What is Poverty?
The concept of Poverty or the way poverty is perceived in developed and developing countries are not the same. For developed countries poverty is a personal state, while in developing countries it is more profound due to lack of finances. In developed or rich countries theories of poverty is more about increasing an individuals’ or a family’s pocket money whereas in developing countries the poverty issue is intertwined with other socio-cultural aspects of life which are presently acting as obstacles for development. For example, in the United States poverty is about personality characteristics such as laziness and/or educational level, etc. In developing nations, on the other hand, poverty is more about socio-cultural characteristics. Since development is regarded as the only means with which poverty can be reduced, some of the poverty theorists argue that the overall mindset of the nation plays a crucial role in their development. In some of the developing countries it is really hard to bring about any change because of the socio-cultural settings there. Thus cultural resistance in turn will have grave impacts on the process of development and the development itself. After all, development is all about making decisions.
Other theorists of poverty argue that by just labeling people as poor, they tend to forget their human characteristics; that is to strive and overcome. This nations signifies that poverty is a like a gravity force which keeps pulling people into it and in doing so absorbs human ability to get himself out of it. Recently the Secretary of the Congress Party in India was quoted as saying that Poverty is a state of mind. It is more than just not having money in your pockets.
Considering this concept based on academic literatures which have been written so far will identify two separate aspects of poverty: I) Absolute Poverty & II) Relative Poverty.
Absolute poverty will be identified when the person is not able to meet his or her basic needs and this inability creates many difficulties such as health problem. Basically people would be known as absolute poor when they are below poverty line. Poverty line is the least income that a person is able to meet his or her basic needs with that.
Relative poverty has a comparative concept and it is a solution for social scholars to overcome on obstacles which they have while measuring absolute poverty. According to relative poverty’s concept, a person will be defined as poor when he/she is not able to fulfill the life standards which are common in that community.