Friday, October 10, 2014

Quote: Follow Up to Entry Ticket

"Tell me your measure of who is poor and I will tell you what your values are"

To what extent are definitions and measurement of social realities embedded in values, and the values in turn within larger theoretical and social perspectives?

Go to the following link and read the article:  Measure by Measure

Revisit your definition of poor
Look at classmates' definitions
Take the quote and question above into consideration
Write a commentary below

Chinese Proverb:  A book holds a house of gold.

To be without a friend is to be poor indeed. ~ Tanzanian proverb

Loneliness &...feeling...unwanted is the most terrible poverty.~Mother Theresa


  1. Jemuel 3A
    The values of one person can create variation in opinions about social realities such as poverty. Everyone has different standards and these standards have been created through their life experiences and the standards that society has set upon them. A person who has had money their whole life and has been accustomed to that money will have money high in their priority list. A person who has never had too many friends will have friends high in their priority list because it is something that they value more than anything else. The article measures poverty by the amount of money they receive and the amount of money they need. This is because United States is a capitalist country and revolves around money. Also, they cannot take into consideration everybody's life events so money is the easiest way to measure general poverty.

    1. Jocelyn M
      I want to agree with Jemuel to a certain extent. I believe it really depends on location when determining whether or not someone is poor. The values a person has for themselves really do create the range in terms of knowing what poverty is.
      A question I would have for Jemuel would be: to what extent does being capitalist influence the way we think of ourselves in terms of economically?

  2. Jocelyn M 3A
    I believe when I first decided to define what poor was, I dd not take into consideration what it might mean to others in different countries. What this means to me is that being poor can be so many more things than just income and it does not really define you as a person, instead this word "poor" defines who we are as people for judging and not really having a wider perspective of things globally. I want to change my definition of poor and say that it can mean lacking the comfort and needs of emotionally, shelter, and economically. For us in The United States, I feel like we generally value objects and materials more than our morals so being poor in our case would be not having the basic cost of food and materials. For example: we view homeless people as poor because we compare ourselves to them and believe that we ourselves have so much more than them but we in fact may be poor in sense because we may lack an emotional comfort level. However, for someone in a third world country; being poor would mean not having the supplies and not being apple to provide for a family even when taking on several tasks. In the United States we actually have assistance in terms of having financial aid and therapist while in some other countries these resources are not even provided. This again, can be considered to be poor. When reading the quote " A book holds a house of gold", to me this means when can have absolutely nothing except one small thing and they are considered to be poor however, to them this one things may mean the world to them and they consider themselves to be wealthy emotionally and morally.


  3. Jocelyn N.
    When I first came across with developing a definition for poverty, I did not bother to think of other factors than income. This article allowed me to see that my definition stems from the poverty threshold and the SPM used to identify what government programs individuals can apply for. I found it interesting how the article connected the supplemental poverty measure with regards to the United Nations human development index as well as its connection to this new measure that the author believes should be supported by Congress. When I originally stated my definition, I completed it in regards to money, which can also be related to the Chinese proverb “A book holds a house of gold.” While I mentioned things such as choosing what necessity is the most important, I failed to mention the importance of education. While it was embedded to me that education is valuable, it was the money gained from pursuing education that persuaded me towards only focusing on how a specific amount of money can make you poor.
    While focusing on how income can decide whether or not you are poor, it taught me that my definition is very biased to what defines poverty. As a first generation Salvadoran-American, it was embedded into me: Take your education to the highest level. I came during the war in order to provide for my family and one day, you will choose to do the same. To me, this perspective is not negative due to the importance of family in the Latino community, but it has cost me the ability to quickly make friends and has taught me that friends are not important. “Friends” are not paying your tuition nor are they paying for the bed you sleep on and the phone you talk on. It is with this that my family follows the idea of: time is money, an idea that can also be seen in a variety of my peers’ comments when referring to basic necessities and money.
    With “time is money”, this motivated me even further to create patterns in order for me to succeed in this notion of the “American dream”. When I speak Spanish, I tend to mix up my words and can be said that I am assimilating to American culture. It is with my Salvadoran background that raised me to say that the American dream is rare and for those who do not succeed in America are mainly because they did not choose the right decision, such as making friends rather than acquaintances. It is with this same value that raised me towards a Capitalist/Authoritative way of thinking. Only one formula works and this one formula can allow you to meet past what is considered low income/formula or force you to be invisible.
    This formula can be present in what is considered the typical American way of deciding what is poverty and different values regarding money is seen through the figure shown in the article. Because of these ideas being passed on from generation to generation, it is difficult to think more democratic, which proves how authoritative governments can affect immigrants, even if they are first generation.

