Posts Tagged ‘poverty’


Blog Action Day 2008 – Poverty

2008 October 15

Although today’s Wednesday, this is Thursday’s post. (Is it Thursday yet anywhere in the world?) That’s because today is Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s common blogging subject is poverty. For those of you who don’t know about Blog Action Day, you can learn more here:

The link also offers 88 suggestions from bloggers on how to do something right now about poverty. I’ve added the list on the “continue reading” link at the end of my own post.

What is poverty? Let’s define poverty as the lack of wealth. So let’s define wealth. Wealth is assets minus liabilities. Assets are things like cash, cash deposits, money investments, property, land, and so on that can be used to pay off liabilities. Liabilities are debts, money owed; and obligation to pay which may have to be paid by assets. This is the money cycle. Poverty is often taken as relative as well as absolute. So the money cycle can be an upward or a downward spiral. If it’s downward for you, you get poorer. If it’s upward for me, I get richer.

One man’s wealth means another man’s poverty. Does it have to be this way? Well, were that it were that simple. In fact the distribution of wealth has been said to follow something called a Pareto distribution. The picture below, from the Wikipedia, shows the shape of this kind of distribution.


Image showing Pareto distributions. Source: Wikipedia.

If you remember your high school graphs, the X-axis goes left to right. The Y-axis goes bottom to top. Imagine decreasing wealth going left to right on the X-axis. Now imagine a decreasing number of people going top to bottom on the Y-axis. Then what you see is that few people have most of the wealth. And most people have least of the wealth – more people live in poverty than in wealth.

So a few men’s wealth means many men’s poverty. (Including women and children in “men”, here.) But is “poverty” just about money and assets?

To finish off, here’s a thought. If a few men’s wealth means many men’s poverty (and women and children), which is the more true for you:-

a) The many poor are undeserving, or
b) Those of the few more wealthy that think the poor are undeserving are themselves undeserving, or
c) Neither, or
d) I don’t care?

Which are you: one of the few more wealthy or the many more poor?

“…All life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars.”
Martin Luther King.

“Wealth elements have poverty elements.”
Thich Nhat Hanh.

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Tuesday Round-up for Friends

2008 October 14

No Tuesday round-up this week, as my Thursday Series post is a day earlier. I’m working on that post instead.

Tomorrow is Blog Action Day 2008. This year’s theme is poverty. Find out more by clicking this link:

Or click on the link below:-