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Absolute and Relative Poverty Essay

The article I chose for this assignment is titled Absolute and Relative poverty. The author talks about the difference between the two terms, likewise defining them as clearly as possible as if to ensure that the reader is clear about what the difference between being absolutely poor and being relatively poor. The World Bank Group is the institution that mostly deals with the global issues of poverty advocating neoliberalism, western democracy, and open markets and structural adjustments to the economy.

This article seems to be a research about Absolute and Relative Poverty. It is a research mainly because of the extensive lists of references and reading suggestions that she noted at the end of the article. Hence, the kind of research that the author used was by using available data and existing sources, primarily the World Bank. For those people who are attempting to change the dynamics of poverty, they thought they understood it, thinking it was fairly simple, but in hindsight complicated.

To understand the dynamics of poverty, there are three interrelated terms to consider; (1) absolute poverty, (2) relative poverty, and (3) poverty threshold. Absolute poverty, as defined by the World Bank Group, is living under one dollar a day. People that are living in absolute poverty cannot even meet the basic necessities to live. Sad but true. And many are found in LDCs (Least Developed Countries). Relative poverty, “measures how people on the lowest rungs of the income ladder compare to the remainder of the population. Poverty threshold measures the income that a society needs to even live the minimal standard of living. The Great Depression followed by World War II, incapacitated the economy so much so that poverty was in the rise. World Bank was established in 1945 in Bretton Woods, NH whose goal was to eradicate poverty. In the twenty first century, the World Bank and the United Nations created the Millenium Development Goals (MDG), who likewise was created to eliminate poverty by the year 2015.

Jeffrey Sach heads the MDG but his critics are biased on his belief that the only way to eliminate poverty is through economic growth. Additionally his critics believe that too much attention into resolving absolute poverty loses its effectiveness if relative poverty is dismissed when it is just as important in solving poverty. Another dimension of absolute and relative poverty is globalization. Some researchers believe that globalization has contributed to poverty while some think of the opposite. Ironically, neither side can rove otherwise. The World Bank claims that in 1990 there was a modest decline in poverty, which means that globalization is truly not an indicator of alleviating poverty. Further there is no standardized method of measurements to validate the effectiveness of globalization on fixing absolute and relative poverty. In our textbook, Chapter 11 talks about poverty in America. In my opinion poverty in America is different. There is a huge disparity in what it means to be poor in the United States and being poor in LDCs.

Poverty in America is more like subsidized because there are so many outlets and organizations that help the poor people. Non-profit organizations like homeless shelters operated by volunteers provide food and shelter and welfare programs that provide financial help. I think that poverty whether absolute or relative is a tough road to conquer. Too many people in the world are extremely poor. Whether it is society, our religion, our culture, or our geography that influences poverty, it is in the interest of ALL humankind to work hard toward an effective solution to eradicate poverty.


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