Poverty

Poverty is a deficiency.

I have been asked to define poverty as I am of the belief that we need to reduce world poverty. Poverty is challenging to define with any specificity due to perspective being key to ‘AN’ understanding for a definition and so aside from the $1.90 per day border to extreme poverty we read about now, I will try a more generalized idea before pursuing a more specific definition. Poverty is a deficiency.

poverty is a deprivation of time…a lack of autonomy

Poverty sits on the one side of equality. Wealth is an excess on the other side of equality. I believe that the action behind this idea is time. I believe that poverty is a deprivation of time that some would call a freedom but I would like to describe it as autonomy. To me poverty is then defined as a lack of autonomy.

a minimum standard of living should be recognized and realized as we globally approach equality

Within this scope I believe a more specific definition can be explored reaching closer to the idea that a minimum standard of living should be recognized and realized as we globally approach equality.

culture defies the ability to create equality in nearly every aspect

The major challenge in doing so is recognizing that culture defies the ability to create equality in nearly every aspect. In fact, culture almost assuredly requires any creation of equality to be that of cultural autonomy and in this sense, there remains poverty within each culture. I refuse to suggest that there are correct cultures and incorrect cultures but I do suggest that within each culture there is an equality that can be reached and within this scope we can establish minimum standards of living by culture. I recognize that there are groups and international organizations working toward these ends so I’m simply seeking to explore how we can move more quickly in the direction of global equality and a severe reduction in poverty. To me this begins with education and education in cultural diversity. The more anyone can understand a culture, the easier it is to understand how to work within the culture to attain equality. I believe this is challenging to conceptualize as I do not wish to bring a change to a culture that isn’t the culture’s own, but with each person added to a group of philosophers or thinkers, the greater the chances of discovering or recognizing opportunities for growth, development, and change. This is why to begin, a great test would be to recognize equality at home and abroad; certainly there is no shortage of poverty within the United States which needs to be reconciled (and we should continue to work on this) but perhaps there are other cultures in other parts of the world that have greater inequality than here.

how dare we not help when there is greater need elsewhere…how dare we help elsewhere when there is still need at home

There are always two sides; on the one side, how dare we not help when there is greater need elsewhere. On the other side, how dare we help elsewhere when there is still need at home. I believe this is in large part why as part of international organizations we have a strong obligation to participate and at the national level we need to recognize our neighbors and communities and try to work at the municipal levels as well as the state levels to accomplish a strong reduction of poverty as defined most simply and generally as insufficient autonomy. I will continue with the specifics of autonomy in a following piece.