poverty

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Related to penury: indigence, sublime

poverty

the lack of sufficient material and cultural resources to sustain a healthy existence. Most discussions distinguish between absolute or primary poverty and relative or secondary poverty. ‘Absolute poverty’ refers to a lack of the basic requirements to sustain physical life; the subsistence poverty of not having sufficient food and adequate shelter. BOOTH and ROWNTREE were amongst the first researchers to demonstrate the widespread incidence of absolute poverty in the UK. ‘Relative poverty’ is used to demonstrate the inadequacy of definitions of absolute or primary poverty by referring to the cultural needs of individuals and families within the context of the rest of society It is a relativistic definition which relates poverty not only to physical needs but also to the norms and expectations of society

The study of poverty is central to any examination of social inequality, including an analysis of who is poor and the reasons for their poverty. In the UK, there is no set ‘poverty line’ although some commentators use eligibility for, and claiming of, social security benefits as a measure of the extent of poverty Using this criterion, 17% of the British population, or about nine million people, were officially poor in 1986. However, this excludes all the people who were not eligible for social security support, those who did not claim support, those who were just above this arbitrary line, and those who fell into the POVERTY TRAP. Categories of poor people in industrialized societies usually include the unemployed, people in low-paid or part-time employment, the sick and disabled, older people, members of large families and single-parent families. Although the poor have often been blamed for their poverty, which is seen as the consequence of some form of personal inadequacy such as fecklessness or idleness, most studies explain the existence of poverty in terms of the social and economic structures of industrialized societies. Poverty studies have been criticized for not recognizing that poverty may result if the income of a man, although well above the poverty line, is not equitably shared between all members of the family; thus the burden of poverty falls particularly on women.

Just as poverty is seen to be an indicator of class and gender relations in an industrial society, so poverty has been seen as an indicator of unequal economic relations between different countries; the poverty of the Third World countries being directly related to the accumulation of wealth in developed countries (see UNDERDEVELOPMENT).

Poverty

Aglaus
poorest man in Arcadia, but happier than king. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 13]
Appalachia
West Virginia coal mining region known for its abysmal poverty. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 160]
Apple Annie
apple seller on street corners during Depression. [Am. Hist.: Flexner, 11]
bare feet
symbol of impoverishment. [Folklore: Jobes, 181]
Barnardo Home
one of many homes founded for destitute children. [Br. Hist.: NCE, 233]
Bashmachkin, Akakii Akakiievich
poor clerk saves years for overcoat that is soon stolen. [Russ. Lit.: “The Overcoat” in The Overcoat and Other Stories]
Bonhomme, Jacques
nickname for poor French peasants. [Fr. Folklore: Walsh Classical, 59]
Booth, Captain
continually in and out of debtor’s prison. [Br. Lit.: Amelia]
Buddha
religious leader exchanges wealth for the robe of an ascetic mendicant. [Buddhism: NCE, 387]
Bung
experiences modified and extreme levels of want. [Br. Lit.: Sketches by Boz]
Clare of Assisi, St.
lived entirely on alms; founded “Poor Glares.” [Christian Hagiog.: Attwater, 87]
Cratchit, Bob
Scrooge’s poorly paid clerk. [Br. Lit.: A Christmas Carol]
Crawley, Rev. Josiah
debt-maddened clergyman. [Br. Lit.: Last Chronicle of Barset]
Francis, St. (1182–1226)
renounced his worldly life and possessions, extolled the virtue of poverty. [Christian Hagiog.: Brewer Dictionary, 375]
Grapes of Wrath, The
about the Joad family; jobless, facing starvation. [Am. Lit.: The Grapes of Wrath]
Great Depression
economic crisis of 1929–1939, unprecedented in length and widespread poverty. [Am. Hist.: NCE, 1132]
Grub Street
London street; home of indigent writers. [Br. Hist.: Brewer Note-Book, 394]
Hell’s Kitchen
section of midtown Manhattan; notorious for slums and high crime rate. [Am. Usage: Misc.]
Hooverville
Depression shantytown arising during Hoover administration. [Amer. Hist.: Flexner, 118]
Hubbard, Old Mother
had not even a bone for her dog. [Nurs. Rhyme: Opie, 317]
Job
lost everything he owned to Satan. [O.T.: Job]
Job’s
turkey one-feathered bird even more destitute than its owner. [Can. and Am. Usage: Brewer Dictionary, 589]
Lazarus
satisfied with table scraps; dogs licked sores. [N.T.: Luke 16:19–22]
Micawber, Wilkins
optimistic, though chronically penniless and in debt. [Br. Lit.: David Copperfield]
Okies
itinerant dust bowl farmers (1930s). [Am. Hist.: Van Doren, 455; Am. Lit.: The Grapes of Wrath]
War
on Poverty U.S. government program of 1960’s to aid the needy. [Am. Hist.: WB, J:120]
Yellow Kid, the
grotesque unchildish slum-child, one of the impoverished inhabitants of Hogan’s Alley. [Comics: Berger, 25]

