Define - and defend - poverty


by russ_watters
Tags: defend, define, poverty
Schrodinger's Dog
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#19
Jan15-06, 03:21 AM
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Interest and inflation were created by Economists and used by governments to control amounts of available wealth(Governemnt sometimes need more money than it's actually worth to balance budgets so inflation increases).

Many Political leaders Especially Americans in the past have treated banks like a necessary evil. Something they need but would rather do without.

Banks know that people are essentially bad with money and if they can have it now they very often will(this is how banks make money) they take interest and fees use that to make more wealth and in turn make credit more accessible. Banks will tell you that this is how they work, they'll tell you that that is whats important to them unless your a customer then they'll tell you your the most important person in the world and offer you a gold credit card

IMO financial institutions have a lot to answer for, banks are buisnesses, yes they need to make money, but when it comes to exploiting human weaknesses or making a whole countries political environment even more unstable, someone has to say what are you up to surely?

I like the Islamic banks, no interest, now there's a damn good reason why they do that

If your offering credit to someone with $50,000 dollars of debt you should be asking the question can they afford to pay not mmm ok have $25,000, can I make enough money to cover them if they can't by selling them into poverty .
SOS2008
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Jan15-06, 12:25 PM
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Quote Quote by Schrodinger's Dog
Interest and inflation were created by Economists and used by governments to control amounts of available wealth(Governemnt sometimes need more money than it's actually worth to balance budgets so inflation increases).
Many Political leaders Especially Americans in the past have treated banks like a necessary evil. Something they need but would rather do without.
Banks know that people are essentially bad with money and if they can have it now they very often will(this is how banks make money) they take interest and fees use that to make more wealth and in turn make credit more accessible. Banks will tell you that this is how they work, they'll tell you that that is whats important to them unless your a customer then they'll tell you your the most important person in the world and offer you a gold credit card
IMO financial institutions have a lot to answer for, banks are buisnesses, yes they need to make money, but when it comes to exploiting human weaknesses or making a whole countries political environment even more unstable, someone has to say what are you up to surely?
I like the Islamic banks, no interest, now there's a damn good reason why they do that
If your offering credit to someone with $50,000 dollars of debt you should be asking the question can they afford to pay not mmm ok have $25,000, can I make enough money to cover them if they can't by selling them into poverty .
The matter of banking regulations, most specifically credit cards, is a topic of much debate. There was a very good program on Frontline (PBS) -http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl...iews/dodd.html Senator Chris Dodd is in this program as an advocate for consumers, but so are others such as Senator Dianne Feinstein - http://feinstein.senate.gov/news-plastic0522.html You may note these are Democrats.

But what this really gets back to is how things would be in a truly free trade market. You think these credit card companies behave like loan sharks now?
Schrodinger's Dog
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#21
Jan15-06, 12:41 PM
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I'll have to look at that link later, thanks for the info in advance There used to be extremely tight laws about lending in this country, they were relaxed leaving a situation that I find personally moraly abhorent. The average level of debt in England is now 20,000 pounds About $36,000 dollars. That disgusts me that banks can minipulate people so badly. They need to reintroduce the measures that existed before to stop banks abusing there customers.

Here's an example of abuse I went overdrawn once in the year cheque didn't clear so I had more money going out than coming in. I got fined for this fair enough. I then wanted to extend my overdraft from 50 back to the original but was refused because I had gone overrdrawn once in the year. I had no choice but to go overdrawn I needed some medication and to pay for a course and I don't own a credit card. They refuse after I complained the manager said "computer says noooo". I went over his head they said no. I went over his head tehy said rules is rules bucko tough. I ended up being charged over 450 pounds, when had I of had an overdraft I would have not gone overdrawn at all( that disgusts me and the staff in the bank we're apauled too, but they we're powerless to do anything about it) I removed my account from the bank as soon as possible, losing them perhaps a few hundred thousand pounds worth of in vestment money probably alot more than they made in fees in the long run. Sometimes Beurueacracy is idiotic to the point of lunacy. I may sound like someone who hates banks, yes I do, but this isn't the only time I've been screwed over by petty small minded suits.

