Relative definition of poverty
Take a look at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation site and look at the new poverty survey, which is using a social consensus approach and is updating Mack and Lansley's research.
You may already have printed this report off.
Now look at this article.
Print it if you find it difficult to read off the screen.
Read the article "Values and the study of Poverty" which gives further discussion of the problems of relative definitions of poverty.
Read the articles listed in Box 1 and do the activity offline.
Consider the following points
What does this exercise tell you about what counts as a necessity?
How much agreement do you think there would be in a society about the choices?
This illustrated the point that what counts as a necessity is to some degree subjective or depends on the point of view of the speaker. For example someone who has mobility problems and lives in an isolated area might class a phone as a necessity, but someone living in the centre of a large town might class a telephone as a luxury.