Poverty is the deprivation of food, shelter, money and clothing that occurs when people cannot satisfy their basic needs. Poverty can be understood simply as a lack of money, or more broadly in terms of barriers to everyday life.
Absolute poverty or destitution refers to the state of severe deprivation of basic human needs, which commonly includes food, water, sanitation, clothing, shelter, health care, education and information. Relative poverty is defined contextually as economic inequality in the location or society in which people live. For most of history poverty had been mostly accepted as inevitable as traditional modes of production were insufficient to give an entire population a comfortable standard of living. After the industrial revolution, mass production in factories made wealth increasingly more inexpensive and accessible. Of more importance is the modernization of agriculture, such as fertilizers, in order to provide enough yield to feed the population. People who practise asceticism intentionally live in economic poverty so as to attain spiritual wealth.
The World Bank estimated 1.29 billion people were living in absolute poverty in 2008. Of these, about 400 million people in absolute poverty lived in India and 173 million people in China. In terms of percentage of regional populations, sub-Saharan Africa at 47% had the highest incidence rate of absolute poverty in 2008. Between 1990 and 2010, about 663 million people moved above the absolute poverty level. Still, extreme poverty is a global challenge; it is observed in all parts of the world, including the developed economies.
The supply of basic needs can be restricted by constraints on government services such as corruption, debt and loan conditionalities and by the brain drain of health care and educational professionals. Strategies of increasing income to make basic needs more affordable typically include welfare, economic freedom, and providing financial services. Today, poverty reduction is a major goal and issue for many international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
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... The word poverty comes from old French poverté (Modern French pauvreté), from Latin paupertās, from pauper (poor) ... The English word "poverty" via Anglo-Norman povert ... There are several definitions of poverty depending on the context of the situation in is placed in and the views of the person giving the definition ...
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Famous quotes containing the word poverty:
“Common sense should tell us that reading is the ultimate weapondestroying ignorance, poverty and despair before they can destroy us. A nation that doesnt read much doesnt know much. And a nation that doesnt know much is more likely to make poor choices in the home, the marketplace, the jury box and the voting booth...The challenge, therefore, is to convince future generations of children that carrying a book is more rewarding than carrying guns.”
—Jim Trelease (20th century)
“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied ... but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”
—John Berger (b. 1926)
“... the hey-day of a womans life is on the shady side of fifty, when the vital forces heretofore expended in other ways are garnered in the brain, when their thoughts and sentiments flow out in broader channels, when philanthropy takes the place of family selfishness, and when from the depths of poverty and suffering the wail of humanity grows as pathetic to their ears as once was the cry of their own children.”
—Elizabeth Cady Stanton (18151902)