Poverty

(dreams)
Most spiritual paths respect or require material poverty so that spiritual wealth may be acquired.“Blessed are the poor, ” said Matthew in 5:3. In medieval times they called it a “perfect poverty, ” where the individual would give up material wealth and seek spiritual development. In Islam, this quest for spiritual development through material poverty is called “faqr.” If in real life you are not poor, dreaming that you live in poverty or experiencing great poverty in your dreams may be considered a dream of the contrary or a compensatory dream. Superstition-based dream interpretations would say that if you are poor in your dream you will gain material luck in the near future. Dreaming about poverty may be interpreted in light of what is going on in your daily life (as may most dream interpretations). Thus, if you are on an upward swing and are doing really well financially, you may have a compensatory dream of being poor. This is simply a way by which you obtain psychic balance. However, if you are experiencing financial stress, dreaming of being poor may be a way for you to cope with fear and anxiety that you are unable to cope with directly.
References in periodicals archive ?
Likewise it's cockle-warming when some old nana from Bolton is informed that old bit of tat she's had on her mantelpiece for years is valuable enough to rescue her and her entire family from penury and put them firmly on millionaire's row.
Unless reconstruction can be made more effective, seven years of Western intervention will be seen as leaving only penury and disorder in its wake.
They are using bribe money as a way of tackling street savagery at a time when 38 per cent of ex-service pensioners are living in penury.
He was forced out in 1939, and died in penury in a flat in Putney in 1947.
William Hill did behave unreasonably by continuing to accept the bets, the judge decided, but nothing the company could have done would have prevented the customer's ultimate decline into penury and therefore the bookie was not to blame.
At a time when the aged and infirm are living in a state of penury, it beggars belief that yet another crackpot venture is to be inflicted upon we unsuspecting tax payers.
According to reports from Zimbabwe, hunger and penury have spared endangered buffalo and lion species, but at least 40 black rhinos have been poached from state parks in the last three years, and because of the role of the animal's horn in traditional Asian medicine, the figures may increase.
In Empire of Debt, Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin, the financial analysts who publish the Daily Reckoning newsletter, document how our nation has sacrificed our republican patrimony in favor of the imperial course that has led so many previous world powers into penury.
THEcheery ol' festive yin-yang of sentimental nostalgia and penury will have many of us in its sway over the next month or so, but the latest offering from the wacky world of online virtual racing might provide a timely steadier on both fronts.
Loosely framed as a Faulknerian chronicle of the decline of a noble family into penury and disarray, Pea's autobiographical novel casts a sharp and vitriolic anticlerical eye on the disintegration of Italian rural life at the turn of the century, as the traditional hierarchies of class and gender were giving way to a kind of generalized delirium.
He was incarcerated then deported, and spent his final years living in penury in Brazil, dying with $75 in his bank account.
May Chinn, the first black female physician in New York City, could have been a dry chronicle of a studious young woman who overcomes prejudice and penury to become a pioneer in medicine.