Poverty Vis Vis Development Education Essay

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This assignation focuses on very intrinsic segment in development studies. Poverty is a huge issue which is literally being manifested around us, as we speak. The matter, is certainly one which doesnt have any certainty in numbers or reality, but surely enough, we don't know what inclination it could lead to, due to the complexity in itself, and the ways in which it is connected in the years that follow.

Certainly, Poverty and Development are by conviction interrelated concepts, and this could be seen in that fact that countries are separated in developing and developed countries when poverty is being measured. Also according to Alan Thomas, poverty is an "age-old concern", while development could be most observed and associated with the second half of the 20th century, mostly called the "'era of development" [1] . This period can also be conceptualized as a post-war period, which gave rise to many factors which contributed mainly to an enhanced developing process around the world, which in turn affected poverty in numerous ways which are unconceivable.

One must first understand the definition and interrelatedness to development. When defining poverty, tackling the problem is principally imperative, since it is intrinsically a problem for the world as a whole that must be solved. There is although a general agreement on this, and according to the World Development 1990 report; it connects the aim of development with poverty:

'Reducing poverty is the fundamental objective of economic development' [2] 

Alan Thomas in his book outlines that we must understand it as a surrounding variation, and not just a simple ameliorative change in society, it mainly follows societal and individual levels, and in a sense it is a creative change. There is also the distinct view that development could also be conceptualized as efforts for improvement by agencies [3] ; which are mainly divisible into international organizations and national ones which mainly transfer resources to help these countries. [4] One famous organization is the International Committee of the Red Cross which protects non-combatants and military armies in armed conflicts mainly for humanitarian aid [5] 

Poverty is a global issue which affects us all somehow or another and thus one must understand such issue whether or not it interests him or not. An important point is that poverty has always been present in one way or another in a nation, such as in Malta, where in the past decade we have seen a rise in economic growth, but beforehand Malta had high relative poverty rates, which ranged from 10% to 15% of the families, which could be translated to 11,500 families that were poor [6] still relative poverty, carries on as one of the consequences of inequality, but Malta has been keeping relative poverty at bay [7] and some argue that this occurred due to expanding development and unequal distribution of wealth in societies, which characterized the divide between developed and developing countries;

The term developing country is used for political correctness to make them sound less inferior to other countries. In my opinion poverty is really an alarm to us all, since these people are part of us, part of one collective group, that of human kind.

It is really a shame to see that 28 percent of all children in developing countries are evaluated to be stunted due to the fact that they do not have sufficient resources to provide for basic needs, that we all take for granted, such as nutrition and education; and as a matter of fact 2.2 million children die every year since immunization is not primarily delivered, and over 22,000 children die every day [8] silently with no recognition or attention whatsoever due to this atrocity; that is approximately a death of a child every 4 seconds, these are a few examples of how poverty manifests in our corrupt globalized society. [9] 

Poverty: Definition, Implication and the world around us

In order to give a specific meaning to the word poverty, surely it depends on the framework of thought we have in our heads; that means, the concept, this can be seen in the fact that many conceptualize poverty in totally differing ways, and thus many have distinctive definitions of the word poverty. This differential conceptualizing of words which is always happening in us humans, leads to the fact that people will eventually calculate poverty through methods which are also different in accordance with that concept at mind [10] 

Poverty has been said to be conceptualised from the absolute to the relative for whom I am going to explain further on in this paper. From this sentence one can understand that there is an array of definitions around the world. The most basic definition that many people acknowledge is the Subsistence poverty definition, where it will generally put emphasis on the capacity to survive [11] in the basic sense of it, we understand it as having the basic necessities and needs that are needed to sustain human life and obviously growth; these needs are most of the time natural. This definition according to the book concerned, says that it will put assurance, on the measurement of poverty that it will yield the smallest possible figure. One can also say that the basic needs definition is a differential model of the subsistence one. Poverty is also calculated through the daily caloric intake, which some argue that it is a bad way to calculate poverty, because normally except in extreme circumstances, poor people rarely die of starvation. [12] 