  4. Abigail
    When asked to respond to the entry ticket, I did briefly consider defining "poor" as something along the lines of not living a full life with friends and comfort and kindness. But I eventually decided to follow the more orthodox mindset and define poor as not being able to support oneself and family. I did this because I think that in our world today these words have a practical purpose. We need these words so that we can understand the finical situation someone is in and to provide aid if necessary. And although I do think money is only of relative importance so long as you are happy, I stick to my original definition because it seems conceded of me to identify as poor if I can support myself. There are lots of people who do not have the money to support themselves. I feel like it would be insensitive of me to claim that I am just as poor as they are when I have all the physical comforts of life readily available to me.

  5. Alicia

    Well first off, I would just like to say that the picture at the top was very depressing. I do feel as though by definition of what is poor matched more of what the SPM was trying to test. Being poor is not having enough to cover a person's respective needs, as well as being based off of their economic/living status. So what is poor to an American citizen would be rich to another country, as "poor" Americans are sometimes given assistance from the government, while another country's poor citizens will have to struggle to survive on their own. The only problem that I had with the article was towards the end of the article when it mentioned how some conservatives have a problem with the new "measure of poverty" system (SPM). It just reminded me of my uncle who will die by the phrase "A person is only poor if they want to be." It just made me feel uneasy.

  6. Jazmine 3A
    The article's definition of poor/poverty raised a very good question, and that was, "Is poverty an absolute or relative condition?" This made me think about my definition in terms of the article. I said things about healthy relationships with people and/or religion and how it is not just physical and tangible items, it is mental, emotional, and spiritual. But let's say a person is poor by my definition, are they able to become rich or above poverty or is their condition permanent? I believe they can with great effort, time, and resources, such as help from programs and etc. Culturally in the United States, there is a metaphor many Americans live by, and that is, "Time is Money." But, proven in other cultures, this is not necessarily true, although it is to a certain extent. A person in poverty may have a lot more time on their hands because they most likely are unemployed. In this case, time is not money, but rather a fight for survival or a guessing game. I believe my definition of poor includes the aspects from the last two quotes and I am in agreement with the very first quote at the top, because we are a product of our environment and that shapes our values.

  7. Constance

    The comment I posted for the previous blog post tells me that I value money. This makes sense because growing up I noticed that the people in leadership roles were generally wealthier than those who were not. Whether they were born rich or had to work their their way up didn't seem to matter. The people in the leadership roles seemed to be able to get what they wanted done when they wanted. Money isn't as important to me as it was when I realized this, but it still holds importance to me because many of the things I want to do in the future, like going to college, cost what I consider to be a lot of money.
    The way I defined "poor" seems fair to me. In the article attached to this blog post, the ways that other countries decide how to define poverty is relative to the people in the country.

  8. Nnedi

    After reading the article, I came to the realization that poverty does not always correlate with the amount of money one has. Society has definitely influences how I perceive poverty and I admit my biases. Many countries around the world do not perceive being poor as not having enough money to support themselves and their families. Based off of the Tanzanian proverb, being poor means not having someone there to guide or hear you out whenever you need to express emotions towards something. It is sort of a mindset that they have towards being poor. In the context of the proverb, time is not money. Being poor does not define one’s financial stability neither does it say anything about who they are as a person. Coming from a family of immigrants, my mother never defined herself as being poor when she was younger. Although her parents were not able to put her in school at the right time, she always had that one friend that comforted her. That one friend was the person that gave her the necessities she needed when she started primary school. However, when she migrated to the United States society defined her as a low class individual. This shows how society and the culture we abide by influences how we perceive certain things. Just because one culture values money more than another, does not mean that everyone should conform to that kind of judgment.

