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Poverty

Definition Of Poverty, Global Poverty, Measuring Poverty, Welfare Response, Categories Of Dependence, Weakened Families And Kinship Systems


The plight of poor people throughout the world continues to be much the same as what was described by the Brandt Commission in 1980. The words sound hauntingly similar to the description of the people living in today's global poverty.

Many hundred of millions of people in the poorer countries are preoccupied solely with survival and elementary needs. For them work is frequently not available or, when it is, pay is low and conditions often barely tolerable. Homes are constructed of impermanent materials and have neither piped water nor sanitation. Electricity is a luxury. Health services are thinly spread and in rural areas only rarely within walking distance. Primary schools, where they exist, may be free and not too far away, but children are needed for work and cannot be easily spared for schooling. Permanent insecurity is the condition of the poor. There are no public systems of social security in the event of unemployment, sickness or death of a wage earner in the family. Flood, drought or disease affecting people or livestock can destroy livelihoods without hope of compensation.

The poorest of the poor . . . will remain . . . outside the reach of normal trade and communication. The combination of malnutrition, illiteracy, disease, high birth rates, underemployment and low income closes off the avenues of escape. (Brandt Commission 1980, p. 49)

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