the world is poorer than we thought

Economist, the bottom 1.4 billion: According to a recent World Bank study,

. . . the “developing world is poorer than we thought”. The number of poor was almost 1.4 billion in 2005.

This does not mean the plight of the poor had worsened—only that the plight is now better understood. The bank has improved its estimates of the cost of living around the world, thanks to a vast effort to compare the price of hundreds of products, from packaged rice to folding umbrellas, in 146 countries. In many poor countries the cost of living was steeper than previously thought, which meant more people fell short of the poverty line.

. . . people are poor if they cannot match the standard of living of someone living on $1.25 a day in America in 2005. Such people would be recognised as poor even in Nepal, Tajikistan and hard-pressed African countries such as Uganda. But for those who still think a “dollar a day” has a better ring to it, the authors also calculate the number of people living on less than that at 2005 prices (see table).

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has another guage. See the Economist’s the bottom 1.4 billion.

For a discussion on who “the poor’ are for the New Testament, (Jesus in particular), see Who are the Poor, Explanation and Defense (poserorprophet) who develops what Dunn says in Jesus Remembered.

  1. material poverty
  2. economic exploitation
  3. “poor in Spirit”

. . . When I speak of ‘the Poor’ today, I am thinking not only of the economically disadvantaged, but also of the oppressed, those suffering social marginalisation, those considered ‘damned’ by the Church, those considered ‘criminals’ by the Justice System, those who are rejected due to illnesses or biological differences, and so on and so forth.

Despite the broad inclusiveness of the term poverty, Dan believes

. . . that we must continually speak of wealth and poverty today, because it is economics that now functions as the cornerstone of our existence in the world of late capitalism.

Plus, it congers up more concrete images than some of the proposed alternatives. Read Dan’s full post – Who are the Poor, Explanation and Defense.

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