What is poverty?

A chance to meet up with friends and have a chat - a general space with the freedom to talk about anything.
User avatar
Milims
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4390
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:06 pm
Location: North East

What is poverty?

Post: # 206329Post Milims »

I ask because last night I watched "How the Other Half Live" and the family that were classed as living in poverty and therefore in need of "Rich" peoples help, looked better off than we are! Modern leather sofa, laminate flooring, car, hair straighteners, fashionable clothes, gold jewelery, lap top, X box thingies etc. While we have a hand me down three piece, carpets in need of replacing (they'll have to wait a while longer!), no car (can't afford to buy one) etc. Yet we feel like millionaires! We have no debt and live within our means. Does being up to your ears in debt because you've bought your "image" on tick constitute poverty?
Let us be lovely
And let us be kind
Let us be silly and free
It won't make us famous
It won't make us rich
But damn it how happy we'll be!
Edward Monkton


Member of the Ish Weight Loss Club since 10/1/11 Started at 12st 8 and have lost 8lb so far!

User avatar
Green Aura
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 9209
Joined: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:16 pm
latitude: 58.569279
longitude: -4.762620
Location: North West Highlands

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206332Post Green Aura »

I don't know - that's the short answer.

There's the official poverty line - income below that qualifies for benefits etc.

But I agree milims that it's not just to do with money. The BBC came up here filming last year (it was broadcast on the Landward programme on BBC Scotland). Can't remember what the gist of it was but our next door neighbours were interviewed and made the memorable statement "we're all cash poor but time rich". We have time to tend our gardens, grow veg, go surfing or whatever takes our fancy but few of us have what these days pass for the expected lifestyle. Most of us have a car - being so remote it tends to be more of a necessity than a luxury. But no-one tries to "keep up with the Jones's and there are quite a few (one of our local "Jone'ss" is the Duke of Westminster!!!!).

I think the standards are all wrong - but the answer brings in politics so I'll stop there :lol:
Maggie

Never doubt that you can change history. You already have. Marge Piercy

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. Anais Nin

Shirleymouse
Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:52 pm
latitude: 52.5
longitude: -1.9
Location: West Midlands

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206336Post Shirleymouse »

Hmmm... interesting question!

I suppose if you are in debt because you've borrowed so much you cannot pay it back that must be very stressful and mean that you then have to cut out a lot of things. I think it's very easy to judge people like in the programme you described but at the same time I can see how easy it is to get into debt. Last week I did a bit of shopping and at least 2 high street shops offered me store cards, they were actually quite pushy and telling me I'd get 20% off my shopping etc which is tempting!

I think there are different sorts of poverty. There's real poverty i.e. people living in less developed countries who really do have very little, then there's poverty in the sense of lacking enjoyment/fulfillment in life and they do not necessarily go together. Channel 4 did a brilliant programme earlier this year about the Dharavi slum in India where people are really poor in terms of material goods, there is sewage in the street, disease, hunger and so on and yet there is this amazing sense of community. Everyone is busy, many people work recycling waste into useable goods and many of the people seem content with what they have. The authorities want to clear away the slums and move people into modern flats but the locals are protesting because this will break up the community and destroy all the small factories and things they have set up.

So no, I don't think poverty is just to do with money either!

TheGoodEarth
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 381
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2009 1:48 pm
Location: Near Perth, Scotland

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206340Post TheGoodEarth »

Didn't see the show but I would class living in slums with no benefit system not knowing where your next meal is coming from as poverty. Sitting in your council house with satelite dish on the wall and car in the drive sponging off the state because you are too lazy to go out to work isn't poverty. I even saw a big issue seller the other day chatting away on his mobile phone whilst smoking a fag! The poorest in our society can't be compared to the poorest in other societies where there is true poverty.
No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be stationery

User avatar
homegrown
Living the good life
Living the good life
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:03 am
Location: North Canterbury, NZ, somewhere between reality and heaven

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206344Post homegrown »

To me there is poverty and their is being cash poor, true poverty is when you have litlle to no food, little to no resources and little chance of improving your lot without help, you can be cash poor and still live The Good Life.

sometimes I think poverty is being so invested in creating an image that you spend money you don't have and are too busy earning money to pay it back and cannot enjoy life.

