"What would it take for the average family to live the lifestyle of the poor of the world?

"Begin by stripping the family home of furniture. Beds, chairs, lamps, TV sets, silverware, everything. Leave them with a few blankets, a kitchen table, and a wooden chair. Take the clothing bureaus and the clothes. Each family member can keep one article of clothing, and only the head of the household is permitted a pair of shoes.

"In the kitchen, take all the appliances. Leave a small bag of flour, some sugar, and salt, a few moldy potatoes, a handful of onions, and a dish of dried beans. Then, take away the meat, the canned goods, the crackers, the candy.

"Next, strip the bathroom, shut off the running water, and turn off the electricity in the house.

"Then, take away the house itself.

"But this is just the start, it doesn't include the lack of telephone, newspapers, firefighters, hospitals, paved roads, or doctors. It also doesn't include the fact that the nearest school is three miles away, reachable only by foot, and consists of two classrooms.

"Finally, money. We will allow our family a cash hoard of five dollars, which will prevent the family breadwinner from experiencing the tragedy of the Iranian peasant who went blind because he could not afford the $3.94 he mistakenly thought he needed to receive admission to a hospital where he could have been cured.

"This is poverty. Blinding."