Mel’s notes on the economy of the world

Maker of the Mobility Cart since 1994.
Twig or your own toothbrush? How can you help change the economy of another family?
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Mobility Worldwide MO-Columbia update 2/7/18: 174 Mobility Carts built in 2018

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How much is too much, and when is not enough not enough? How should the resources of the world be distributed? In a recent Time magazine, Anna Rosling Ronnlund writes of how economics, not geography, dictates lifestyle. I paraphrase some of her comments.

*** Take toothbrushes, she writes. The poorest people in the world use a twig from a tree, or even just a finger and mud. But with a small rise in income the family can afford a shared toothbrush. With another small rise in income, each member gets their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Those in the top bracket get electric toothbrushes.

Shown 2015 home in Nicaragua

*** Or houses. The homeless sleep on the street or in a common shelter. I was in El Soleil in Haiti and saw a house about 9 feet by 12 feet shared by 10 people. They slept in shifts on the floor. Most of the world sleeps several to a room. Years ago at a Jimmy Carter work camp, I saw two little girls utterly thrilled because they would each have “my very own room.” Those at the top have several houses.

*** Take door locks, simple things. The poor do not even have doors, just spaces, with perhaps a gunny sack hung down. With a rise in income, a plank door with a wire hook may be possible. One thing the new homeowners of Habitat houses prize so much are the doors that lock. The gift of a key is the gift of security. The wealthy can now lock and unlock the doors to their home from miles away.

*** Toilets? First, the field or timber, then an outhouse shared by many, then perhaps one’s own. The rich have several in one house, and even have toilets that wash and dry one.

(2015 Thailand distribution)

*** Transportation? We at the Mobility Worldwide Family insist that the minimum for those whose legs do not work is a good, sturdy wheelchair, our cart when appropriate. The wealthy leg handicapped may go to a full-sized van that opens up to dispense an electric wheelchair. But we insist upon mobility for all, and our cart is the minimum.
“There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is now that we have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The question is whether we have the will.” Martin Luther King
Mel West, Director Emeritus
DBA Mobility Worldwide MO – Columbia

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