A Critique of Poverty: Exploring the Underground of Social Philosophy
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Poverty is the primary focus of this paper; more particularly, the critique of poverty and not its mere description. It would not be an overstatement to say that one of the common grounds for poverty theories is that they describe the poor as those who systematically experience their lives in privation, namely around having the minimum when it comes to needs such as housing, food, health, education, free time, etc. There is, therefore, a theoretical and socially accepted orientation that promotes the sedimentation of a deep affinity between poverty and the minimum. Based on this reasoning, what is set on the horizon is a kind of non-explicit acceptance that the overcoming of poverty can be achieved by granting the poor something beyond the minimum, however elementary that “something extra” may be. Thus, if the experience of poverty involves some sort of lack or privation, and if this condition can be fully filled by something that has already been socially produced, then what would justify the fact that some people are able to fully fill it while others (the poor) can only secure the bare minimum? In light of this, perhaps it would be better not to question the acceptable “minimum” but, rather, to ask: Why would the notion of poverty be guided by this normative criterion? Therefore, a way of describing my broader hypothesis on poverty would be to understand that it should be measured based on the level of denial of access to what has been socially produced. The further one is from accessing social wealth, the poorer one is. Finally, this tendency toward assimilation between poverty and the minimum engenders a depressive effect on demands for social change.