My wife and I did away with credit cards years ago, if we can't pay cash for it or barter we simply don't get it.
Our remote ancestors said to their mother Earth, "We are yours."
Modern humanity has said to Nature, "You are mine."
The Green Man has returned as the living face of the whole earth so that through his mouth we may say to the universe, "We are one."

Author Unknown

grahamhobbs
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1212
Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: London

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206353Post grahamhobbs »

TheGoodEarth wrote:Didn't see the show but I would class living in slums with no benefit system not knowing where your next meal is coming from as poverty. Sitting in your council house with satelite dish on the wall and car in the drive sponging off the state because you are too lazy to go out to work isn't poverty.
I'm familiar with Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world. What struck me when I first went there was not just the poverty, much of it is similar to the slums of Mumbai, but the industriousness of everyone, no one was sat around idly wasting time, everyone was doing something.
It is very easy to condemn people who live on state benefits, but in a way people here have virtually no opportunity to do anything if no one will give you a 'job'. In Bangladesh you see people sat on the pavement selling a few oranges from a basket, you can't do that here. Here to set up in business you have to comply with all sorts of regulations and restrictions, you need money to get started and either a lot of skill or cunning to succeed.
Bangladesh is like Victorian England, why did we form the welfare state, not because the State or the rich were willingly generous. No it was because the poor rose up and fought the inequalities in society, the working class in large industries became organised and demanded change. There was the revolution in Russia, the general strike in this country, the rich and the state had to adapt to this, some might say they had to buy off the trouble with the introduction of the Welfare State.
But for all our taxes and the welfare state, a whole section of our society has been kept poor, the inequalties of rich and poor have not been closed. Welfare keeps the poor off the streets but denies them virtually any opportunity.
Now the Conservative propoganda is in full swing, everyone has to face cuts, the scoungers can't continue to get away with it. I'm a builder in London, working mainly for the better off. After xmas up until the budget there was very little work. After the budget the well off realised the cuts weren't going to affect them, they were safe with the conservatives, and suddenly there is loads of work again. Meanwhile the poor in London reliant on housing benefit to pay the high rents are going to be out on their ear, evicted because the benefit is being cut to a maximum of £400/month for a 3 bed house (less for smaller flats) - there is no where in London where you can get such a place.

Susie
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 806
Joined: Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:29 pm
Location: Cambridge
Contact:

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206357Post Susie »

I used to work with people on low incomes and I definitely think there are people living in abject poverty in this country. But yes, it's not just about money - it always seemed to me to be about lack of power (often because of no financial cushion, but also because people with no money are treated differently by society. I'm sorry if that's a controversial thing to say, not trying to be political).

:flower:
blog
shop
that's it ;-)

prison break fan
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 907
Joined: Sun Jul 13, 2008 6:44 am
Location: West Sussex

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206358Post prison break fan »

Really interesting Question, I think everyone has a different view of what constitutes poverty. I don't think it exists as such in this country. Most of us have enough to eat and a roof over our heads, unlike other parts of the world. I think there is a great poverty of spirit about, so many people unable to see the joy in the simple things in life. All the time wanting more. Also there is a generation of elderly people who are too proud to claim what they are entitled to, and suffer hardship because of that. But just listen to the news and count your blessings that you were born in Great Britain! pbf.

User avatar
boboff
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1809
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:29 am
Location: Gunnislake,Cornwall

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206360Post boboff »

Milms you raise a question very close to my heart.

The fact that people on benefits and low paid jobs seem to have Flat screen TV's, new mobiles,X-boxs, Wii's, new laptops, latest MP3 player, have caravan holidays, drink, smoke, etc etc and I don't, has often been a source of thought.

I choose not to borrow money, except on the house, and I choose to save money where and when I can. I buy 2nd hand if there is not a real incentive to buy new, and I watch the housekeeping. The latest luxuries therefore do not come into the house.

I like to think that I have a "rainy day" attitude to money and things, and these people do not, they have a "it'll be alright in the end" attitude.

Which one is right? In some ways they have the right attitude to living life for today, in most ways though I think that always having enough "saved" to cope with lifes emergencies is important.