I detest people like this who sit in offices bringing nothing but suffering and debt to others and going home to there huge house and wealth. These people are lower and less humain or human for that matter than the poor people they so often dismiss.
alexandra
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#22
Jan15-06, 01:12 PM
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Quote Quote by Schrodinger's Dog
Here's an example of abuse I went overdrawn once in the year cheque didn't clear so I had more money going out than coming in. I got fined for this fair enough. I then wanted to extend my overdraft from 50 back to the original but was refused because I had gone overrdrawn once in the year. I had no choice but to go overdrawn I needed some medication and to pay for a course and I don't own a credit card. They refuse after I complained the manager said "computer says noooo". I went over his head they said no. I went over his head tehy said rules is rules bucko tough. I ended up being charged over 450 pounds, when had I of had an overdraft I would have not gone overdrawn at all( that disgusts me and the staff in the bank we're apauled too, but they we're powerless to do anything about it) I removed my account from the bank as soon as possible, losing them perhaps a few hundred thousand pounds worth of in vestment money probably alot more than they made in fees in the long run. Sometimes Beurueacracy is idiotic to the point of lunacy. I may sound like someone who hates banks, yes I do, but this isn't the only time I've been screwed over by petty small minded suits.
This sounds like it was quite a nightmare, Schrodinger's Dog. I once overdrew (accidentally) from my account from an ATM. There was no message warning me I was overdrawing, and I just didn't realise it had happened until I got my bank statement at the end of the month. They fined me double what I'd overdrawn! This was ludicrous - I went in and complained. They agreed to detract the fine, but only because I threatened to go to the Ombudsman. Real crooks, aren't they?

Quote Quote by Schrodinger's Dog
I detest people like this who sit in offices bringing nothing but suffering and debt to others and going home to there huge house and wealth. These people are lower and less humain or human for that matter than the poor people they so often dismiss.
One of the reasons I am so passionately opposed to capitalism
X-43D
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#23
Jan15-06, 02:54 PM
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The good thing is that all privately owned banks are subordinate to the central bank (the government). This limits the power of private banks.
Schrodinger's Dog
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#24
Jan15-06, 04:56 PM
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Agreed, was kinda hoping that people would see that that was unfair and that I'm not nuts. Capatilism is fine but within a moral framework, once people lose sight of that they lose the ability to make rational decisions about money, it becomes a make money at all costs mentallity, and presently this is often the case.
Historically, Banks have forced countries, even America to bend to there will. I have some quotes from Presidents such as Lincoln, jefferson etc,etc.(I'll turf them up from my archives) Really did force there government into debt to make money, to make a war about not the principal but about the idea of making more money. And by doing so sacrifice many more lives than was necessary.
Astronuc
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#25
Jan15-06, 06:45 PM
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How about -

I.R.S. Move Said to Hurt the Poor, NY Times, Jan 11, 2006

Tax refunds sought by 1.6 million poor Americans over the last five years were frozen and their returns labeled fraudulent, although the vast majority appear to have done nothing wrong, the Internal Revenue Service's taxpayer advocate told Congress yesterday.

A computer program identified the refund requests as suspect and automatically flagged the taxpayers for extra scrutiny for years to come, the advocate said in her annual report to Congress. These taxpayers were not told that the I.R.S. criminal investigation division suspected fraud.

The advocate, Nina Olson, said the I.R.S. devoted vastly more resources to pursuing questionable refunds sought by the poor - which under the highest estimate is $9 billion - than to the $100 billion in taxes not paid each year by people who work for cash and either fail to file tax returns or understate their income.

