We take it as a simple truism that we wish to alleviate poverty. This is why we so support this neoliberal globalisation stuff, these past few decades have seen the greatest reduction in absolute poverty in the history of our species. Yes, we know, we've pointed this out before.
However, what others call poverty is not quite the same thing. Take this for example:
I’m one of those formerly “poor people” vomited up from the gaping class wound at the heart of British society to offer “shocking”, “inspiring” testimony about the adversity they have since transcended. You might find me recounting the day my drunk mum chased me with a knife or see me on television looking very bored as I explain, yet again, that I managed to avoid smoking crack because somebody knocked on the front door as the pipe was being passed to me.
I’m one of structural poverty’s most comforting cultural tropes: the survivor who lived to tell the tale.
Not childhood experiences we'd wish upon anyone to be sure. But it's very difficult indeed to see what they have to do with what is claimed to be the cause:
The overriding emotion anyone should be feeling at news that in excess of a third of British children will soon be growing up in relative poverty is fear. The tidal wave of social problems racing towards all of us because of this unsustainable inequality has the potential to overwhelm society.
But look at this in more detail, this specific example. Relative poverty is less than 60% of median household income (usually after housing costs, which we'll ignore for the moment). That median household income is, close enough, £25,000 a year in Britain.
So, the contention is that households with lower than £15,000 a year encourage knife wielding among drunken mothers. That £16,000 a year stops crack cocaine taking - or perhaps it increases door knocking, the point isn't quite made clear. These aren't contentions which accord with reality.
Apologies to those attempting to build this narrative, that inequality is corrosive of the fundamentals of our society, but it's just one of those things which isn't true.