Has The Word 'Poverty' Lost Its Meaning?

Fri Jul 19, 2002 2:34 am

A report on the local news last night featured a commentator telling a reporter that an increase in crime is due to higher levels of poverty.

But, what is poverty? This question came to light several years ago when one woman took her kids panhandling downtown to draw attention to her plight. There was an outpouring of sympathy, until a sharp-eyed newspaper reader noticed in a picture that her son was wearing shoes costing more than $100 -- and the shoes were in almost-new condition, too.

The woman tried to recover her credibility by inviting a reporter to her home. Perhaps mischievously, perhaps unintentionally, she was photographed with her video library clearly visible in the background. Any remaining credibility was totally gone.

With majorities of those North Americans living in poverty owning washing machines, clothes dryers, colour televisions, microwave ovens and VCRs, has poverty lost its meaning?

And is it an insult to those who truly do live in destitution?

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RE: Has The Word 'Poverty' Lost Its Meaning?

Fri Jul 19, 2002 2:48 am

I would simply define poverty as the inability to meet the basic cost of living. This would include food, shelter, and adequate clothing. I agree that if the shoes were bought new as well as the video library, then something is wrong here.
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RE: Has The Word 'Poverty' Lost Its Meaning?

Fri Jul 19, 2002 3:10 am

I'd agree with Nonrevman, although they may have 'stolen' all that stuff, especially considering the comments 'that an increase in crime is due to higher levels of poverty."...
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RE: Has The Word 'Poverty' Lost Its Meaning?

Fri Jul 19, 2002 9:35 am

Well I know in the US, and possibly other countries, they have an official level whereby someone is deemed to live in poverty. From memory it is something like $16500 per annum for a single parent with 2 children.

Certainly not my or the dictionaries perception of poverty so to answer your question, yes it has lost it's meaning !
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