As for the suspected fraud in refund requests, Ms. Olson said her staff sampled the suspect returns and found that 66 percent were entitled to the amount sought or more. Another 14 percent were due a partial refund. She expressed doubt that many among the remaining 20 percent had committed fraud.
One measure of poverty could be the inability to pay income tax because one's earnings are too low.

And on top of that, the government which is supposed to provide for the 'General Welfare' is hostile to those with the least.
Smurf
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#26
Jan15-06, 10:23 PM
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Quote Quote by russ_watters
The word poverty is defined in absolute terms because it is a description of a human condition. Like "sick" or "healthy" or "tired" or "cold" the word describes how you as an individual are.
Actually all of those are extremely relative as well. To be Cold is not an absolute state of being, it is merely to be colder than one wishes. We are all cold and all hot to a degree. Furthermore there is no one who is perfectly 'healthy' or perfectly 'sick' (you have to be alive to be sick), it's all relative to something.
Quote Quote by russ_watters
To me, this exposes a real flaw in the mindset of communists(/socialists/Marxists/anarchists/etc) and a misunderstanding or mischaracterization of capitalism by those who would oppose it.
Oi! Why are you bringing me into this? I can't remember ever, or at least not recently, discussing poverty with you, or anyone for that matter.

Oh wait.. Dooga is one of them anarcho-commi's isn't he?

I'll have to get used to not being the only anarchist around these parts.
Smurf
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#27
Jan15-06, 10:26 PM
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Quote Quote by alexandra
the Ombudsman.
The who?
SOS2008
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Jan16-06, 03:38 PM
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So as to avoid the usual debate between conservatives and liberals regarding large gaps in wealth concentrations between the highest and lowest of the socioeconomic strata, I want to focus on the gap between the top 5% of wealth @ 12.1 percent of the population and the top 1% of wealth @ 32.7 percent of the population per distribution of wealth in the U.S. in 2001.

Why? Because:

1) I agree with conservatives that traditional comparison tends to unfairly lambaste the smart, innovative, hard-working and educated--in the top 5% of wealth, while neglecting to note that many of the unsuccessful poor are often so because they are lazy and uneducated and are often given a free pass undeservedly.

2) The top 5% of wealth is at least realistically achievable, however those in this percentile are NOT the ruling elite, and falsely identify with the ruling elite.

3) The top 1% of wealth is NOT realistically achievable. So all you folks out there in the top 5% need to get a reality check when it comes to discussions about the ruling elite. As well as being concerned about any increase in disparity, and the importance of maintaining a middle class and limiting the lower class, because it will and does impact your well-being too.

The threshold for inclusion in the top 1% was about $2.4 million in net worth in 1992 (in 1992!), net worth being the definition of “rich” in a number of studies. http://research.stlouisfed.org/ publ.../07/9707jw.pdf

As stated above, feel free to calculate the odds that you will have a net worth of $2.4 million, let alone what ever it is now in 2006. Because when you make it to that, you might actually have some say in what happens in this world, and to you as an individual in this world.

Returning to the topic of poverty, if this is the definition of rich, than net worth may be a good definition for poor as well. ?
selfAdjoint
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#29
Jan16-06, 05:26 PM
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SOS2008, I have three technical problems with thiis post:

1. I can't make head or tails out of the percentages in this

So as to avoid the usual debate between conservatives and liberals regarding large gaps in wealth concentrations between the highest and lowest of the socioeconomic strata, I want to focus on the gap between the top 5% of wealth @ 12.1 percent of the population and the top 1% of wealth @ 32.7 percent of the population per distribution of wealth in the U.S. in 2001
2. The link you gave didn't work for me.

3. You never gave the income required to be in the top 5%.

But I thoroughly agree with the thrust of your argument, and I would add that I've seen stories that something like 25% of Americans believe they're in the top 10%.
SOS2008
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Jan16-06, 06:20 PM
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Quote Quote by selfAdjoint
SOS2008, I have three technical problems with thiis post:

1. I can't make head or tails out of the percentages in this
2. The link you gave didn't work for me.
3. You never gave the income required to be in the top 5%.

