of the poorest half of the world’s population. Over the past six years, from 2010, 3,6’s fortune to the billion poor people of the world has decreased by 1 trillion US dollars. At the same time, the assets of 62 of the richest inhabitants of the planet doubled to 1,76 trillion. US dollars. While multi-billionaires do not know where to invest extra money, billions of the world's inhabitants live in poverty, hundreds of millions - in terrible poverty, on the verge of survival.
Until now, the world is very acute food problem. Hunger is not something from the distant past, but a terrible component of the present. A large number of scientific and journalistic literature has been written about the scale of hunger in the modern world, but the persistence of this problem makes politicians, public figures, sociologists and journalists return to it again and again. Even in our time, people continue to die of hunger, including young children, in Africa, some countries of Asia and Latin America.
The total number of regularly undernourished people in the modern world is estimated at almost a billion people. According to a UN report, at least 852 million people suffer from hunger. In today's world, over 1,2 billion people, which is about one fifth of the total population of the planet, live on less than one US dollar per day. In 54% of childhood deaths in the modern world, malnutrition is to blame. Such conclusions were made by experts of the World Health Organization. The main cause of hunger is not only that in the countries of the third and fourth world people do not receive the proper amount of money to eat at a normal level, but also in natural conditions that do not allow them to effectively engage in agriculture and provide themselves with food due to constant droughts , the onset of sands on the savannah. Numerous military-political conflicts contribute to the destruction of a normal economy, even if it is underdeveloped.
The most undernourished and hungry people are in tropical Africa. This region is considered the epicenter of hunger in the modern world. Moreover, the number of hungry people in Africa has a pronounced tendency to increase, which is directly connected with an increase in the birth rate. The highest birth rates in the world are in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and several other African states. It is clear that all these countries belong not even to the third, but to the fourth world, in which researchers include the least developed economically and the poorest states. The food problem in Northeast Africa is very serious, especially in Somalia. Here permanent droughts put millions of people on the brink of survival.
But not only Africa can be viewed as a “hungry continent”. Millions of people are regularly undernourished and hungry in the countries of South and Southeast Asia - in Nepal, Bangladesh, in India, Indonesia, and Pakistan. There is also a very high birth rate combined with progressive poverty and exacerbated social polarization. The same India, despite the fact that it is considered a regional power and a relatively economically developed country, is unable to solve the problem of the starving. The reasons for this - a very high population, high unemployment, combined with the presence of hundreds of millions of people without education and any professional qualifications.
Somewhat less than the total number of undernourished in Latin America. Here the “hunger belt” passes, first of all, through the Andean countries, first of all Bolivia and Peru, and also through the countries of the “isthmus”, first of all - Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala. In the Caribbean, the island of hunger is Haiti. As for the countries of Europe and North America, the problem of hunger is relevant for them in the least degree compared to the rest of the world. Here, chronic malnutrition is inherent only to representatives of certain social groups that have “fallen out” from society — the homeless, homeless. In the post-Soviet space, the problem of malnutrition is acute in the countries of Central Asia - in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. However, in Russia, many citizens belonging to low-income groups of the population are chronically undernourished. In the least favorable position are lonely disabled people and retirees with low pensions, large families with low incomes of spouses, as well as citizens leading an asocial lifestyle - homeless people, tramps, and chronic alcoholics.
The problem of malnutrition is closely related to the problem of low incomes of the population. In the countries of the third and fourth world, most people, even finding a job, are forced to live on very little money, incomparable with the salaries of even unskilled workers in developed countries. In developed countries, the concept of poverty in recent decades is increasingly associated with the ability of citizens to access the basic consumer basket, which includes not only food, but also, for example, medical services. In some countries of Western Europe, the absence of a bank account with savings is already a criterion of poverty. On the other hand, in the Russian Federation, poor means citizens with incomes on the verge of and below the subsistence minimum, which, by the way, is set by the state. The society does not stop arguing about how well the established subsistence level corresponds to the real consumer basket, necessary for a Russian citizen to live a full life.
For modern Russia, low incomes remain an acute problem. The first decade of the XXI century in the Russian Federation was observed a gradual decrease in the number of citizens of the country with incomes below the subsistence minimum. So, if in 2000, the income below the subsistence minimum was 42,3 million, i.e. 29% of the population is virtually every third Russian, then in 2012 we managed to reach the lowest figure - 15,4 million, which at that time was 10,7% of the country's population. However, then the growth in the number of low-income citizens began again. Thus, in 2016, 21,4 million people, representing 14,6% of the population, were classified as citizens with incomes below the subsistence minimum. It should also be noted that the share of social payments made by the state is growing in the income of Russians.
