Respondents were asked what poverty means to them and were given several statements to choose from. Almost 70% of respondents chose statements close to a "basic needs" concept of poverty: that is, they felt that poverty meant either, "not having enough to buy basics like food and clothing", or "having to struggle to survive each and every day". Only 1.8% selected an answer ("having a lot less than everyone else") which reflected a purely relative notion of poverty... while academics often prefer relative poverty measures, that preference' "does not always coincide with popular conceptions of poverty".I'll say it doesn't always coincide. 1.8% to 70%!
It seems that academics almost invariably use the relative poverty concept that is rejected by most normal people. I suggest that most academics like the relative poverty definition because they themselves are usually welfare recipients who are defending their own class interest. In Britain, the exceptions would be those employed by the University of Buckingham.
A common measure of "poverty" used by academics and other members of the ruling class is 60% of median income. That produces some wonderful possibilities.
Let's imagine a community of three people. Their salaries are:
A 1,000The average (or mean) is 4,000, but the median (middle value) is 2,000. 60% of the median is 1,200 - therefore A is in poverty. He is "deprived", even in the event of the unit of currency being tons of gold!
But it gets better. If C emigrates, the median falls to 1,500 (that's how the median of two numbers works out). 60% of the median is now 900 and lucky Mr A is now no longer poor. Yes, the departure of the richest member of the community results in poverty being abolished!
A thought occurs to me. Instead of sucking up to Scotland's millionaires like Tom Hunter and Tom Farmer why doesn't Alex Salmond kick them out of the country thus making us all so much better off?