On will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime

On June 6, 1941, United States President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a speech that has since been known as “The Four Freedoms Speech.” In this speech, he outlines four freedoms he hopes every person in the world will obtain in the future. He identifies the four freedoms as the following: “…Freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world… freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world… freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world… freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.” Over 75 years later, we still do not have the freedoms President Roosevelt wished upon us. A specific freedom that still does not exist is “economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants.” There are still dozens of poverty stricken countries, known as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). These are countries that have a national debt that is unmanageable with traditional manners alone. The good news is that the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative began in 1996 to address this issue. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMC), and other creditors teamed up to reduce the debt of 36 countries that met strict criteria. In order to be considered for assistance, countries must have an unsustainable amount of debt, be eligible for interest free loans from the World Bank’s International Development Agency, have a good track record of reform through World Bank supported programs, and have completed a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). After a country shows that they have met this criteria and continues to meet it and follow through with with their strategy, then they are deemed capable of earning their complete amount of debt relief funds. As of 2015, all 36 of the heavily indebted poor countries have received their full amount of debt relief they were eligible for, a total of over $76 billion. But the problem is that these countries are still poverty-stricken. For example, Haiti was granted $1.2 Billion through the HIPC Initiative, yet continues to have one of the lowest Economic Freedom Rankings in the world, ranked as the 159th poorest country out of 180. Why are these countries so poor? Well, the reasons usually fall into three categories: geographical factors, political factors, and cultural or social factors. A lot of what makes these countries so impoverished is out of anyone’s control. For example, a country’s geographical location heavily affects its income. “Many of the world’s poorest countries are severely hindered because they are landlocked…” Countries that cannot trade goods and services with other countries because of their geological location are lacking the biggest way to earn money and power. Another reason that geological location affects a country’s economy is the weather. Countries near the equator are often destroyed by natural disasters, like Haiti’s hurricane in 2010. This was a devastating storm that ruined many important structures and was never fully recovered from. Storms like these wreak havoc on small countries that are already in a fragile economic state. Another major factor that contributes to a country’s poverty is corruption.