Archive for the 'JargonBuster' Category

What is ‘the economy’?

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.

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What is poverty?

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

What do disadvantaged and vulnerable mean?

Quite simply, to be disadvantaged is to have less advantage than others. For example if you live in a remote area you might be disadvantaged in looking for work or accessing training courses.

To be vulnerable means that you are at risk of something. For example if you don’t have enough food to eat you are more likely to become sick than someone who does have enough food. Therefore you are vulnerable to ill health. Vulnerable and disadvantage are often used to describe the same thing.

Power and democracy

Power and influence over your environment are important democratic rights for all people. The concept of having your say and being heard are issues that are fought over frequently. People who are vulnerable or disadvantaged in our society are less likely to have a voice, due to the barriers created by our inequitable environmental, political and social structures. Young people are often overlooked or excluded due to false assumptions that they do not have the ideas and maturity to contribute to important debates.


Create a Better State is all about South Australia and you. It's about the things that underpin the social fabric of our state and how you can make a difference when the State election rolls around in March 2010. We're not party-political and we're not going to tell you how to vote...we just ask you to do it thoughtfully. And on this website there are some tools and tips to help you do that.

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