The news was devastating: according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Spain ranks second in childhood poverty, with 28.9% of its children living in relative poverty (compared to Norway’s child relative income poverty of 3%). On that same day, EFE, Spain’s international news agency, talked about a study at Washington University that places Spain as the country with the greatest life expectancy by 2040. This information made me think about the paradox of the two combined accounts: will the children who find themselves living in poverty, those in the 28%, live longer?
On another front, the European Network Against Poverty reminds us of Spain’s diverse poverty profile since more than a million people with college degrees are part of the 21.6% of those at risk of living in poverty. I thought about my parents and the way they taught my sisters and me that education led to economic prosperity. And I also thought about this contradiction: for people of their generation, not having an education meant hardships; for people of my generation, however, education is no guarantee against hard times. What kind of instruction do we need to provide the next generation to ensure it prospers—or in this context—survives with dignity?
This week marked the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. The words of the United Nations General Secretary reminded us that “the eradication of poverty is not a question of charity, but of justice.” This inconsistency struck me: if justice is one of the pillars of society, where is the justice that promotes our wellbeing? Where is our social justice?