Human Well-being And Traditional Form Of Poverty Analysis

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Question :

Conduct a detailed study and present a report to discuss the following statement:

What is human wellbeing and how is it different from more traditional forms of poverty analysis?

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Answer :



Human well-being is the recognition that every individual all over the world is leading their life well. Ellison (2007) commented that well-being is not associated with the level of income but with the thoughts and the feelings of the individuals regarding their level of contentment with the possessions and relationships that aid in attaining the goals of the life. The well-being of the individual is affected by several factors that include social condition, nourishment, accessibility to the resources, healthcare, education, war and share and the division of the financial resources. There are several ways in which the well-being of human beings can be measured. The mere assessment of the poverty as was done traditionally is no longer a measure of the human well-being. The present report would provide an evaluation of the human well-being and would shed light that how human well-being is not only a measure of the financial well-being, but there are several other factors which are associated with the same.

The concept of Human well-being   

In the developing and under-developed countries of the world, human well-being is associated with the quality of life. Camfield et al. (2009) quality of life and well-being of the ordinary people are intricately linked with one another and allows the engagement of the whole people's life and more significant representation and the approaches that put stress only on several aspects. The community well-being at the initial stage depends on the financial resources but later it is dependent on the several factors related to health and accessibility of the resources as per the research on the well-being of the children in Australia, the key themes that emerged as important are family support, education, recreations, good relationships and ethical behaviour. Good behaviour may be a controversial component in the well-being of the people, but it helps in allowing social relationship, and overcoming the problems and creating a strong moral tone. A society reaches the stage of welfare when the total interest of the people replaces the interest of the individuals. In Tekola's research, the efficiency of the government in offering general education to the students is the primary concern for providing well-being for the students (Camfield et al. 2009)The wellbeing of an individual often depends on the surroundings and the relationship of the person. 

Dimensions of well-being  

The measurement of the well-being in public policy was influenced by the ‘social’ or the ‘quality of life’ indicators. Hence, the well-being has three different dimensions as illustrated below: 

 Dimensions of well-being

Figure 1: Dimensions of well-being   

(Source: White, 2008)

The first dimension is the subjective and the category of the objective is difficult in justifying if the concept of well-being required being person-centred which involve the officials and academics. The understanding of the well-being is socially and culturally developed. This implies that ‘objective’ beyond culture and society can be placed against the perception of the people on individual circumstances. However, this does not completely deny the importance of material welfare and quality of life which are important factors of well-being. White and Ellison (2007) commented that the material, cultural and social is intricately linked to one another. Hence, while analysing the well-being of the people, it is crucial to consider the unity of all the factors. The above triangle highlights the interdependence of all the elements which are essential for assessing human welfare. This is distinctly different from that of the traditional view of welfare that only takes account of poverty and financial backwardness.   

The subjective factor is concerned with moral values, self-concept, personality, hopes, fears and aspirations, trust and confidence. The relational factors include the love, care, support, the relation with the state law, politics, inequalities, and level of safety. The material factor includes income, wealth, assets, physical health and environmental quality, financial resources and basic amenities.                    

Measuring well-being 

 Hulme et al. (2001) commented that poverty is a significant measurement of poverty as often the quality of the lives of the people depends on monetary resources. However, Iswas-Diener and Diener (2006) argued that well-being depends on the different others factors that are associated with the life of the human being.  The elements that would help in the measurement of the well-being are Gross Domestic Product (GDP), wealth, occupation, housing, and also maintaining a balance between the quality of the life indicators that include the health, status, employment rate, work-life balance, education, personal security, and quality of environment and some other broader pictures of the society. The assessment of all the other factors on a global basis has helped to evaluate the fact that the worldwide distribution of the well-being is a crucial tool in the evaluation of the shortcomings in the well-being and is a critical tool for the determination of the action by the government as well as the non-government organisations. The well of the people can be segregated as social, health, economic, environmental, and political and technological. 

Traditionally, poverty was the leading indicator of well-being. Samuel et al. (2018) commented that poverty could be defined as the deprivation of the basic needs of life. It is associated with the culture of the worlessness which is transmitted from one generation to the other. Poverty creates an impact on the standards of the lives, and it also deprives the people of the needs like education, food, clothes and healthcare. Hence, of course, it is an important measure that helps in the assessment of the well-being of the people living in a particular area. Weak economic growth, exclusion from society, inadequate natural resources, inefficient policies of the government and the capabilities depreciation result in poverty. The population who are living in poverty are at the high rate of depriving their children of education, health, housing and getting involved in the crime. It has been seen that 26% of the children in poverty attain a good knowledge, 40% in episodic poverty and 60% of the people who were never in poverty (Samuel et al. 2018). Hence, poverty is an essential factor that prevents ordinary people from spending quality of life.

However, poverty is not all that influences the standard of living or the well-being of the individuals. The role of the government plays a vital role in improving the quality of life. For instance, the people living in poverty can also obtain proper access to the health, education and other essential amenities of life if the government of the country develops effective policies for the country and its people and increases the accessibility of the poor and the financially backward people. Easterlin (2003) argued that thus well-being could be measured by a different number of factors and poverty alone is not useful to reach a valid conclusion.     

