Treatment of the Concept of Poverty

Decent Essays

The historical development of the concept as viewed by Katz (1985) has been termed as that of sympathy and pity and been poor continues to be referred to as been in a pitiable state. In the contemporary period, been poor has now been transformed from an age-old moral adjective of sympathy into a noun of disgust and disgrace; poverty then has been ascribed to living in ‘slums, ghettos, tenements’. Sen (1981) treatment of the concept of poverty relegates the concept to an existential situation; he describes poverty as thus:”to live in poverty may be said, but to offend or be hurtful to a society which creates problems for those who are not poor” (p, 2). In the quote, Sen asserts that there are requirements to be used in any concept of poverty; the requirement is of a criterion as to who should be the centre of attention, is the concept of poverty related to the interests of only the poor or the non-poor? Sen thinks we should direct our concern on the poor; because the suffering of those who are deprived depends on the condition of those who are said to be rich. However, Nagel (1979) article on what is it like to be a bat? Provide us with an allusion to the subjective experiences of the poor and what it feels like to be in poverty; because in his view been poor cannot even be described because it is a conscious experience of a widespread phenomenon, and it may be argued that the rich cannot understand the lived experience of the poor person. As suggested by Simmel,

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