Friday, August 11, 2006

Poverty and Inequality

Today was the second day of my final course here for my Masters in Development Studies, the course being Poverty and Inequality with the Head of the School, Julian May. It's a bigger class with all co-students from first term, so it's great to see all the familiar faces and it looks like a great class to end the first 50% of the degree. Today we discussed how to measure poverty. We reviewed how poverty can be measure in many ways and should actually be viewed with a set of mirrors surrounding the whole issue to really understand the meaning of poverty. We looked at absolute poverty and how one uses a basket of consumption goods (rice, fish, etc) + non-food goods and total this for a person's consumption. Of course if you are calculating households one needs to consider the number of members in the household and decide whether a child's consumption is equal to a father's consumption and weight it accordingly. Back to the basket of goods, the goods are then taken and calculated according to the number of calories it provides one person and then the total caloric intake for the basket of goods is compared to the minimum one should have to be healthy. It changes depending on what region you are of course. Then you can start to calculate whether a person is "impoverished" or not. that's the start.

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