Blog Action Day - what is poverty?by tylluanpenry @ Wednesday, 15. Oct, 2008 - 15:56:53
I've been thinking long and hard about this ever since I agreed to do a blog for Blog Action Day. But what is poverty? It's easy to point to the cold, the starving and say 'This is poverty.' It's true.
But there are other types of poverty too, often found in the midst of wealthy nations, a type of poverty that has little to do with whether you are hungry, homeless or cold.
Poverty of conscience - we see this often enough lately, where nobody ever seems prepared to accept responsibility when something goes pear shaped.
Poverty of expectation - I think Oscar Wilde explained this one well when he wrote 'We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.' Those in the gutter who are content merely to look at the ground suffer from this sort of poverty.
Poverty of hope - where we no longer even dare to believe that things could or should be better; it's a particularly nasty form of poverty because it prevents us helping ourselves or others.
Poverty of the mind - this is when we become obsessed with trivia and the cult of celebrity. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with either provided you get some sort of balance.
I'm sure anyone reading this will be able to come up with other, much better, examples. But it's a start, isn't it?
To define poverty purely in terms of money is to miss the point. Or as the Romans so elegantly put it:
Homo doctus in se semper divitias habet; a learned man always has riches within himself.