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Название: Poverty: definition and perspective
Автор: Friedman R.D.
The War on Poverty proclaimed by the president of the United States has focused public attention on the problem of the poor.
What has happened over an extended period to the conception of poverty and the material condition of the poor? Do we have now or have we ever had objective criteria on the basis of which we can define the poor? What is the basis of the poverty line of $3,000 of money income per family used by the President's Council of Economic Advisers in its 1964 Report? How valid is the portrait of poverty drawn by the Council using this line? These are the major questions which Mrs. Friedman considers in this study.
The author emphasizes that economic progress has benefited especially the low income groups in the community, citing as examples the relative effect on different classes of such major technological improvements as electricity, inside plumbing, telephone, automobile, TV and radio. The available statistical evidence, which covers only the past three decades, records a major reduction in both the number and fraction of families with low income in this country over that period. The income that in 1929, a year of high prosperity, put a family in the top 25 percent of all consumer units is today attained by fully two-thirds of all consumer unitsand this is, of course, after adjusting for the change in the purchasing power of the dollar. At the other end of the income scale, the highest income of the lowest third in 1929 is today exceeded by all but one-eighth of all consumer units.