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Absolute & Relative Poverty -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Bourassa, Cheryl;

2009 / EBSCO


On a global scale, poverty is measured two ways: in absolute and relative terms. The focus of absolute poverty is the individual; the World Bank defines absolute poverty as having access to no more than one dollar a day of purchasing parity power. Relative poverty measures the individual against a larger group; how much of a gap is there between those at the very bottom of the economic ladder and the rest of the cohort? Central to understanding the issue of poverty is a consideration of the solutions. The World Bank is the institution with the most responsibility for addressing global issues of poverty. Their economic philosophy has long been dominated by neoliberal thinkers who advocate for good government, based on Western style democracy, open markets and structural adjustments to the economy. As globalization has come to dominate the world economy, its effects on poverty are the subject of heated debate.