Conventional measures of poverty relate household per capita income or expenditure estimates to a poverty line derived from a nutrition-based estimate of minimum income or expenditure. There is widespread criticism of this approach on the grounds that it fails to capture important dimensions of poverty and that it often fails to reflect subjective perceptions of well-being.
This article argues that the polemic on method is misdirected; it confuses measure of poverty with measure of well-being and counting problems with concept problems. But this debate is really a metaphor; the underlying and justifiable concern is with control over the design and implementation of development programmes and projects especially anti-poverty projects. Changing the form and content of information on poverty is part of a broader process of empowerment.