In recent years, Iran’s economy has experienced several ups and downs, resulting in a decline in job opportunities and an increase in unemployment rates. Unfortunately, these economic factors have also made poverty more widespread in society. One solution to this issue is to create more sustainable employment opportunities in the country. We interviewed Rasoul Danialzadeh, who manages the most prominent steel products manufacturing group in Iran’s private sector, to shed light on this topic.
Question: What is the definition of poverty?
Rasoul Danialzadeh: Poverty is when a person lacks the necessary assets to meet their needs. Although financial assets are often the primary concern, poverty can affect a person’s ability to meet their needs in various areas of life. It could be basic needs like food, shelter, or other needs beyond survival. In some cases, a person’s ability to meet their needs is limited due to unfavorable social conditions. For example, a person may have the talent and motivation to work and study but lack the opportunity to do so. Poverty is a global issue that affects people in every country, regardless of their level of development. Although poverty is relative and depends on the standard of living in a particular society, it remains a widespread problem that affects many individuals’ quality of life.
Rasoul Danialzadeh: Absolute poverty is a difficult situation where people lack the power to meet their basic needs, including food, clothing, shelter, and health care. This issue is prevalent in some countries. It must be resolved by defining a certain amount of availability to satisfy these requirements and enable effective planning. Every government has established an index for absolute poverty, but since it is a global problem, international organizations, such as the United Nations, are developing plans to solve it. The United Nations defines the absolute poverty index as earning less than $1.25 per day, and this index measures their success in aiding those in need.
Question: What standards should be considered to define poverty in all its forms?
Rasoul Danialzadeh: As previously stated, poverty is not limited to monetary deficiency but encompasses other types of lack; therefore, any poverty measure should correspond to the requirements. Based on Abraham Maslow’s definition of the hierarchy of needs, it is possible to establish criteria for measuring poverty at each hierarchy level. In addition to physical requirements, social interactions, and security, cultural and psychological needs must also be considered. It is an essential issue because failure to satisfy any of these needs may result in complications that make meeting other needs more difficult. On the other hand, determining the precise indicators to satisfy these requirements will also help provide a more accurate comprehension of the state of society and its capabilities and deficiencies and aid in developing solutions to the problems. In any case, addressing the multifaceted issue of various types of poverty, such as financial poverty, cultural poverty, emotional poverty, health poverty, and many others, necessitates the opinion of the elites in various fields that overcoming these needs is not a simple task and requires sufficient time and expertise.
Question: Does poverty disappear by eradicating unemployment?
Rasoul Danialzadeh: While the unemployment rate is a significant factor in poverty, it is not the only cause. The absence of a proper social system and the considerable income disparity among different segments of society have contributed to a situation where unemployment is often equated with poverty. Additionally, there is an alarming rise in the number of working poor, which is cause for concern. Therefore, it is essential to create more job opportunities and focus on enhancing the income levels of those employed and implementing effective strategies to combat poverty across all sectors.
Question: What are the solutions to eradicate poverty?
Rasoul Danialzadeh: Recent sanctions have caused significant fluctuations in Iran’s economic development, making it difficult to create additional employment opportunities. The growth of the population and the demand for youthful and educated employees place additional stress on the job market. In light of the country’s natural and human resources, however, it is possible to solve these issues. A series of measures are required as a prerequisite. They can pave the way for the main poverty eradication programs, including accurately understanding the roots of poverty, identifying the poor population and their minimum income, accurately redefining social tithes, calculating the income floor for a dignified life based on the facts, adopting the necessary measures to prevent the reproduction of poverty, and developing programs to prevent the spread of the disease.
The series has to concentrate on numerous areas that improve societal and economic situations to have the most significant impact. These measures include improving the income ratio between the top and bottom deciles, enhancing the efficiency of the operating system to fight poverty, increasing the income of low deciles, expanding the social security system, redistributing taxes collected from the upper echelons to fund welfare and social services for those in need, directing investments towards production activities, removing production obstacles, revising tax policies to collect more taxes for non-productive assets instead of granting tax exemptions for productive sectors, supporting large and small entrepreneurs, and prioritizing the establishment of small, knowledge-based businesses with high employment generation potential.