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ABSOLUTE POVERTY: 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 relative poverty.

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Today, you are likely to spend a great deal of time looking for a downtown retail store trying to buy either a how-to book on the art of negotiation or a flower arrangement for your aunt. Be on the lookout for neighborhood pets, especially belligerent parrots.
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