Essay by ebany October 2004

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This paper will look at the major reasons for the vulnerability to poverty. Has poverty increased over the past 20 years?

One of the great debates surrounding the social construction of need since the 19th Century is centered on the definition of poverty (Resources). Having resources is very important for the structure of social advantage; a lack of resources, it may be fair to say, could imply cumulative disadvantages in material circumstances, life style, and opportunities. Extreme disadvantage in resources is generally referred to in terms of poverty. It could be argued that poverty is a lack of goods and services necessary to maintain a minimal adequate standard of living.

The definition of the term adequate may vary, however, with the general standard of living in a society and with public attitudes toward deprivation. Moreover, it could be maintain that there is no accepted definition of basic needs exists due to poverty being a relative concept.

In poorer countries the individual or family could be living at the brink of existence, while in the UK few impoverished families confront starvation, although many suffer from undernourishment. An agreed definition is essential for monitoring the numbers in poverty and measuring the success of various reforms. The definitions used could be said to have a direct impact on both the numbers of people counted as poor and the nature of the debate on how to tackle poverty.

1Sociologists such as Townsend (1979) argues that Individuals, families and groups in the population can be said to be in poverty when they lack the resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in activities and having the living conditions which are customary to the society in which they belong. Their resources are so seriously below those commanded by the average family that they are in...