Hunger, disease and poverty can lead to global instability and leave a vacuum for extremism to fill. So instead of just managing poverty, we must offer nations and people a pathway out of poverty. And as president I've made development a pillar of our foreign policy, alongside diplomacy and defense.
We measure poverty by what I believe is a very, very crude concept. We actually measure poverty by trying to get some kind of an estimate of the minimum expenditures on food that are required to maintain health, multiplying that number by three, and saying that's the level of poverty. And it's a very crude, inaccurate arrangement.
Women represent 70 percent of the 1.3 billion people in our world who live in absolute poverty. Consequently, as Joan Holmes, president of the Hunger Project, points out, any realistic efforts to change patterns of chronic hunger and poverty require changing traditions of discrimination against women.
The primary cause of disorder and lawlessness today, as throughout history, is the poverty of the many in contrast to the affluence of the few. But a new element of unrest has been added: a growing awareness that mass poverty is caused by defective institutions that prevent our harnessing the physical capabilities of science, engineering, management and labor to create general affluence; in other words, a growing awareness that poverty in any country that is or can be industrialized, is man's not nature's fault.
So far it has been assumed that the only pregnancies which are aborted are accidental ones and the only foetuses destroyed those whose mothers could not bear the thought of their becoming children. In a just world this would be the case, but the world is far from just. Too many women are forced to abort by poverty, by their menfolk, by their parents. Poverty has many faces; it may be the poverty of the young, the unmarried, the student, the unemployed, the female or a combination of these.