A person needs food not only to help him to live life, but also to preserve a certain average for himself with regards to nutrition. Especially due to the fact that many malnutrition problems consequently lead to a meagre healthiness, and also affecting work-capacity levels. There were also attempts in the past, such as the work of Seebohm Rowntree, that have managed to provide a list of all the necessary things a human being needs to sustain himself, subsistence so to speak. [13] In his book 'Poverty - A study of Town Life' which was later known as the sociological survey [14] which was circulated in 1901, it shocked society entirely, by arguing and explaining about the reality of the horrifying features of poverty that many people that at those times were experiencing. He was the first person to create the phrase 'poverty line', with his conclusion in his exploration being that half of the working population were alive in poverty in some way or another, although his theory fought many difficulties.

One important discovery he made in those times, was that the shocking results reflected that many breadwinners were working, that was alright, but the scary fact about this is that with the wage the normal breadwinner was entitled, couldn't be enough to care for the needs of the whole family. One very important element of the whole survey is that:

"The belief that a man could provide for his family if he was thrifty and hard-working was shown to be false." [15] 

According to the article by 'The Press', he had shown that hardworking in the Victorian ages, wouldn't suffice for the whole family since other sociological effects were affecting poverty in way or another. Examples highlighted by Seebohm were that a family enjoyed one room on the whole, lesser food quality and also the fact they had many children; these factors affected poverty in those ages. Seebohm contributed a lot to society as a whole since the welfare state was created subsequently in the following centuries, many argue due to his work. According to Paul Scaffer [16] in his document, he outlines a broad conception of poverty, that it has been through a lot of changes, he argues that there has been a broad shift from the physiological model of deprivation, which was mainly focused on the natural needs of humans, to model more focused on social aspect of deprivation, which is focused on core social aspects such as confidence, autonomy on oneself, and self-esteem. Scaffer also concludes that there is a certain link or connection between the concept of vulnerability and its relationship to poverty, and that inequality places an important role in establishing poverty implications, especially when measuring poverty, since inequality can affect measurements quite drastically. In his paper he outlines various approaches to poverty such as the income approach, human poverty approach and the social exclusion approach.

Income Approach

Scaffer argues that a person is poor if he is consistently insufficient to have access to economic resources; this approach is used a lot in economics which conjugates two essentials - well being which represented in terms of equivalent income, and secondly income poverty line, which represents a need adequacy level [17] The poor people are those who plummet below a certain criteria with regards to this approach. Mostly the income approach focuses on non-fulfillment of basic needs which essentially important for the wellbeing of a normal living person. On the other hand, it is also discussed that this income approach is sometimes not good in calculating poverty, in that some have argued that there are other methods which would prove better such the Capability-based income measures, in which the concentration is being focused on creating an income measure of capability poverty; capability bases should be the main indicator for income. Kakwani argues that people are only poor, if they are being deprived capability wise, when they don't have sufficient income to sustain their simple proficiencies. He argues that societies should be able to care for people especially by ensuring freedom from any diseases. [18] 

Human Poverty Approach

Normally poverty manifests itself in the deficiency of the lifestyles of the people, and this is why the human poverty approach, approaches poverty from the point of view of refutation of opportunities that can lead them to live a good life. Thus one can conclude that poverty does not only include lack in itself. Poverty is also calculated through deprivation of communication, and even values such as self-respect. In this regard I can also see that the human poverty approach has a socio-psychological feature in it. Poverty thus afflicts the life of people around the world. [19] The UNDP has also discussed this approach in its development reports, which has been designed on the framework of Amartya Sen [20] The focus of Sen's research, conceptualizes poverty as the absence of some things that a human beings isn't able to function without them. This approach is distinctively close to Sen's idea, that it should have incorporated in it our capabilities, not just what we are able to, but also what we aren't able to do. Such capabilities are subjective and depend upon each and every individual interpersonally and it must also contain our operations. [21] In his newest book 'The Idea of Justice' he counters the idea of an income approach to poverty since he argues it is not exact, the above first approach thus is defective according to Sen:

"Poverty will be much more intense than what can be deduced from the income date" [22] 

Social Exclusion Approach

The International Institute for Labour Studies has advocated the use of another distinctive approach when calculating scarcity; this is the social exclusion approach. This approach is very close to the relative deprivation conception of poverty which was firstly attributed by Peter Townsend which he defines poverty as "the absence or inadequacy of those diets, amenities, standards, services and activities which are common or customary in society" [23] 

With this approach, as the names implies, the focus is on the lack of materials or resources, that are normally required to sustain life in certain manner normally socially acceptable, such as a normal living standard, and the ability to perform activities which one favors. Citizenship is thus very important in this regard of approach, since it is a resource requirement, such as social integration and social acceptance; these are all factors which the social exclusion approach focuses upon. [24] 

Before 1997, the word poverty within the context of social exclusion, was always used a term to describe a situation where people didn't have all of the resources they wanted, especially opportunities. The government thus came up with the term social exclusion which eliminated the fact that poverty can only be concentrated from a low income point of view; poverty thus can be defined as the narrow notion of it including the social exclusion term appointed by the government of the UK. Alienation was to be included in the calculation of poverty, since it is a type of exclusion. [25] 

Poverty Line and from Absolute to Relative poverty

The poverty line as illustrated above is just a normal average standard, so to speak, of how poverty is measured, and it differs from one country to another. The problem is that due to different ideologies and political strategies, poverty lines are defined differently in each and every country. The question that poses in this regard is, whether the poverty line has helped at all in fighting poverty. With the thing is certain, that people with different houses, or different demographics, undoubtedly have their economic welfares quite altered, theoretically speaking the poverty line must illustrate the epitome for each and every society, or welfare system. Normally this is regarded as the amount of money; an individual needs to not be labelled as underprivileged. [26] 

Economists normally look at the poverty line as a concept which has to do a lot with utility, and this is reflected through the fact that many welfare-economic doctrines are based the utility consistent as a poverty indicator. Basically what it entails is that when assessing welfare system, the only assessment measure that should be considered is utility, and the aim of assessment is to check whether there isn't any decrease in utility; thus the focus is on the utility purpose [27] In the case of India, the term used is 'Below Poverty line' which is a poverty threshold utilised by the government to show how many people are in need of any help, the criteria used for the measurement have been concluded from a 2002 analysis. For example according to the International Benchmark, if a person has less than a pound of earnings a day with regards to PPP; that person is in a state of extreme poverty, and normally these indicators of poverty are used trough parameters such as points. [28] 

For example, a case that happened in Malta, was when Mgr. Grech, insisted that there should be a rearrangement of the poverty line here in Malta, and argued that those who at risk of poverty will suffice and crumble to actual poverty because of the utility tariffs that were being imposed on the people. The speech given by him was done during a Forum in the occasion of European year against poverty and social exclusion. From this one can see that with regards to Poverty, Malta has also its own problems that are causing hardship [29] 


From this paper one can thus learn that poverty has a lot to offer than just the normal conception of poverty, that one usually has in mind - that of people deprived, but through analysis I have concluded that poverty has an extended definition, it extends to the realm of societal norms and also governments, which play a very important role in alleviating or even continuing to cause hardship in societies. In practise, even though we are an average country, I can conclude that Malta has always been a victim of poverty in the last decade.

The concepts and measurements examined and outlined in this paper have been used in a concise manner, and the topic itself has much more material to offer. The concept itself has undergone through many changes which are still undergoing, and continues to broaden; with the focus being on the social model of deprivation. Continuous strategies are being implemented for there to be a reduction in poverty. Still, although there have been numerous amount of work for there to be a decrease, inequality and bad policies endure all the efforts, and counter positive results.