The benefit system in the country really means we have no adult poverty, where adults abuse their children by not providing for them, I beleive we still have child poverty.

The only real poverty in this country I have seen is with "illegal immigrants" who contrary to the Mail & Suns opinion, do not get allot of benefits. They get to share 3 to a bedsit and get £15 a week of food vouchers. They therefore find it more acceptable to work for minimum wage. I was lucky enough to employ many Kurds from around 2002, and was amazed how poor they were to start with, and how earning £140 a week were able to save and get new clothes, cars and phones, and they apprecaited us giving them the work. This "jeremy kyle" generation want it all for nothing, moan and complain when they don't get it and then pro-create to get more benefits...............

However I feel very lucky to be in the position I am in, and would not ever want to change it.
Millymollymandy wrote:Bloody smilies, always being used. I hate them and they should be banned.
No I won't use a smiley because I've decided to turn into Boboff, as he's turned all nice all of a sudden. Grumble grumble.
http://boboffs.blogspot.co.uk/

User avatar
Stonehead
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 2432
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2006 2:31 pm
Location: Scotland
Contact:

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206364Post Stonehead »

All I have to do to get some perspective on poverty is to consider my extended family over the past couple of generations.

Many of them crammed two or three adults and half a dozen or more children into two-up, two-down terraces or tiny tenements. The fortunate ones had cold running water, the unfortunate ones didn't. Toilets were an outhouse, with pans beneath. Heating was by coal scavenged from where it had fallen off wagons leaving the mines. Everyone aged 13 or older worked—for a pittance and in often horrific conditions.

When my grandfather was two years old, his father was killed in a fight. His widow found herself destitute, living in a slab hut (think log cabin) with six young children, miles from the nearest town. They survived. Just. My grandfather went down the mines at 13 to work as a spragger, which involved standing on the rear wagon in a chain of wagons as they descended into the mine under gravity and jumping on the brake lever to slow the wagons to a safe speed. He worked in many hard and dangerous jobs over the years, but still found it a struggle to support his own wife and children—some of whom had rickets.

As a child, a cousin of my grandfather lived in a house built of salvaged timber and corrugated iron, which only had a wooden floor in half of it. The rest was beaten earth. The family was even more destitute than my great-grandmother's, foraging on rubbish tips for clothes, tools, furniture and anything else useful. Eventually, the cousin was taken into care with his brother—but the actuality was that they were used as unpaid skivvies, cleaners and labourers. They were both under 10 years of age.

On my mother's side, one family sold their young cousins as bonded servants to help pay bills left with the uncle died. Further back, there were people who were sentenced to seven years transportation for stealing things like turnips, bread or a hot pie.

Then there were the crofters and tenant farmers who lived in one or two-roomed "houses", that were damp, mouldering and filled with smoke from open fires. They worked from well before dawn to well after dusk, their teeth were rapidly worn down from eating coarse-home ground flour and meal, and they died from TB, cholera, dysentry, emphysema, measles, polio, typhoid fever and the like. They died in gruesome industrial and farming accidents—crushed by wagons, crushed by locomotives, crushed by cave-ins, scalded by molten lead, seared by molten iron, frozen trying to bring in cattle, mangled by unsafe machinery, and so on. Many of the women died in childbirth. Between a quarter and a half of their children died under the age of 10.

As a result of that and more, from my perspective I see very little poverty in the developed world and consider myself to be very well off indeed.
Image

User avatar
Bikil
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Jerry - Bit higher than newbie
Posts: 47
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:28 pm
latitude: 40° 46' N
longitude: 111° 58' W
Location: Salt Lake City, UT USA

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206367Post Bikil »

"we're all cash poor but time rich"

I love this quote, it really says what I am feeling we have right now. And not only are we time rich, but we are trying to use that time wisely. We spend it with each other, we go on walks, we read, we do so many things that others with that amount of time would not do.
It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
- Douglas Adams

User avatar
StripyPixieSocks
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 1175
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2008 8:34 pm
Location: Carnyorth, Cornwall

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206368Post StripyPixieSocks »

I would class poverty as not being able to afford the essentials but then what do you class as essential... it varies from person to person.

