A definition for poverty

Topics: Game theory, Existence, Zero-sum Pages: 1 (513 words) Published: June 2, 2014

Is it the Government's Job to Reduce Poverty volume 2
How poverty is defined is essential as a starting point to this argument. The definition can fluctuate drastically depending on who you ask. The answers are almost as varied as the proposed solutions. As nice as it is to imagine ways to fix the problem we need to first define what the problem is. If we are looking at poverty as a problem that has existed before us and will almost definitely continue to exist after us we need a definition that can function as a universal. That is a much more difficult task than saying “under X- thousand dollars a year”. A brief note: for this definition we will be working with the understanding of economics as a zero sum game, meaning that there is a finite number of resources a society can produce.

To accomplish this we will need to start at the very beginning and work our way forward to the present day. As far back as we can go in terms of economics is to look at modern day tribal societies that still use hunter gatherer systems, with little of what we would call modern economics. Although many of these societies are far from ideal most people would agree that even by the most broad definition poverty does not exist in them. This is because of two major reasons, the first is that in a hunting and gathering society people are the most valuable resource and keeping everyone in the tribe satisfied and healthy is of utmost importance. The second is that without agriculture and industry there can be no surplus and therefore no one can own more goods than anyone else for a significant amount of time. With the advent of agriculture on a large scale people were able to develop surpluses either by skill or by luck and to use those surpluses to their advantage. This is when we start to see classes of people emerge, both those with more wealth than others and those with less. Although early agriculture varied from place to place and time to time generally we can say that this...
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