Besides the relief and development work already taking place in the world, how many additional dollars would it take to ensure that every person had their basic needs met?  According to Dave Blundell of ‘Hungry For Life’, UNICEF estimated that $40 billion USD would do it.  That figure was from the late nineties, so the amount may be different today.  But that is not much money in the big picture.  Consider the breakdown from Dave’s book:  [i]

-          Basic education for all $6 billion
-          Clean water and sanitation for all $9 billion
-          Reproductive health for all women $12 billion
-          Basic health and nutrition $13 billion

By contrast, here are a few annual calculations on the following goods and services:

-          U.S. military spending: $650 billion
-          Canadian military spending: $15 billion
-          Dieting programs in the U.S: $40 billion
-          World golf spending: $40 billion
-          Aesthetic cosmetic surgeries and procedures in the U.S: $11 billion
-          Online pornography revenue worldwide in 2006: $97 billion
-          Cosmetics in the U.S: $8 billion
-          Projected global spending on mobile phone games, music and video in 2010: $43 billion
-          Pet food in Europe and the U.S: $17 billion
-          Church income worldwide in 2007: $150 billion
-          Para-church and Christian institutional income worldwide in 2007: $240 billion
-          Additional church income if all U.S. church members tithed (10%) on reported income: $164 billion
-          Total being spent on development to developing countries in 2004: $78 billion

Dave Blundell points to excess in ways not limited to the rich and famous.  Many of the middle and even lower class have found ways to spend excessive amounts on pets, dieting, and cosmetic surgery and so on.  If we can spend excessively on such things, can we not also be part of alleviating world suffering with our incomes?

If all North American Christians tithed 10% we could have a testimony to the world by eliminating many of the needs of poverty in the world today.

[i] Dave Blundell, Hungry For Life  pp.26-28