  9. lashawnda
    The extent to which definitions and measurement of social realties are embedded in values vary among cultures. I believe in this because everyone has different values, some people don’t even define money as being rich and some define it has having respect. In my society, we define it as money, whereas in other places it could be a whole different idea. In that, I don’t have a definition of poverty because all of it is different. We all come from different backgrounds and some may not even need basic necessities, some of these aspects go beyond that which makes defining poor so hard. This is especially in the light values and what people find significant in one place and may not be in another. Definitions and measurements people have vary among the society and how they operate on a day to day basis. As for the values being looked at within a larger context, the definition has a boiled generalized idea but that is only half of the pie and not looked at directly. In other words, I believe we all disagree to agree, so our definition has made a world wide label but we will never know what others think. In relation to the quotes given, I want to refer to the Chinese proverb which had stated ‘A Book Holds A House of Gold’. I would see this as a generalized statement that the whole world could agree because that is what everyone focuses on, but within each country they all their definition of what is gold, a book, and what is a house. The definition of poverty is practically inevitable based on perspective and what one has been through.

  10. Tunji

    I think that definitions and the measurement of social realities are embedded in values. The measure of poverty is not universal, it is determined by country to country due to how each records poverty. Each country has different values. The United States official poverty measure is based off how much food a family can buy, which is simple but it is not accurate enough to fully show poverty. I believe that the "supplemental poverty measure" (SPM) is better than the official measure because it looks at the needs of families and how much they need help from the government. I believe that my definition of poor is related to the SPM because they both are based off the needs of people rather than just only one specific thing. Every person needs water, shelter, and food on a daily basis. Most of my classmates said that being poor means that you do not have the basic necessities of life. Basing poverty off basic necessities is the best way to measure poverty. Now, the quote by Mother Theresa is somewhat true, but I believe that it is impossible to measure it. You can not measure people being lonely, but you can mesure people not having the basic necessities of life. Being lonely and unwanted is a terrible feeling, but it does not represent the worst form a poverty. It reflects poverty because people who maybe poor may feel lonely. I feel that the best way to look at poverty is by the SPM.

  11. Fitsume
    My definition of poor leaned more towards the fact that it is a state of mind instead of something that is Financial. After reading the article I realized that there are some flaws in my definition. My definition did not account for the people who are already homeless and have no means in improving themselves. The definition I gave were mainly to people who have the resources but are too lazy or too dependent on other people to get out of being poor. But I still stand by my definition because before you are homeless you have an opportunity to seek help or get yourself out of the poor mindset. And I understand there maybe some people who are product of misfortunes but they still have opportunities out there to find help

  12. Ashley

    To what extent are definitions and measurement of social realities embedded in values, and the values in turn within larger theoretical and social perspectives?

    Definitions and measurements of social realities are deeply embedded in our values. Our values may come from our culture, our parents and traditions. What we have perceived in our environment, which may cause biases in the things that we decide to analyze and look further into. In my culture, the American culture, it is all about money, money, money. If you do not have money, then one is poor. Is British culture if someone is not able to provide a birthday party for their children, or the child does not have a birthday party, then they are considered poor in their society. Having materialistic depravation. Different cultures have different perspectives. Some cultures may have the same views as well. In Europe if one income falls below the 60% median, then they are considered poor. SOme countries also associate poor with income.. Many of my classmates said the same thing. The believe that the definition of poor, or the root of being poor is not having money. It not being able to purchase, or have the necessacities, or basic living. Just like Jocelyn N said, that it all comes down whether or not one has the finds for basic living. If someone can not provide that for themselves with money then they are poor. The only way to come out of poverty is money. Our culture is such a capitlalist society that money is embedded in our culture.

