Economics is the theory of production and distribution of wealth. The economy is the practical science of the production, administration and distribution of wealth. When we talk about economic growth, we are referring to the increase in the production of wealth in Australia. For example the mining boom in South Australia will result in more money being generated in our state by digging uranium out of the ground and selling it. Once this money is generated it is distributed to things like wages, taxes and profits, this money is then spent by employees, governments and shareholders. The economy is influenced by many things including interest rates, government policy, regulation and competition.
Poverty is to not have enough of something; often we refer to poverty as not having enough money to afford the basics in life for example somewhere to live, food and clothes. However people can also have poverty of opportunity, in other words they may not have enough control or choice on how they live. For example a person with a physical disability who needs assistance with getting on a bus may not have any choice or control regarding how and when they can travel. This then impacts significantly on whether they can get a job, or even go to the movies.
Poverty and how to define and measure it is a hotly debated topic, and there are many different approaches. The four key approaches are as follows:
Low income — Measures the income of a household, but does not include any assets or other wealth the household might have.
Low Capabilities — This is about the resources and power a person might have.
Social Exclusion — This focuses on barriers that people might face to participating in the community, this can include thing like health issues, discrimination and access to transport.
Material deprivation — In direct relation to the low income approach this focuses on the amount of money a household spends.
An entire chapter of the Blueprint for the eradication of poverty is devoted to the concept of measuring poverty, and can be found on the SACOSS website, www.sacoss.org.au/blueprint