Easterlin (2003) mentioned that several arguments put forward the reasons for which poverty is a traditional tool for measuring the well-being of the population and cannot be used in the modern days as the well-being is a broad concept. Several economists mentioned that poverty is not a multidimensional term as it focuses only on income which is a quite narrow concept. This is primarily because there are huge variations of people who possess varied abilities to earn income. A person with disabilities or person with minimum educational background may have issues in creating decent income and encounter higher difficulties in converting the education. Another important fact is that income cannot act as an alternative for the different non-income capabilities and fulfil the non-income deprivations which include access to education and the healthcare. The limited access of the disabled people towards the education often create difficulties in getting the full-paid work in the adulthood, and this increases the chances of the poverty thereby reducing the quality and the standards of life (Daw et al. 2011). The indicators of the economic performances and the social progress included several factors like material living standards, health, education, personal activities, political scenario governance and environment, security are a critical determinant of the quality of life for the people all over the world.

Social inequality is also an essential factor that influences the poverty of the people. Social isolation can be defined as the insufficient quality and the number of social relations with the other people at several levels in which human interaction is quite essential. Social isolations have defined by different scholars in different manners and every decisions analysis the importance of the quality and the number of social relations. Social isolations can occur due to several reasons and the limited reasons like fewer close relationships or differences in the ideal of the people and the perceived relationship are some of them (Coulthard et al. 2011). These two internal and the external sphere of the relationship provide an overview of the external set of relations, and they are an important part of the social relation. The social isolation has a direct contribution to the nature of poverty. The Relational Capability Index does not consider the income o be the direct measure of the poverty but put focuses on the personal, social and the political connections which create an impact on the economic means. The social isolation is often determined by the community vitality that includes the factors like health, education, culture, environment, time use and good governance that often influences the individuals to create a relationship and to develop the principles. It helps to generate trust, interest in volunteering and the understanding of the safety and thereby influences the social isolation (Coulthard et al. 2011). 

The well-being thus includes the scientific evaluation of how people perceive their lives that include currently as well for the last five years. This evaluation consists of the emotional reaction of the people towards the events and the level of contentment in their life, fulfilment and satisfaction. The happiness and the satisfaction of the people are the primary measurements of the well-being of the people (Gasper, 2007). This satisfaction is, of course, influenced by monetary assistance but is not the critical factor. Several factors affect the satisfaction and the life of the people. It is important to note that the emotions, mood and the judgement of the people changes over time. Income, work and marriages are essential determinants of satisfaction for the people. Improper working capabilities or scope of employment, failed marriages, and low income can result in depression, and this can lower the satisfaction of the people and thereby impacting on the quality of the life of the people. The ways people think and consider their personal lives is critical for understanding the well-being of any society.

Application of personality theory on the well-being

The differences between the personality and the subjective well-being arise quite early in life and are quite stable over the time and include a genetic factor. Critics have different viewpoints on the development of subjective well-being. Some people mention that it is strongly associated with the inborn predispositions while other mentions that the type of the questions determines the predispositions are placed before the people. Researchers have made it evident that life events often create an impact on the well-being of the individual and it is beyond the effect of the personality (Gasper, 2007). The personality theories would help to provide a detailed overview of the facts of why certain are much more satisfied with their lives as compared to the other people. 

The temperament theory and the subjective well-being have provided an overview of the three fundamental aspects that would help to define the well-being of the individuals and their differences as listed below: 

  1. Levels of the effective and the cognitive well-being 
  2. Emotional reactivity 
  3. Cognitive processing of emotional information

As per the Dynamic Equilibrium Model, every individual possesses a base-line level of well-being which is influenced by the personality (Samuel et al. 2018). The individuals are born with varied and hence their perception of life and accepting the different events vary, and it determines their level of well-being in life. Some unusual events can shift below or above the base, and this movement depends on the personality traits.

Different scholars have contended that usual contrasts in human well-being are because of contrasts in passionate reactivity. In light of Gray's hypothesis of identity, researchers, for example, Samuel et al. (2018) contended that extraverts are more receptive to fantastic, enthusiastic upgrades than are self-observers, and hypochondriac people are more responsive to unsavoury passionate improvements than are steady people. Even though there has been some help for individual contrasts in reactivity in research centre examinations proof of real-world reactivity surveyed in experience-inspecting considers has been blended and the little contrasts in reactivity that have been found don't represent the majority of the covariance among identity and SWB.  

The last disposition variable that may clarify the relations among identity and SWB is the manner in which individuals process passionate data. Samuel et al. (2018) opined that the identity qualities of extraversion and neuroticism, and also long haul full of feeling characteristics and flitting emotional states, are identified with individual contrasts in the preparing of passionate substance. Hence, the level of the well-being also varies based on the extrovert and the introvert nature of the people as the extrovert people are subjected to the changes that are taking place in their life as compared to the introvert people and hence their level of well-being is different from that of the others.  

Policy, politics and well-being 

The human well-being is primarily impacted by the system and the politics of the country. The emphasis on the societal structure is quite essential as it helps to shift the responsibility from the collective people to the individual. This aims to make the policy more effective. Frinstance, a personal weight management program in the UK filed because the organisers overlooked the critical effect of poverty. White (2017) commented that it is crucial for the organisers to look beyond the upstream and the sphere of health for considering the ways it creates a condition for developing a broader well-being in which the health will flash more easily.

Diener et al. (2003) commented that prioritising the relational well-being would enhance a different kind of engagement that seeks common ground which includes competition, mutual interest instead of the oppositional politics. The rational welfare offers an encompassing political vision that has been reorganised formally and added in the new state of constitutions. In this case, the political stability of the place and the role of the political institutions play an essential role in the development of well-being of the ordinary people.


The present study provided an overview of the concept of well-being. The research shows how the traditional idea of poverty is no longer a single measure for welfare. Several factors determine the wellbeing that includes the political condition, access to health education, government policies, safety, security, relationships and different relational and subjective factors.