We all have our guilty viewing pleasures. Mine tend to be videos of people exploring abandoned places, extreme cake decorating, and trashy sitcoms. But when does one person’s guilty pleasure cross the line into another’s exploitation? Especially when it comes to matters of poverty, and so-called ‘poverty porn’?
What does ‘welfare’ mean to you? Or ‘benefits’? Do you associate these words with phrases like ‘welfare queens’ or ‘benefit cheats’? Does the image of a ‘bogan’ (Australia) or a ‘chav’ (UK) smoking a cigarette out the front of a government flat spring to mind?
‘Invest in me, and God will invest in you’. This is how Tanya Levin characterises the message of those who preach ‘prosperity gospel’, one of a number of closely related teachings also known as abundant life or seed faith. ‘Refuse, and you only have yourself to blame’.
Prosperity gospel or theology is defined as ‘a religious belief among some Christians who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth’. Although Enrichmentality is not a religious blog, prosperity gospel lies at the intersection of the two topics this site deals with: language (‘positive speech’) and money (‘donations’). The lessons from this example are far reaching.
Yes, and no. Now we know what it means to be poor, we can talk about what it would take to end poverty.
You may remember that ‘absolute’ poverty is defined ‘in terms of the minimal requirements necessary to afford minimal standards of food, clothing, health care and shelter’. Meanwhile, ‘relative’ poverty is defined ‘relative to others in a country; for example, below 60% of the median income of people in that country.’
One of these can be eradicated, but the other is a different story…