Certainly according to the government a TV is essential... I don't have nor don't want one but then even if I did, I couldn't afford one nor the licence to own one in the first place.

We only have a car because I won it on e-Bay for £10 (yes, really) but then Pat does all the repairs on that himself no matter how hard (like replacing all the brake pipes himself)

We have £10 a fortnight to ourselves but that usually goes on things to make for the house or to make clothes.

We live on £3000 a YEAR as I'm currently disabled and Pat is still on Incapacity benefit until he has had the complete all clear after visiting the main hospital for more in-depth tests just to make sure.

I have jewellery because I make it myself

Life is incredibly hard money wise but yet we're happy... and indeed even if we won the lottery tomorrow we'd still live a simple life, we'd just have more money to make things with lol

It always amazes me that some people claiming poverty have HUGE TV's, the most up-to date fashionable 'label' clothes, are able to go out every night to the pub, have immaculately decorated houses with leather sofas, two cars etc etc etc... but then they're probably up to their eyes in debt and things on tick.

There is no simple answer I don't think!

User avatar
Milims
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 4390
Joined: Mon Oct 16, 2006 9:06 pm
Location: North East

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206371Post Milims »

Thank you for all your answers and interest in this topic. You've brought up some really interesting and thought provoking points. From what has been said, in my view anyway, it seems that poverty today is not so much about the hard biting deprivation that Stoney describes his family as having lived in, but more about financial misbehaviour and inappropriate prioritisation. If the government deem that having a television is a necessity it's no wonder people live in "poverty" when they are told by the powerful that consumerism is the norm!
Let us be lovely
And let us be kind
Let us be silly and free
It won't make us famous
It won't make us rich
But damn it how happy we'll be!
Edward Monkton


Member of the Ish Weight Loss Club since 10/1/11 Started at 12st 8 and have lost 8lb so far!

Russian Doll
A selfsufficientish Regular
A selfsufficientish Regular
Posts: 706
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 8:55 pm

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206428Post Russian Doll »

i live on a sinkhole council estate and are classed as being poor not only by the goverment but my neighbours etc....

my neighbours think im poor because because i have second hand furniture...a large but old style tv...the kids have a wii and ds but they were xmas presents and birthday pressies in one and the they all share them...we dont drink or go out although we both smoke...we also dont wear dsigner clothing and all of us our quite happy spending sundays dossing in jeans and getting dirty at the local park

so as i have not got a flat screen tv etc and the kids god forbid have to share the wii and ds we are classed as poor by neighbours who are on benifits and prefer to use companies like brighthouse to buy there furniture and electricals from

my views on this yeah i may have a house full of second hand stuff but i have four kids and two animals and id prefer to let them relax in there home rather than fretting about the sofa having a claw mark on or a grubby hand print...no the kids dont have designer clothes but hey you cant build a mud castle in gucci and if anyone has ever had success in swinging on a rope swing without ripping versce let me knwo

i love the phrase cash poor time rich because i am def time rich

one of the best memories i had from childhood also involved going out and getting dirty with my mum and laughing not sitting in front of our tele

Shirleymouse
Barbara Good
Barbara Good
Posts: 132
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:52 pm
latitude: 52.5
longitude: -1.9
Location: West Midlands

Re: What is poverty?

Post: # 206460Post Shirleymouse »

The idea of being "time rich" really appeals to me. The only time my house is tidy is in the school holidays and I've really enjoyed catching up with friends, reading, walking to places etc over the last few weeks - this time next week I'll be back at work and living in a tip once again!

I agree with Graham that there are many people who would like to be at work but who cannot get work because of the way the system operates. At uni, I studied a module on local communities and the lecturer had the most brilliant ideas about community trade systems. The way it would work is that if someone had a skill e.g. a roofer he could repair his neighbour's roof but instead of paying him money they would repay him in hours. For example if it took him 5 hours to fix the roof they would owe him 5 hours of baby sitting or gardening or something. If we could adopt systems like this, people would be much better off in terms of having the things they need without the financial cost involved. It would also give the opportunity for people to use those skills and get to know their neighbourhood. Seems like common sense to me!!

Post Reply