What is poverty? Can it be measured by income – or the lack of it – or is it a state of mind, asks social worker-turned-writer Bernard Hare, who grew up in a Yorkshire mining family. My father worked as a coal miner while my mother was a shop worker in a department store.
For the first 10 years of my life, I had little idea that we were poor. As far as I was concerned, we had warmth, love, shelter, enough to eat – except towards the end of the week sometimes, as most people got paid in cash on Fridays – and a safe community environment to run around and play in.
Poverty isn’t only about a lack of money and resources. The worst poverty is found when there is a lack of education, understanding, hope – liberty, fraternity, egality, as the French say. Even after being on strike for a year, without money, the miners never thought themselves in poverty, because they had each other.
It seems to me poverty is a state of mind. If you think you’re poor, you’re poor. If you think you’re rich, you’re rich.