After spending 4 years overseas in service to Uncle Sam in such places as the Middle East, Far East, and Southeast Asia, I returned to hear people sing the woes of the starving homeless. When I pointed out that America's homeless was better off than much of the disadvantaged in foreign countries I was called heartless, cruel, and a liar. But the fact remains true to this day, America's homeless are much better off than many of the poor people in 3rd world countries.
When my oldest daughter had the opportunity to spend a semester as an exchange student in Puebla, Mexico, I told her if she got the chance she should try to visit the people who live on the outskirts of the community. One of her trips took her to the city dump where she observed and talked to entire families searching the garbage for bottles, metal, or anything that might be sold, traded, or bartered to get something to eat. She was told that often the families she found searching the thrash heaps went 2-3 days at a time before finding enough materials to buy something to eat. She also noticed that their homes were made of discarded junk.
Needless to say her eyes were opened once she overcame her shock and revultion.
Homes of discarded junk is the closest that the American homeless come to matching the poverty of the people in 2nd and 3rd world countries. (I would classify Mexico as a 2nd world country)
I would venture to say, that if the world economy continues on it's present course (insurmountable deficit spending), most of the world middle and under class in 1st world countires will be forced backward into a mid 1800's type of life style. Better have your shovels ready for digging both a well and a privy. It will, however cure the obesity problem, hungry people who must spend all of their energy obtaining their next meal won't have to being fat.