Poverty Vs Poverty Essay

810 Words 4 Pages
For centuries, man has created maxims to define poverty, ranging from the notion that “one man’s trash is another’s treasure” to the belief that “a hungry man is not a free man”, but when pressed to objectively define poverty, the issue becomes considerably more complex. While one might think that globalization has allowed for the establishment of a universal standard of poverty, it would appear otherwise as currencies carry different purchasing power and costs of living vary both inter- and intra-nations. Though the past few decades have marked the creation of several tools to determine poverty, there remains a lack of consensus regarding what entails the label of “poverty”. Further complicating the matter are sub-divisions within the notion …show more content…
The former looks into relative and absolute poverty in terms of adjusted income, that is 2 or fewer dollars, while the latter examines potential and the lack of opportunities to better one’s life. Both systems have been widely used and are typically referred to when describing underdeveloped regions or the state of poverty many live in. Though some may stress the differences and point to the ways in which each system’s views attempts to “make sense” of poverty, the truth of the matter is that both are focused around the same principle, which is the inherent inability for a poor individual to succeed. Proponents of the material model will cite quantifiable figures, and claim that their poverty diminishes the amount of healthcare they receive or food they can buy, whilst supporters of the capability approach might stress the importance of an individual lacking the “resources to generate opportunities” to better themselves (Defining Poverty, September …show more content…
For example, in terms of raw income, what is considered under the poverty line in the United States would have been the salary of an upper-middle class individual in my home country of Morocco. Due to a weaker economy and considerably lower cost of living, the minimum salary in the nation is just over $1.25 an hour, which would be slave wages stateside. As previously mentioned, culture also plays a significant role in the defining of poverty. While many seek to create an objective figure from which they can determine the “wealth” an individual possesses, be it material or potential, poverty is often culturally and socially relative. For example, while someone living in a one room apartment in the favelas by themselves might fall under the category of “impoverished”, vis-à-vis others living with dozens of relatives in a similar space that individual is wealthy. Furthermore, as the capability approach tries to address, poverty extends beyond what one doesn’t have to addressing what opportunities a person will not have. This is crucial because often times individuals who are in a financial state of poverty possess the desire to work themselves out of poverty and to a better socio-economic standing, but without any true opportunities they are forced to accept whatever they can

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