Poverty Perceived

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Old things
Old Tbilisi

How do we explain poverty to ourselves or to others? When conversations in our communities start about those who live in poverty, how do those conversations sound? Perception of poverty is what it is known as in the academic world and there have been a few researchers looking into this issue in different parts of the world.

 

The classic characterization you can find in many parts of the world is the ol’ “They’re lazy, if they wanted to they could get out of it.” The other opinion on the matter takes it as more of a systemic thing, as in – those who are poor are poor because the system (economic perhaps) keeps them that way. From there you have variations on both themes, but no matter where you go on this earth, you’ll find opinions about poverty. Some based on first hand experience, some based on direct observation, some based on what they’ve heard or how they feel.

Why does it matter? First of all because if you look at data and history, it is possible to point out where perceptions of poverty can be quite far from reality. Even when they are inaccurate perceptions, they can still have tremendous impact, for example, at the ballot box as we vote for leaders who will represent our opinion on this or other issues at the government level. From there come policies that may address poverty to some degree… again.. influenced by the perception of those who voted.

What is interesting about the research available is the differences not only between nations but within nations and regions. How background, political ideology, religion, and beyond, play a role in how people think about poverty. Who are the groups? How do they differ in terms of perception of poverty? – Those details I will assemble in my next article.

3 thoughts on “Poverty Perceived

  1. What I think is interesting is how we historically look at societies and in hind-sight say things about the cause of the economic success of this or that country. Take Sweden, which has had a centre-right government for some years now, and which currently is experiencing among the best GDP growth in Europe. Is it because of x or y political/economic measure?

    Competetiveness of labour in a country – how does that lead to less poverty in the country, or more poverty among certain % of population?

    I am no economist or very interested in economic theories, but I am interested in how this plays out, and I look forward to your next article on this.

  2. How do we explain the poverty around us or for others? When talks start in our communities about those who live in poverty, how can sound these talks? The perception of poverty, it is what is known in the academic world and there are a few researchers are looking into this question in various parts of the world. What I think is interesting is how we say look at historical societies and in hind sight things, about the cause of the economic success of this or that country. Take Sweden, a center-right government had for some years, and is currently experiencing one of the best GDP growth in Europe. Is it because of x or y politico / economic activity?

    Competitive workforce in the country – how does this lead to less poverty in the country, or more poverty in certain% of the population?

    I’m no economist or very interested in economic theories, but I’m interested in how this plays itself, and I look forward to your next article on this topic.

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