To see what other people thought of various poverty-related issues, our team created a blog (in essence an online journal that allows users to comment on the entries) at http://adollaraday.blogspot.com. On this site, we have collected several of the best blog entries and comments, and placed them in various sections. In these blog sections, posts refers to original blog entries, while comments refer to user comments to these entries.
This blog section contains one post, on the definition of poverty.
Poverty Overview Post #1: Definitions of Poverty
The Post (October 9, 2005):
Unfortunately for economists and humanitarians the world over, there is no concrete definition of poverty. This means that it is very hard to accurately measure and assess poverty as well, because no one really knows exactly what poverty is.
Comment #1: (Respondent #1)
Your comment brings to mind a widely used health measure that is both valid and reliable as well as subjective.
Comment #2: (Respondent #2)
Poverty is many things to many people.
Comment #3: (Respondent #3)
I've read many different definitions of poverty, many of them highly technical and far removed from the people experiencing it.
Comment #4: (Respondent #4)
I don’t have a better definition of poverty to offer, but I can suggest a different perspective: Hernando de Soto, the Peruvian economist and development expert, has made much progress by focusing on what he’s called the “undocumented” or “invisible” assets of the poor...
Comment #5: (Respondent #5)
It's even a broader issue than you raise. Thinking about poverty as an absolute measure (i.e., $1 or $2/day) does not provide sufficient context about the surroundings.
Comment #6: (Respondent #6)
It is true that there is poverty within the US, and some of it is quite bad. Unfortunately, the situation in the undeveloped world is much worse than it is in the US.
Comment #7: (Respondent #7)
I agree that the scale of fixing poverty in Africa and Asia is, statistically, much bigger than in the US. But I would ask you to think of the problem as an 'and' issue, not an 'either/or' issue.
Comment #8: (Respondent #8)
Sometimes, different definitions of poverty are used for different purposes but for very good reasons.