Hannah Arendt’s studies and essays on totalitarianism revealed that in the concentration camps of the National Socialists, human life reached a limit that teaches us something about the human being. Giorgio Agamben took up this insight and developed it further in his ethics of bare life.3 Are there indications in Arendt’s work that the human being can approach the limit of human life in other contexts as well? This essay will show that poverty also constitutes such a limit, a wall at which we experience something about the human being, about the possibility and impossibility of a public life. (1st paragraph
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