  13. Alyssa

    I think that values are very important to consider when defining such words and you can see that before you even read the article. Just looking at the quotes and the definitions the class gave you can see a significant difference in the responses. Almost all the classes posted included something about money and did not include any other example of being poor. One of the quotes mentions how now having friend can be considered as poor, and while I cant speak for the rest of the class, that is the farthest thing from my mind when I hear the word poor. Other ways to define poor can be found in the article and you can see that each country has different measurement for what it means to be poor. On the other hand the article mostly dealt with actual numbers and figures and not how the definition can differ culturally and from culture to culture.

  14. sunny

    Our definition as a class majority talked about money and the less money you had defined how poor you were.
    I still believe from the quote “Tell me your measure of who is poor and I will tell you what your values are” can stand as an economic viewpoint of the different economic classes.
    And then there were classmates that talked about feelings like the Tanzanian proverb and Mother Theresa.
    But I ask cant you take the quote and apply it to feelings?
    To what extent does emotion and belief create our viewpoint of what “Poor” is?
    In the article talks about different parts of the country and how they define poor but in the US we define it from a barrow from the basic cost of food.

  15. Telani
    The way I defined poor was someone who doesn’t have the basic necessities in life. According to the article, the meaning of poor varies in different ways in reference to the different countries. The way we measure poor is able to show what our values. In England, they measure poor as someone who is not being able to celebrate their birthday. Though it seems a bit trivial to celebrate a birthday, it may have some kind of importance over there. In the U.S. we look at poor as not having enough money to sustain everyday lives. Even the people apart of the programs in order to prevent poverty, are not qualified in the poverty level indicator. When looking at the two countries, money is a main factor in being poor or not being poor and being able to celebrate a birthday.

  16. Obichi
    Based on my response, I think definitions and measurements of social realities are embedded in values, but not to a great extent. I believe that these definitions are influenced more by where one’s environment. My values are based on my native culture, which is the one I spent the most time and grew up around. And, the beliefs of my native culture are similar to those reflected by the Tanzanian proverb and the Mother Theresa quote. Yet, my response to the initial question, my definition of poor, was based on finances. Furthermore, because of my personal experiences, I highly value friendship and family. But, I have also been exposed to a culture where money is important. I have seen what the lack of money can cause; the relationships it can destroy, and the positions it can put one in.

  17. Vaskia
    After, reading this article I came to find that out values do determine if we are poor or not. Poor is determined differently in other countries. In the United States when one is considered poor by the government it is usually higher than the normal definition of what poor is. Poor being not having the basic necessities in life such as food, shelter, housing and clothing. Where he government adds 20 percent to the basic necessities the poverty indicator multiples it by 3 and does not account for the programs that help the poor. In certain countries poor may be defined as not having the money to purchase things for your child or sending them off to a good school. In some countries parents are not able to afford proper schooling needed for the tuition. Education may be very valuable to those families. Poor in other country could be not having the latest technology, car, and or a big house. Because they may value being rich and having plenty of something that another individual may not have access to.

  18. Jesus
    After reading the article, my definition of poor is completely different from what the article talks about, not only is it about money, but in other countries, there are references to being poor in other areas of resources. Every country has its own definition of poor, in one country it means one thing but in another it is completely different. From money to being social well explains being poor. Poverty is included when talking about bring poor, not only are poverty levels high, but there are specific poverty levels in different countries, in one country it may be higher than another or maybe even lower. Poverty also ranges from different races depending on the lifestyle they lie. The values of poor come in other specific reasons, not only is it about money but also the social concepts, people tend to look at being poor by it being involved with money, but it is not just about that, we all have different perspectives and our perception plays a huge role when identifying the aspects of being poor, one's definition may be different from another, no two people think alike. What we see for measurements of poverty are all different from each other; we should not jump straight to conclusions when we may think we understand the values of being poor, the measurements depend on the government and the environment the people live in, we all need to understand that everybody's lifestyle is different.

