Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Apologies for butting in, but I do have a question.

What makes a person "poor"?

If I have a job, house, car, beautiful partner etc. and then lose it all and end up with a mountain of debt I'll never pay off, as long as the state allows me (or has to give me by law) a roof, heating, food allowance, clothing allowance...then I'm not poor on your definition, I think, as "poor" is destitution--no access to reliable food source, polluted water, no access to sanitation...

Have I got that right?

I think that's a valuable measure of poverty, it's one that basically states that "the West" is analagous to the middle-classes in victorian times--globally we are no many (numerically), and internally we have our miseries, but the "real" misery is among the majority (numerically) "working class" who live today in "the poor countries" (Niger, Chad, etc..)

But going back to the person who lost everything (in the West), they're still "poor" in any useful meaning of the word, in that they are the opposite of what they used to be ("well off", I suppose)..."poor" equals "badly off" and "badly off" is....relative?

So now I wonder if the argument here isn't maybe about what "poor" means, when "poor" has both "absolute" and "relative" meanings.

Given the "absolute" meaning (let's say less that 5% of the western popluations are "really" poor), I think there is then a question of where our "richness" comes from, and the "left wing" (heh!) attitude is that it comes from appropriation: the rich appropriate the resrouces of the rest--through coercion if necessary--and that relates back to pensions because the U.S. trend (he guesses wildly) is for "poverty" (access to goods and services, let's say) to be growing--not to "third world" standards--that would be a complete collapse given starting points, but certainly...ach...I'm wildly off topic I'm sure, but I think....there's a confusion here where I understand your definition of poverty...and in a sense I agree that most western "poverty" is psychological rather than physical--and yet, I think there is real poverty: e.g. living next to a motorway in an area full of violence and despair, where the school is also full of violence and despair, and the only jobs take twelve hours to do and if I do one I have mostly no money...'coz if you can't call the misery and lack-of-hope much more than 5% of a population might feel at their predicaments...and now I wonder if 5% or so is a valid figure?  If I were to take London, are there about 5% who are basically screwed from the off?

Ach....maybe I no makea ze sense, but...well....if I had a point to make it's up in dem words somewhere.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 05:54:14 AM EST
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