Is poverty a problem in your community?

Are there any homeless people?

Are there large numbers of homeless people?

What are the causes of poverty?

Can you give details and examples?

Describe the situation in your area.


Definition of Poverty

Sometimes our definition of poverty is culturally bound:

Some people in the countryside or in the mountains or in the forest have no money but they live in communities where they have a high quality of life and long happy healthy lives, although they have no cash.

Some people in the city have a lot of money but they suffer from delusion and addiction to the illusions of materialism, egoism and nihilism and they have lost touch with the basic rhythms of life. They are physically and mentally unhealthy and they live in unhealthy communities.

What does the word “poverty” mean for you?

Write your answer in the comments section below.



poor – rich
well-off – not so well-off


impoverished fringe dwellers
poor squatters


The local people have been impoverished by the construction of the new road.

The entire population has been impoverished by the loss of its young people.

Our lives are enriched and impoverished by many things.

This pair of words has two distinct nuances. One nuance is the idea of enrichment and impoverishment in terms of money.

The other is the idea of impoverishment or enrichment in terms of quality of life beyond the narrow confines of the idea of money.

What has enriched you?
What has impoverished you?

You can answer this in basic terms by describing your job or business.

You can answer it in richer more mature tones by describing your family, your friendships and achievements, failures etc etc.


Here are some more questions:

What is the connection between corruption and poverty?

Does corruption cause poverty by robbing the people of good government and fair allocation of resources?

Are public officials corrupt because their salaries are too low?

Write your answers in the comments section below:

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17 Responses to “Poverty”

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  1. Jyoti Ranjan Mohanty says:

    Poverty is a ‘misnormer’, a ‘state of mind’should be least discussed. some one who is less fortunate should also compare himself or herself with others who may be still less fortunate compared to him/her. The more one reminds oneself to be in povery, more harm it brings to the person. I feel this word ‘poverty’ is more used by politicians to meet their own selfish ends rather than the less priviledged people.

    • Mark White says:

      Yes, I agree. It can be a misnomer. Material lack is a problem but materialism and material things are not everything.

      I spend part of my time in traditional societies where people do not have much cash and kill their own meat, grow or forage for their own vegetables and rice or hunt and fish to survive.

      Although they are not rich in terms of money, they are incredibly wealthy in terms of their relationship with the other members of their community and with their natural environment. Their general health and diet is excellent.

      Sometimes medical treatment from accidents usually caused by motorcycles and alcohol is a problem.

      Now compare this with advanced technological societies where people have machines and modern conveniences but a poor relationship with the environment, social alienation and generally poor health, obesity etc.

      Poverty and wealth are not measured only in money.

      This point about impoverishment through mental anguish is important. We compare ourselves to others and see what they have but we do not.

      Then we focus on what they have and what we do not. We forget to appreciate what we do have. Some times it is the most simple thing … the ability to walk around and look at things.

      Some people cannot walk. Some people cannot even see. And yet they be incredibly wealthy in terms of personal resilience and integrity if they have learned to unlock the secrets of their minds.

      Maybe we should talk about quality of life in more general terms and think about what it is.

      In some third world countries NGOs provide help but sometimes only to specific problems. We an index (or system of indices) that measures “quality of life” and take into account non-material things like GNP per capita etc.

      So what is poverty? Does anybody else have any thoughts on this? Agree? Disagree? Can you elaborate any extra points and fill out the picture a little?

  2. ali says:

    poverty is the reason of all courrpetion in any society.as the old people if the poverty was man i would kill him.i think any society have poor people and homeless people.but i have opinion nowadays the concept poverty not mean homeless people alone but it variry too much.a lot op people now poor .this people is educated and have bachelor degree but hae no job . they confront alot of probelms to match the rising of prices and level of living.in shortly poverty now not the homeless but the middel level people

  3. MJ says:

    Poverty does not necessarily mean money. Some people love money, but poor family and friends. So poverty is my means. The lack of what one thing has made my life unhappy. If our lives are happy, it means we are not poor.

  4. Phonglamphanh says:

    Hi, my name is Phonglamphanh I live in Laos I very happy to study English I just start to study I want to practice English my skype name is Phonglamphanh

  5. fahimeh says:

    in my opinion ,impoverishment of educational is a disaster for each country ,unfortunately nowadays in most countries we face to this situation. About the corruption ,i should mention that there,s so close relation between corruption and poverty, as result of allotment.It makes me really sad when I see a lot of dishonesty and fraud in a government. I hope to see a healthy government and society instead.

