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On June 16th, 2012, Posted by Author No Comments

What is Poverty?

According to the United Nations definition, Poverty is a deprivation of options and prospects and is a breach of social self-respect that is the right of all human beings. Poverty and deprivation result in the inconsistency in society as the poor are unable to play a part and contribute to society in an effective manner.

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When a family is unable to resource the basic means of living in the modern society or to satisfy the basic needs such as food, clothing and shelter and proper access to education and medical facilities, poverty is the causal factor.

Individuals or families suffering from poverty not only have no means of livelihood or financial security, they also face other problems such as incapacity, uncertainty and lack of confidence, and also societal segregation. The borderline subsistence levels of their lives and the unhygienic and minimal surroundings that they live in is prone to endemic diseases and violence.

How is Poverty measured?

povertyPoverty is usually categorised as absolute poverty and relative poverty. The World Bank classifies all the people who live on less than US$ 1.25 a day as living in absolute poverty. Relative poverty relates to the inequality in the income index. The World Bank index shows that the number of people living on less than US$ 1.25 in the developing countries has come down from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 1.29 billion in 2008. Or in other words, while those in absolute poverty were 43 per cent of the population, this has come down to 22.4 per cent in 2008.

What are the Causes of Poverty?

There could be many causes attributed to poverty and different people look at these causes from different perspectives. For instances, there are those who accuse the people living in poverty as being lazy and not taking any initiative to come out of their sorry state. Others too blame the poverty stricken people for their own predicament and say that it is because of the bad decisions they made. However, the government also has a hand in it. Without the efficient and progressive developmental policies of the government, the country cannot move out of its moribund state and poverty cannot be mitigated or eradicated.

But there are also other causes that are also causes that are seldom discussed or brought to the forefront as being the important reasons of poverty. Among these are the effects of globalisation and the decisions and policies made with a view to increasing the reach and power of the international entities and global actors such as the governments of the dominant countries, multinational corporations and even powerful individuals. Dissenting voices say that these policies and decisions are thrust upon the poor countries and their people and they get poorer and powerless.

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