  19. Ephraim

    After reading the article, the first thing that stood out to me was that the measure of poor varies depending on the country a person lives in. This is because the values that people have in different parts of the world vary. Some countries value time more than others. Meaning that some people are serious in being on time versus being late. Based on my definition of poor, I value being above the standard level and taking care of what needs to be done. In the United States, we value having the basic needs to survive. The supplementary poverty measure tries to incorporate all of the various values that different countries have.

  20. Kelly 3A
    Depending on a country, the term poor is defined differently yet revolve around the same thing. The article discusses how Europe, Britain, and America views poverty. While both Europe and Britain have specifics to their definition, America's is more simpler. Referring back to my definition of poor, it agrees to what was said the article. My definition was simple and a bit close-minded. I did not consider how poor people would feel and more so my personal instincts.

  21. Stanley
    The values that people hold so dear to them have an extreme effect on the way we view social realities. Living in a different country or region in which a certain type of value is upheld would greatly change the way in which people view being poor. On my post I immediately connected poor to social class and not any other aspects such as knowledge, and friendship. This is because of the region i live and the values in which i was taught. America as a country is dominated by who has the most money, nowadays people attend school and play sports mostly from the thought of the money in which they will receive in the future because of it. I am also in thesame boat as these people. My parents have always told me that getting a good education was the only way that i will be capale of making enough money during my life to be completely well off. As i continue to hear this, I have grown these values as well and now i believe these social standars as well. This is why my perspective o what the word poor means was the way that is was. However one who lives in a country in which knowledge and educatuon determine social class and power would not have these same views when being asked the same question. They may be more inclined to say that those who are poor are those who are illiterate. One who lives in a country where relationships are more important than money are more likely to view the question in terms of who their relationships are.

  22. Uchechi N
    It is relatively easy to come up with ideas of what it means to be poor, based on learned knowledge and experiences but pinpointing an established definition is quite difficult. Some of the world's richest countries are still trying to count its poor, and the definition of poverty continues to differ from country to country. For example, in Europe, poverty is measured by income percentages, whereas in America poverty is measured by the cost of food that a family can afford. Additionally, the Census Bureau and The United Nations are still modifying estimates and a range of indicators on what it means to be poor. That is why we should not be fooled by our definition of poverty, and should take into account that social scientists and leaders of different countries are still trying to conclude on the the definition of what it means to be poor.

  23. Catherine O.

    It is astonishing how the meaning of poor can be changed by mere measures. In a way, you can be labeled as someone who isn't poor one day and labeled as someone that is poor the next day. Reading this article can enable one to think critically and evaluate their own definition of poor. To be poor can be changed simply by altering the categories or indicators. Personally, I thought that to be poor means when one's income falls below the average and they aren't making enough to support themselves. I was making this conception based on the indicators for the United States. However, what I see as poor may not be what someone from another country sees as poor. I learned from the article that Britain uses measures of material deprivation to measure poverty. I would have never thought to consider that to define poor.

  24. Rebeca
    I think that the first time around defining poor was based on the persons values and their own hindsight bias. What they consider a person has to lack to fall under the category of being poor. This article emphasized the cultural differences and how they measure poverty and how the definition changes due to how the persons perception is shaped differently due to the cultural difference. In my first definition I was asked what I considered inferior and if so weren't we all inferior and the denotation is correct but the cogitation brings a negative point of view. I was also asked that if living in a food desert is considered more poor than an area with limited or no food resources. And I think that there both two different types of bad but to a certain extent living in a food dessert is more acceptable or normal than having no food. It would be malnutrition against starvation one better but to a minimal extent. This article gave me a more open mind to how other countries value a person to not be considered poor. And how simply being able to celebrate your birthday is considered a privilege to others and a just another day or simply something that is considered normal or required.


Thanks for posting!!