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Culture and Poverty

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Culture and Poverty

I, Introduction
As every countries is developing their economics and societies, their people are enjoying the growth of the economics and modern society; however, still most people are left behind depend on what society they are live in. Those left behind are categories as poverty. Developing countries seem to have more poverty populations than those of developed countries. There are many definitions and explanations to define poverty. Many factors such as, income, non-materialist, feminist are examples of the poverty defined factors, with their own unique way of explanation. However, there is much scholar has ever discussed about culture as one factor of poverty. In other word, cultural factor seems to be the last thing people talk about poverty. In this paper, we shall discuss how culture influence to poverty progress.
The paper will briefly discuss about some theories of poverty such as absolute poverty, relative poverty, and UN definition of poverty. The analysis will lead to the answer to the following question:
1, Should definition of poverty include culture as one factor?
2, Can culture contribute to the reducing in poverty?
3, How should definition of poverty be best defined?
II, Body
Absolute poverty is defines that, “a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services.” (Absolute and overall poverty) In other word, absolute poverty refers to the basic need people required in order to survive. As similar to this, UN definition of poverty, which uses globally, defines that a person is in poverty when he cannot earn an income of more than 1$ per day. The definitions are good in their own way; however, they are fail to explain about other factors as well as they cannot apply in every society and culture. First thing, it ignore the non-material elements, which is about the ability to participate in society, lack of decision making, lack of voice, lack of respect, so on and so forth. Second thing, people need more than basic need for survival. As for UN definition, an average income of 1$ per day, cannot really satisfy or afford the living standard of those in the developed world.
Those definitions failed to explain some other points and define what poverty really is. In order to learn that much one need to learn about the society and culture of one country. Culture is the way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time. It is believed that culture play as one important factors contributing to the cause of poverty in society as follow.
Firstly, culture show the way of people living their society. Let us compare a person with less than one dollar in two difference societies given the same condition of society. One society is considered to be masculinity culture and femininity culture. Masculinity is valued by achievement, position, status, and so on; while femininity culture is valued by love, caring, corporation, kindness. A hypothesis show that the one, with less than 1$ income, in masculinity is having a hard time to afford for basic need, and barely save enough money to cure for his diseases. However, the one who live in femininity society doesn’t have any hard time at all. As because, he is being help by his neighbour, he can go to work from house to house in exchange for some foods, shelter, or maybe some fee for his work. There are chances that he is treated well by neighbourhood, unlike feeling insecure and lack of respect in the masculinity society.
Secondly, difference country has difference society, culture and conditions. Culture is widely acceptable for its role in influence people’s perspective and minds. For example, Japan’s culture has been known for its hardworking and commitment. After losing World War II, Japan had lost everything and even debt to the winning and other countries. However, it doesn’t take long before Japan recover from the loss and debt; and Japan became one of the world strongest economics. It is because of one evitable and undeniable reason that Japanese people is hard working and have strong commitment to recover their country from the loss and shame. Though there are some other factors to explain the growth of their economic, still hardworking and commitment of people play as core contribution- without people contribution, there won’t be strong country either. In contrast, there are countries or communities that are found to be slow in development, a lot of people are still poor. Lazy can be considered as one common attitude in culture for some communities. That culture shape their people perspective not to think of future, which make them make their lives just to live a present day, resulting in many poor people.
Studying deep into the society and culture are so beneficial to provide clear explanation and best suitable definition for that society. As similar to the relative definition of poverty, it refer to, “People are relatively impoverished if the customary (average) standard of living in their society requires more spending than the income they have available. This standard changes as a society becomes more prosperous.” (Byrns) In addition to this, the European Commission’s definition provides similar meaning as, “The poor shall be taken to mean persons families and groups of persons whose resources are so limited as to exclude them from the minimum acceptable way of life in Member State in which they live.” (Defining Poverty) The two definitions have shown one common sense of comparison of one person to another one living in the same society. As being compared, we can see and learn who is in poverty. The two definitions have backed the study of the culture and society of one country. Though there is one critique about the studying as there are so many poor people within one society, which make that only the lowest people will be consider as the poor in the sense of the two definitions. In consequences, culture is so important to look into for further analysis.

III, Conclusion
Poverty will be more accurate and suitable if it is defined in one specific country, culture, or community. As many factors will be contribute to the defining of definition such as income, society condition, culture, and so on. It is not likely that the world can have so many poverty definitions; however, it is recommended that each society should have their own specific definition. It is very useful in assisting the country to create their development strategy based on their definition of poverty.

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