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May 19, 2022 

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ABSOLUTE POVERTY LEVEL: The amount of income a person or family needs to purchase an absolute amount of the basic necessities of life. These basic necessities are identified in terms of calories of food, BTUs of energy, square feet of living space, etc. The problem with the absolute poverty level is that there really are no absolutes when in comes to consuming goods. You can consume a given poverty level of calories eating relatively expensive steak, relatively inexpensive pasta, or garbage from a restaurant dumpster. The income needed to acquire each of these calorie "minimums" vary greatly. That's why some prefer a relative poverty level.

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FIRST ESTATE:

Another term for the government or public sector. This is one of four divisions of society based on economic function. The other three are businesses as the second estate, consumers as the third estate, and journalists as the fourth estate.
The notion of dividing society into different "estates" has roots in 18th century France, in which clergy and religious leaders were considered the first estate, royalty and aristocracy were the second estate, and peasants, serfs, and the working class were viewed as the third estate. Inventive journalists extended this classification to include themselves as the fourth estate.

The modern estates retain the essence of this division with an update to the realities of the modern economy. Government leaders and politicians, rather than clergy, assume their position in the first estate. Business leaders, rather than royalty, take over rule of the second estate. Rank-and-file consumers and those in the working class make up the third estate. And journalists continue as the fourth estate.

In past centuries, the first estate included religious leaders and clergy. In modern times, it includes politicians and government leaders who can exert a great deal of control over resources through the coercive powers of government. One historical function of the first estate is to protect the less powerful consumers, taxpayers, and workers of the third estate from the market control typically held by the business leaders of the second estate. It is not uncommon, however, for an unhealthy degree of cooperation between the first and second estates, which often ends up with the enslavement of the third estate (figuratively and literally). At times help is forthcoming from the watchdog journalist of the fourth estate--unless they too have been overtaken by the first two estates.

Consider the case of Victor Thurgood, the honorable Mayor of Shady Valley. Not only is Victor the current Mayor of Shady Valley, duly elected by a majority of voters casting ballots in the most recent election, but at the age of 63 he has never held a nongovernment job. He has been on the Shady Valley city council, served as a state legislator for many years, spent several terms as a member of the U. S. House of Representatives, bounced around as a political appointee to assorted state and federal government agencies, and was most recently Ambassador to the Republic of Northwest Queoldiolia. Moreover, Victor's father, mother, grandfather, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, nieces, and nephews have had similar employment histories. Victor Thurgood is a member of the first estate.

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Recommended Citation:

FIRST ESTATE, AmosWEB Encyclonomic WEB*pedia, http://www.AmosWEB.com, AmosWEB LLC, 2000-2022. [Accessed: May 19, 2022].


Check Out These Related Terms...

     | four estates | second estate | third estate | fourth estate |


Or For A Little Background...

     | government functions | public sector | private sector |


And For Further Study...

     | ownership and control | distribution standards | economic system | economic goals | seven economic rules |


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