But I thoroughly agree with the thrust of your argument, and I would add that I've seen stories that something like 25% of Americans believe they're in the top 10%.
Here is a good link for the percentages of wealth, and what percentage of the population each are:

http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/fac...ome&wealth.htm

Ooops, sorry, the link provided was supposed to be to a scholarly PDF doc that is not directly accessible. Here is another site:

http://www.osjspm.org/101_wealth.htm#4

In 1998, the last year for which figures are available, it took over $250,000 to be in the top 10% of wealth holders [and $475,600 to be in the top 5% of wealth holders]. It took over $3,000,000 to reach the top 1%.
One can see the exponential jump from one to the next, and of course the $3,000,000 is just the threshold for the top 1%, meaning a small few at the bottom rung. And of course figures for 2006 are not yet available, but one could extrapolate from the charts (e.g., “Changes in Wealth Ownership” chart) if they care to. It is interesting to see that the top 1% has nearly doubled while the next 4% to middle 20% groups have all gotten smaller.

Conservatives (especially those who identify with the top 1%) will argue that “during those two decades, the size of the overall "wealth pie" grew.” But they won’t acknowledge that the “ownership of that wealth is now more concentrated [at the top] than at any time since the 1920s.”

They are just shooting themselves in the foot with their delusional identification with the top 1%.
Skyhunter
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#31
Jan16-06, 08:24 PM
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Poverty is relative to society.

If a family cannot afford the basics, including computers and internet they are at an economic disadvantage in a capitalist society.

Not having ones self maintenance needs met would be an absolute definition of poverty, however I would argue that not being able to afford access to the media and internet, transportation, and health insurance as being impoverished.

I grew up in Appalachia, I know what it is like to be teased because of the clothes I had to wear to school. Was I starving? No. But I was poor. I know first hand how much harder it is to succeed when you have an artificial barrier, like poverty or some other form of discrimination to overcome.

Ironically the kids that did the teasing were not much better off than me.
X-43D
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#32
Jan16-06, 09:19 PM
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2.8 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day. That's relative poverty.
SOS2008
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#33
Jan16-06, 10:01 PM
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Quote Quote by X-43D
2.8 billion people live on less than 2 dollars a day. That's relative poverty.
Here is a site with more facts on poverty:

http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
loseyourname
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#34
Jan17-06, 11:05 PM
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Quote Quote by Skyhunter
I grew up in Appalachia, I know what it is like to be teased because of the clothes I had to wear to school. Was I starving? No. But I was poor. I know first hand how much harder it is to succeed when you have an artificial barrier, like poverty or some other form of discrimination to overcome.
A lot of it is purely psychological, and just depends on how much people really care. I didn't grow up rurally, but I did grow up poor, and it honestly didn't matter to me. I was still able to go to school (it is, after all, free), I had access to the public library (also free), and all the legos I could want, which were cheap and all I really played with. My clothes were older and cheaper, and I never had the cool toys and gadgets other kids had, but I never wanted them either. We always had enough food, and my dad got great health benefits; those were probably the only two things I would have really missed if we didn't have them.

I could tell it took much more of a toll on my parents, though. Living paycheck to paycheck did stress them out a lot. Even that always seemed psychological to me, though. My dad brought home the same amount of money every month, and he was never in any threat of losing his job. They might have squeaked by, but they always paid every bill on time every month. It seemed to me unnecessary to worry so much when what you worried would happen had never once happened. Even with all the worries, we were never hungry, had two cars, had our own rooms, owned our own home; what more do you honestly need? So what if kids made fun of my clothes? I made fun of them because I was smarter, better looking, and more athletic. Which would you rather have?
Skyhunter
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#35
Jan23-06, 12:25 AM
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Quote Quote by SOS2008
Here is a site with more facts on poverty:
http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp
Excellent link SOS.
russ_watters
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#36
Jan24-06, 09:39 PM
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I kinda walked away from this thread, but...
Quote Quote by kyleb
"Less" and "few" are not absolute terms.
"few" is not - "Less" is. Ie, if I had 1000 calories of food to eat today and I had 2000 yesterday, had "less" to eat today than yesterday. That is just one clear-cut example of how a component of the definition of poverty (hunger is part of poverty) must be referenced on an absolute scale. Sure there is difficulty in knowing where to set the bar (2000 calories? 2500?), but if you have "less" today than you did yesterday, you are "more" poor. Its simple math.

