The chapter begins with the premise that poverty arises from unmet needs of different kinds. Human needs can be conceptualized as motivations, as a hierarchy (Maslow 1943), universal (Doyal and Gough 1991), generated by imperatives to secure bodily survival, psychological well-being, and/or cultural conformity. In Capitalist societies money increasingly becomes the means to meeting needs of all kinds – almost anything can be bought and sold (Sandel 2012). However, not all unmet need results in poverty - the degree of disadvantage arising from unmet need that is – or should be – regarded as socially unacceptable. Approaches to defining poverty – overall, absolute, relative (Townsend 1979) and capabilities (Sen 1983) – are discussed. The strengths and weaknesses of ‘objective’ measurement and subjective accounts are explored. Pulling together emerging themes, the beginnings of a universal framework of the liberties all should have and the needs that should be met, sketching out the parameters for ‘social realisation’ (Sen 2010). Strategies for reducing resource needs and equalizing power and voice are proposed, as conducive to inclusive equality. Finally, it is noted that there are circumstances in which no amount of personal resources like income or education will grant access to distributive processes.
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