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Absolute Poverty in EuropeInterdisciplinary Perspectives on a Hidden Phenomenon$
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Helmut Gaisbauer, Gottfried Schweiger, and Clemens Sedmak

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781447341284

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447341284.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Dignity, self-respect and real poverty in Europe

Dignity, self-respect and real poverty in Europe

Chapter:
(p.363) 17 Dignity, self-respect and real poverty in Europe
Source:
Absolute Poverty in Europe
Author(s):

Christian Neuhäuser

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447341284.003.0017

Many people seem to believe that absolute poverty is very serious, a violation of human dignity even, while relative poverty is not. Against this assumption, I will defend the claim that both, absolute and relative poverty, are degrading. I will do so by connecting dignity with a certain understanding of self-respect that rests on the ability to take care of oneself in basic matters of life as well as the ability to see and present oneself as a respect-worthy member of one’s society. Absolute poverty threatens the ability to take care of oneself in basic matters of life. Relative poverty threatens the ability to present and see oneself as a respect-worthy member of one’s society. The consequence of this argument is that relative poverty is also serious and real poverty in the sense that relatively poor people lack what is needed to live in dignity. It is closer to absolute poverty then commonly assumed. Relating absolute as well as relative poverty to dignity and self-respect shows that serious poverty is not only a problem for very poor societies in what is called the developing world, but also prevalent in the wealthier regions of Europe.

Keywords:   absolute poverty, relative poverty, dignity, self-respect, Europe

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