Definitions of poverty
Since 14th century the new group of people emerged and called themselves as “poor”. Despite the fact that they had freedom, there were dependent on their work and wages with an eye to live, because without employment they were likely to die, not satisfying their basic needs. Later in the 19th century narrower conception of poverty was created. A social reformer Booth (1904) claimed that poor were not only people who were isolated from the society, but also whose experience and position was different and separate from the whole population. This phenomenon can also be associated with inequality. For example, when people do not have enough power, money, or have lower status than others they can be considered as poor. In addition, poverty can be related with material conditions in lives of people, with their access to and control over them. Nowadays in modern societies deprived can be seen as the core category representing poverty. This means that it portrays people who merit assistance from others or the government in order to continue their existence. Joseph Rowntree Foundation (2015) claims that poverty is when resources of a person cannot satisfy his/her basic needs. So, people can use a definition of poverty which they think is the most appropriate for them. But the question arises: “Why there are so many different interpretations?” I think it happens because of measures which should be taken into account while you choose your type of definition.
Measures of poverty
As I have said before, measures of poverty can be various. Firstly, we can identify the poverty line, as it was proposed by Novak (1995), and consider that poor are people who own less than the others have or less than specific level of income. Secondly, level of poverty can be shown through life expectancy or standards of health in different countries. It is obvious that in places where people are healthier they live longer, and standards of life are higher. Life expectancy is lower when people are poor, because they always struggle for their life and have less opportunities to live longer. Thirdly, certain sum of money can show that someone is whether poor or rich. This means that for one person $x is poverty, while for other it is $y. Fourthly, levels of poverty also can be different among European and African countries. Third world faces “real” poverty, when people do not have enough food to eat, or water to drink, or even clothes to wear. These countries should be provided with the special help from other states, because they cannot overcome this situation. On contrary, poverty, for example, in European countries is not so catastrophic as people have some basic products for their lives. Fifthly, poverty can be not only associated with money or some simple goods, but with insecurity and powerlessness. Some people are in the situation, when they do not know what will be in future, how they will survive till the end of the week, sometimes they have no hopes to escape from everyday struggling for life, and it shows how they are defenceless and desperate. But despite this variety of different measures, there are causes of poverty, which can also influence one’s definition of this scene.
Causes of poverty
The most primitive interpretation can be that poverty is cased by lack of money. However, this is not true. Poverty is a complicated relationship among people and between them. According to it, whole society is divided into certain groups, but they cannot fully explain this phenomenon. The creation of poverty can be associated with class relationships among capitalists. While the process of disintegration of feudal society happened, the class of “free” laborers appeared, who sold their labor-power in order to get some wage. The new group of people emerged, who called themselves as “poor”. They had to work because otherwise they would not have something to eat or drink as they were dependent on their wage and securing work. Also, poverty was produced by gender division of society. Women were always poorer than men as they core function was to grow children, to care about their husband, a house and etc. Then some time has passed, and the world has changed. Some countries were developed more than others, because of innovations, technologies or strong governmental system. Other countries which did not reach a certain level of wealth were named as “the third world”. They did not have high level of life, a lot of resources, stable government, and the situation with poverty was worse there. On the other hand, some people are sure that poverty is a thing which cannot be overcome by any measures. So, in the next section we will have a look at some governmental attempts to reduce poverty.
Definitions of poverty