Adonis Diaries

Are you poor? Raise your hand!

Posted on: January 20, 2009

Are you poor? Raise your hand! (January 20, 2009)

            If you are in a situation that prevents you to participate in social life then raise your hand: you are considered materially and morally poor.  It follows that you are poor if you are stuck in your “home” because you cannot mingle with people, in a society that expects standards in elegance, in frequency of eating out, of taking vacations, and of transportation means.  In a culture of “fitting in” you are poor if you were raised not to incur debt that your hard earned job cannot cover.  You are the poorer if the standard of living in your country is expensive and the facilities of support are not suitable in times of emergencies, for health coverage, for children well being, for continuing education, and for opportunities to work. 

If you feel ashamed to invite “friends” home because it is in shamble, the furniture and appliances outdated, or the walls needing another layer of paints then you are poor in such a society.  If you feel inclined to cancel invitations to weddings because you cannot afford a decent gift for the married couple then you are poor in such a society. If you are unable to enroll your kids in private schools because public schools are considered not equipped for the education “performance” standards then you are poor in such a society. You got the gist of my definition; except in situations of basic survival necessities, then the concept of being poor is specific to the culture and tradition of a society.

            There are many definitions of belonging to a “poor status”; it ranges from daily nutritional quality, to the minimum hourly labor rate, to the minimum amount for renting, and leading an independent living; to the bare subsistence for survival such is the condition of over two billion people around the world. 

            The European Union has come up with a statistical limit for being classified as poor. The office of statistics in the EU (Eurostat) adopted the median income for a State (the dividing amount of income that splits two equal number of earners) and then categorizes the poor whose income is within the 60% of the lower median income range.  Thus, it does not matter how the State’s economy improved, or the standard of living improved, or your income improved there will always be 30% of the population considered as poor (for example, 60% *50% = 30%).  Consequently, an EU State member has to allocate budget and plan to support 30% of the needy population.

            The EU definition for being considered poor is an operational categorization for a consumer economy.  If your income or the financial facility structure in your society prevents you to fit in a consumer society, to purchase an outfit that is the fashion of the year, to participate in the cultural and artistic activities, to visit a bar once a month, to go out and see the latest movie, or to buy tickets for festivities and sport events then you are not promoting the internal market economy and you are poor and need serious support to fit in as a citizen.

            The life of the hermit in a remote location is certainly hard; the life of a forced hermit in towns and cities is by far much harsher.  The hermit in cities has to construct his own model or philosophy to life and death; he has to build his specific character to survive the harsh facts within his society.  I have this theory: a poor State economy combined with poor financial credit facilities and high consumer standards the higher the odds for frequent civil wars.

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adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

January 2009
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