What are the definitions of poverty ?

There are many definitions of poverty , which depend on the point of view of those who produce them. Over the centuries, these things have been viewed from various perspectives: religious: the poor, as an incarnation of God; moral: the poor as responsible and guilty for their situation; politics: the poor as victims of an exploitive system; etc.

ATD Fourth World aims to understand and make the points of view of people and populations in extreme poverty about the realities they live with known. Not only the description of these situations, but how these people feel and what explanations they give to themselves.

From this research linked to the poor, came the definition that Joseph Wresinski proposed to France’s Economic and social Council, which was then used by Mr Leandro Despouy in his UN report on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights:

“The lack of basic security connotes the absence of one or more factors enabling individuals and families to assume basic responsibilities and to enjoy fundamental rights. The situation may become widespread and result in more serious and permanent consequences. The lack of basic security leads to chronic poverty when it simultaneously affects several aspects of people’s lives, when it is prolonged and when it severely compromises people’s chances of regaining their rights and of reassuming their responsibilities in the foreseeable future.” (10 and 11 February 1987)