In Russia, there is an acute housing problem. The vast majority of citizens can not afford to buy a house, including in the mortgage. So, in the 2012 year, before the currency inflation, 81% of the Russian population did not have enough money to buy a home mortgage. The housing problem is closely connected with a number of negative phenomena for the country. For example, it directly affects the birth rate in the country, since young families who do not have their own housing or are cramped in housing conditions, often for this reason, are rejected for a while or completely from the birth of a child. A significant part of the country's population, unable to acquire modern housing that meets the necessary requirements, is forced to live in dilapidated and emergency housing, putting their lives and health at risk. Even in some large cities there are streets and areas deprived of elementary amenities, for example, gas and central sewage, what can be said about the countryside and small settlements. End of life at the so-called. "Khrushchev", built for the operational resettlement of people from the barracks. But for the time being, it is not possible to renew the housing stock in due amount, especially since the majority of citizens cannot afford to acquire the new housing under construction.
The solution to the housing problem lies in the spectrum of the revision of the role of the Russian state in the construction and distribution of housing. In the 1990-ies, the state actually withdrew from housing, which led to the total commercialization of the housing market. The scale of the construction and distribution of social housing cannot be called anything significant. In Russia, the system of non-commercial residential renting is completely undeveloped, which could partially solve the housing problems of not only the poor, but also prosperous citizens. The state could contribute to solving the housing problem by regulating the prices of economy-class housing, preventing speculative activities in this area. Finally, it would be worth the state to turn resources on the creation of a state (municipal) housing rental market, the prices of which would allow low-income groups of people to rent residential premises for a long time.
The high level of poverty in Russia is associated with colossal social polarization, which began to grow in the 1990-ies and to date has reached such proportions that put Russia among the world leaders in social inequality of the population. Over twenty years of the existence of post-Soviet Russian statehood, social inequality in Russia has increased fourfold. According to the report of the Russian Academy of Sciences, published in 2013, edited by academicians S.Yu. Glazyev, V.V. Ivantera and A.D. Nekipelova, the level of social stratification between the richest and poorest Russians reached 16: 1, while the critical value of the stratification is 10: 1 and even 8: 1. However, the solution of the problem of poverty and social inequality is impossible without the appropriate regulatory measures by the state.
Academicians S.Yu. Glazyev, A.D. Nekipelov and V.V. In his report, Ivanter proposes, as one of the most important measures against social stratification, the introduction of a progressive scale of taxation. Progressive taxation exists in many developed countries of the world and provides impressive revenues to the state budget, which is used to finance, among other things, the social sphere. In their report, scientists note that it is possible to reduce the number of poor in Russia and reduce social inequality if the subsistence minimum is raised to the level of the real value of the basic consumer basket that allows realizing human needs in food, clothing, medical care, etc.
Secondly, an increase in the minimum wage is proposed. Russia has developed a unique situation in developed countries where working citizens, including specialists with higher education, may be located below the poverty line. It turns out that honestly working and performing their professional duties, often requiring higher education and high qualifications, a citizen is not able to provide at the expense of his salary even the realization of his basic needs. The number of working poor in Russia still includes many workers in the fields of education, culture, health care, and housing and communal services. This is a paradoxical situation, when a worker of culture, education or health care with a higher education and impressive work experience in the specialty receives a salary that is lower than the subsistence minimum for working Russians.
Is the problem of poverty, poverty and inequality eliminated in the modern world and in Russia in particular? As for the modern world as a whole, even the hopes for the eradication of poverty and poverty in the countries of the third and fourth world can be eradicated. Economic underdevelopment, natural conditions, high birth rates, political instability - all these factors minimize the hopes for solving social inequalities in African countries and many countries in Asia and Latin America.
At the same time, modern Russia has the necessary political, economic, and cultural potential to actively address the problems of poverty and inequality. However, this requires a corresponding policy of the Russian state in the economy and in the social sphere. A lot in the economic and social policy of the country should be revised. In the meantime, the economic problems experienced by the country do not allow not only to increase the volume of social assistance, but also to keep them at the same level. In particular, in 2016 and 2017. the maternity capital, which had previously increased by 5,5% each year, will no longer be indexed. But at the same time, the state does not risk changing the fiscal policy by introducing progressive taxation, carefully avoids raising the issue of revising the results of privatization, refuses to impose taxes on luxury, that is, does not wish to infringe the interests of the richest Russians to the detriment of the millions of people living on the verge and below the poverty line.