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Time and poverty go hand in hand: A lack of resources includes a person’s time

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TRADITIONALLY, poverty has been measured in terms of income. This is because a lack of income constrains opportunity, choice and the fulfilment of fundamental needs.

Income is viewed as the ultimate resource and poverty as the dire compromises on living standards driven by its absence. However, there is another resource — time — which also constrains what people can achieve and access, and it is fundamental to poverty.

Everyone needs time to earn an income, so time and income have a two-way relationship. People also need time for much more; social relationships, giving and receiving care and love, and rest and recreation. These cannot occur unless people have sufficient time, even if they have sufficient income.

People also need time for their health – to prepare nutritious meals and to exercise for example. Without giving time to their health they risk developing diseases linked to obesity like cardiovascular illness or diabetes.

Indeed, time and money constrain opportunity, freedom and the ability to live a meaningful and healthy life. Yet time has received far less interest and is rarely a target for anti-poverty action.

One reason why time has not been taken seriously is that everyone has 24 hours each day. Problems of time scarcity and poverty are seen as a problem of choice rather than a problem of power and distribution.

SEE ALSO: How do Australia’s politicians view the trust divide?


© Asian Correspondent