Biological poverty is the type of poverty that refers to malnutrition and starvation. It could also refer to housing and clothing so inadequate that people suffer from exposure.
Even though there is no universally accepted deffinition for "basic needs", the biological poverty line is generally determined on the basis of the expenses to obtain the necessary amount of calories for the survival of an individual, generally estimated at 2,400 calories. It could be objectively determined taking into account the food consumption of households.
Biological poverty can still be found in the world's poorest countries. It can also be found in contemporary dictatorships. Biological poverty is rare in the developed world. Homeless people endure biological poverty.
English scholar Thomas Robert Malthus (1766–1834) supported basically an eternal misery law of biological poverty, stating that whatever human progress is made in producing more food and other goods will always give a matching increase in population, so holding poverty steady always. According to Malthus, if food production is steady then population will be steady - though progress may tend to increase food production and give a matching growth in population that holds poverty steady. Malthus biological poverty is arguably right for primitive human societies, as it is for wild plants and animals. But certainly not for more modern human societies, nor for the domesticated plants and animals. On the contrary, contemporary Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari affirms that Humanity has finally achieved to pass the “biological poverty line”, meaning that, though famines still occur in some parts of the world, we are now able to feed an astonishingly large portion of the globe without putting a large amount of effort. Harari also states that, separated from the biological poverty line, humankind today faces a higher risk of being killed by obesity rather than famine and malnutrition.
- Situational poverty
- Generational poverty
- Absolute poverty
- Urban poverty
- Rural poverty
- Relative poverty
- Official poverty
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