  6. selma says:

    Hi my friends,
    ‘m Selma. i wuld like to say some words abt Poverty and corruption. i think poverty has a connection with corruption. means when a member from a poor family wishes to start a new business , he shld have to give an huge amount of money as bribe to the concerned officer if who’s decorating high position and may be drawn with high salary. they don’t have with any bother abt their income. if the poor man is not willing to pay that money.. sure never and ever he’ll get the license or sanction. so the result is that poorer always be poorer. in our country the people who works with high salary they wuld be very greedy than the people who draw with low salary. to eradicate the corruption across our society, we have to work out together from the top level. i think the top level officers compel their subordinates to receive bribes from the poor people. and in adn. some higher authorities r ready to do appointments through back door only for their relatives if they don’t have with enough certificates. so the result is that our society will have to suffer a lot due to lack of capable candidates.

  7. Ma. Carla says:


    Poverty is the lack of human needs. such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter because of the in ability to afford them. It is a quality of life. Like wise, if people have a quality of life, a safe, uncontaminated environment, and freedom from being harmed are used by others: then the need for capital is super fluous. We have a mechanism that create poverty especially as resources and the people being used, liked they lose their land, their assets, and their livelihood and are considered homeless, worthless and shiftless. The country that have poverty ate less income.
    What if there is no Corruption? Maybe there no country encountered and suffer for a poverty. For me corruption is the cause of poverty.

    • i concur with you Carla. your comment is well explained which make me agree with you that Corruption is the cause of Poverty.

      in addition to your comment, In My Nation Corruption is the cause of Poverty and is the cause of our Leaders.

      our leaders (those in power) implement Corruption and this brings lots of effect on the Poor (Negatively). as a Nigerian this is really affecting our Nation. coz the Rich are getting richer while the poor labor so hard everyday of their life’s serving the rich people yet they are not paid accordingly. what a world of cruel…..

      Thank you.

      • Mark White says:

        Corruption is the cause of poverty? It certainly is a major cause of many types of poverty. How can we stop or at least reduce corruption?

        Is the work of organizations like “wikileaks” going end or reduce corruption?

  8. Erbeto says:

    Poverity is looming crisis for country development. It is regarded as gearing or fueling factor for major socity porblems like illitratcy, ill-health,confilict,etc. Majority of our population have been living under poveriry line. We faced war, strif, and famine for longtime ago that made us to be impoverished.
    At present time the Governemnt of Ethiopia has shown an effort to avert poverity by designing poverity reduction program such as five year transformation strategy.

    • Hanh says:

      Poverty is a situation that people can’t afford their life and they always are in shortage of money.In my country there are many people in poverty.I think there are four reasons that lead to poverty.They are overpopulation,poor education, economy crisis and corruption. Everyone knows that parents of a family with so many children have many difficulties in bringing them.Their children don’t have chance to study then lack of education.So the poor family is poorer and poorer.Beside when an economy crisis occurs,people lose their jobs and may be in debt,which cause them poverty.In addition,in old society,when corruption was serious,civilians were very poor due to so many unreasonable taxs.Today this situation doesn’t disappear, also in my country.Goverment of Vietnam has made efforts to eradicate the poverty .

  9. Mehmet Deniz Demircioglu says:


    The concept of poverty, in our present age, varies a lot from country to country. It depends entirely on how much developed a country is. In the most underdevelop-
    ed countries or in the third world countries, impoverishment has still overwhelmingly made its presence feel over the people living in those countries.
    The most significant point which accelerates the volume of impoverishment is
    the lack of qualified education, and trainig.

    The societies who are deprived of qualified education might not possible to make use of the power of their minds, so they have difficulty in finding jobs which will give them opportunities to make them live in good conditions.The state of being illiterate is the mother of every undesired conditions. In my country, the rate of unemployment and poorness show differences according to the west and the east of the country. Mind power arisen from the qualified education is the biggest enemy of the impoverishment.

    All in all, so long as a country has a power to melt the presence of grinding side of impoverishment, poorness takes its place on the pages of the history

    Deniz Dem?rc?oglu

  10. ruwan says:

    corruption start in a one of the human mine first,we have to create a pease full,carm environment first, to make a such a environment we shuld put our rules into action to stop each and every corruptions,,please let’s start ourseleves to do that,

  11. shaki says:

    Hi in our country there are ,lot of curaption .almost in everyfield ..And the cause of curaption is we are fare aqay from our religion,Islam .because of which we become wictom of natural disasters.O GOD pleas help the muslams of all over the world ,and espacially. Of pakistan.

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