The least known effect of solidarity: reducing poverty improves the economy

“It is only progress if we all progress.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
16 November 2023 Thursday 09:23
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The least known effect of solidarity: reducing poverty improves the economy

“It is only progress if we all progress.” This is one of the slogans that the La Caixa Foundation displayed yesterday at the Keys to Social Progress event, and with which Antón Costas, economist and current president of the Economic and Social Council of Spain (CES), agreed “totally” .

Because, he assures, contrary to what was imposed as a mantra in the economic world at the end of the last century, that the generation of wealth was enough to reduce poverty, the reality is that subsequent studies rule out the veracity of that statement. (“How do we understand, then, that Spain, one of the strong economies in the world, is at the bottom of the EU in terms of child poverty, with 2.4 million children living below the poverty line? "). On the contrary, Costas pointed out, it has become clear that the most just and supportive societies are those that have a more efficient and sustainable economy. “A more just society does not harm the economy at all,” he stated.

And along these lines, a new study by the Social Observatory of the La Caixa Foundation reveals that, despite the economic situation in Spain between the years 2016 to 2020 and unlike the rest of the European countries, there was no reduction in the incidence of poverty . The study Dynamics of multidimensional poverty in Spain and other European countries concludes that poor people have a greater risk of facing new deprivations (such as overcrowding, low pay, low work intensity or poor health) and are less likely to stop suffering from them. deficiencies that they already have compared to people who are not poor.

And it points out that social programs are decisive in ensuring that people can escape this spiral of poverty.

To do? The deputy director of the La Caixa Foundation, Elisa Durán, and the entity's deputy general director, Marc Simón, advocate changing the model. “We need a new social contract that eradicates poverty, improves working conditions and relies on education as a lever for change.”

Durán recalled that the La Caixa Foundation is committed to collaborative philanthropy with all agents in the territory. Of course, professionalized philanthropy, something Costa is also committed to. “To carry out lasting social action, it is important to measure the impact of interventions and evaluate their results to reach more people,” he indicated.

The protagonists of the documentary project Told Lives: 14 Stories of Overcoming, which gives voice to people at risk of exclusion who share their positive learning after going through different complex situations, participated in the event. Each one, from their particular point of view and unique experience.

This project, aimed at raising awareness among citizens, shows that it is possible to develop capacity and empowerment to escape situations of vulnerability through network interventions, together with entities and institutions. The 14 stories will make up a calendar (one story per month, including December 2023 and January 2025) that will reach more than one million homes.

At the event, some protagonists, such as Bárbara, a young Venezuelan who arrived in Galicia at the age of 15 and who, thanks to the CaixaProinfancia program, received support classes from the 4th year of ESO to the end of high school. She is already in university.

And Diego, who has participated in the María José Jove Foundation since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and who is a sailing champion: “Sailing makes you forget what you lost, what you are missing, and also reach port.”