Other components of poverty, like housing, are somewhat qualatative, but you can rank housing quality numerically if need-be. Ie, living on the street would be a 0 on a scale of 1-10. Living in a tin shack would be a 1, living in a leaky slum-apartment would be a 2, etc. If you used to live in a tin shack and now live in a leaky slum-apartment, your situation has obviously improved and the difference can be seen and measured in simple mathematical terms.
Quote Quote by Astronuc
I am trying to understand the 'defend' poverty part.
Sorry - not enough characters available in the title to say "and defend your definition". On this topic, more than most, we get a lot of assertions and no defense of those assertions.
For absolutes, how about having nothing - no food, no water, may not clothes except perhaps some shorts, no home, no money, no tools, nada. Then go up from there. Clearly such a person is destitute. How about the refugees from New Orleans or the tsunamis. Well, maybe they had the clothes they were in and perhaps whatever they could carry.
Preciselly. Using the examples I provided above or yours, zero-points are easy to define and the absolute scale they anchor is obvious. Again, the only difficulty is where in that absolute scale to set the bar.
IMO, relative poverty is important as is one's income in relation to cost of living. What does it cost for the basic necessities - e.g. food of minimal caloric and vitamin/mineral content, clean water, a shelter, minimal clothing, and then go from there.
I'm not 100% sure what you mean, but if you are talking about spare cash to get ahead, I agree that that is important - it's just that it isn't a part of what defines if someone is or is not in poverty. Relative scales are fine for measuring relative progress or potential (which is what, I think, communists/socialists are really upset about - some people progress faster than others).
More people owning something can be somewhat misleading if a portion (not necessarily well-defined) are actually in debt. Most people do not own their home outright - the mortgage holder does. 'Ownership' has increased with relatively easy access to debt. This brings us to net worth, in addition to income.
I'd say that's also a different issue, nonetheless, I agree that it is an important one.

Schrodinger's Dog, the topic of how banks do/should work is an interesting debate, but not relevant here, so I'm not going to address it.
Quote Quote by Smurf
Actually all of those are extremely relative as well. To be Cold is not an absolute state of being, it is merely to be colder than one wishes. We are all cold and all hot to a degree. Furthermore there is no one who is perfectly 'healthy' or perfectly 'sick' (you have to be alive to be sick), it's all relative to something.
You are misapplying the word "relative" here (similar to how people often misaply the word in "Einstein's Relativity" - I have heard he didn't really like that name for that reason...). All measurements are relative to some baseline, so it can be said that all measurements are relative. The issue here is whether that baseline should be an absolute standard or one based on the differential between what you are doing and what others are doing. Ie, if it is 72 degrees in here and you feel cold, that will not affect whether or not I feel cold. And if the temperature goes up, both of us will be less cold relative to the way we were before -- on that absolute scale of degrees F, again, with your feelings not affecting mine. Just as with Einstein's relativity, all measurements are absolute in their own reference frame - they are just relative to measurements in other frames.
Oi! Why are you bringing me into this? I can't remember ever, or at least not recently, discussing poverty with you, or anyone for that matter.
I think we have, but regardless, you aren't the only anarchist I've met. A few years back I spent an absurd amount of time in Yahoo chat rooms, talking politics.


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