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Measuring Poverty

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 Nov 2016 12:00 AM GMT


Economist Shatakshee Dhongde of the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States pleads that income alone should not constitute an assessment of a person’s fincial condition, and that health, education, standard of living and other socio-economic factors may help to make a more accurate assessment of a person’s fincial condition. She looks at “deprivation” or poverty more than simply as low income, and has discovered that almost 15 per cent of Americans are deprived (therefore poor) in multiple dimensions. This is what she has to say about her study: “This study approaches poverty in a new way. We tried to identify what is missing in the literature on poverty, and measure deprivation in six dimensions: health, education, standard of living, security, social connections and housing quality.” What she seems to have missed out is food. Considering that neither health nor persol security can be sustained without food, we fail to see how one can elimite food from the list of dimensions. But that apart, dimensions like health, education, standard of living and housing quality are all dependent on one’s income—another dimension that Dhongde has elimited from her list. One can certainly argue that the lack of income or money alone is not an accurate indicator of poverty, but there is no way of arguing that the ‘dimensions’ that she insists are the only operative ones in determining deprivation or poverty are in no way related to income or money. It is not that the world had no way of identifying deprivation or poverty before Shatakshee Dhongde came along, but all assessments of deprivation have generally accepted the fact that in order to ensure good health, education and a standard of living, one needs an income or an access to money. One fails to understand how such ‘studies’ can be accepted as useful or even credible when they seek to ignore the obvious.


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