2014 Oxford study says being poor is unpleasant

A 2014 Oxford University study concluded that half the world’s poor are so deprived they should be classified as “destitute.” The study was done in the poorest countries so if they include the US & Europe, that figure will increase just like poverty has.

Of course the study hinges on what defines “destitution” & thus it parses the facets of deprivation–what they call the “multidimensional” features, like access to food, health care, education, sanitation, housing. Well at least they didn’t use the World Bank standard of US $1 a day as a measure. Though one can imagine they’re looking at the exact same people.

The study claims that generally the situation has improved for the poor due to poverty reduction programs & economic growth. Oh really? Could they name some of those poverty programs & describe what they’ve accomplished? And can they parse again (since they’re so good at it) to tell us who’s deriving the benefits of economic growth? Are a lot of people earning more than $2 a day now (although it takes a lot more than that just to eat anywhere in the world)? Do they have a pot to piss in now rather than have to take a whiz outside?

But what about all those millions of child workers? The millions of desperate immigrants? The over 2 billion homeless & slum dwellers? Are things looking up for them too? Or are they the “destitute” ones?

The report identified the countries where the progress in “reducing destitution” is being registered: Ethiopia, Niger, Ghana, Bolivia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nepal, Haiti, Bangladesh, & Zambia. Could they review that multidimensional thing for us again because we can’t tell if it’s cognitive dissonance on the part of Oxford or us that makes that assertion seem burlesque. And grotesque.

We don’t want to start class warfare over a study we can use as ammunition against neoliberalism, the barbaric phase of capitalism, but maybe rich people shouldn’t be the ones to do the parsing. Especially if they think the difference between poverty & destitution is a piss pot rather than an al fresco whiz.

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