Just finished reading Dr Bart Ehrman's God's Problem about the ol' theodicy issue. It is an interesting mix of analysis of how different Biblical authors view the problem of suffering and Dr Ehrman's own views on the matter.
In the last chapter, Ehrman sums up and points out that some suffering in the world is avoidable. When he states that the income and goods in the world could be redistributed if we had the will I was thrown back in my mind to my days in Junior Achievement and my attendance of the National Convention in Terre Haute, Indiana. One speaker claimed that if the incomes of the millionaires in the US were redistributed it would amount to such-and-such an amount, implying that it would be a pittance. I don't know if this was true but I have noticed that people who make arguments about how happy the poor are or how money can't buy happiness or how a few thousand dollars isn't going to make a difference to the poor, these people NEVER offer to trade places with the poor. If being poor is so satisfying and so little different from being affluent, why do these people pursue affluence so eagerly. The same argument goes for school funding. If "throwing money at the problem" is not an excuse for taking no action at all, then let's just reduce the school budgets for their precious children to the level of Alabama's Black Belt or the Mountains of Honduras. There is a certain minimal level of food, medical care and educational resources below which life is really hard or a child's education will be incomplete. There is probably a point where "enough" needs are being met and anything else is just tennis teams but of the worlds 6 or so billion people, how many are getting enough.
I am no saint and am haunted by my own laxity, greed and inability to do anything but, shit, at least acknowledge the issue people!