Find out more about how it feels to be a child growing up in poverty by watching our animation. Poverty affects one in four children in the UK today. When kids grow up poor they miss out — and so do the rest of us.
Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. For more information click here. Government programs come and go as political parties swing us back and forth between stock answers whose only effect seems to be who gets elected.
But on a deeper level, we tend to think about them in ways that keep us from getting at their complexity in the first place. It is a basic tenet of sociological practice that to solve a social problem we have to begin by seeing it as social.
Without this, we look in the wrong place for explanations and in the wrong direction for visions of change. Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is.
The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents. More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty. For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it — through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.
How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole.
As such, poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how the system is organized and the paths of least resistance that shape how people participate in it.
The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist.
It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital — factories, machinery, tools — used to produce wealth.
It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population. In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other.
But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency. This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers.
It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced.
Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return. These kinds of decisions are a normal consequence of how capitalism operates as a system, paths of least resistance that managers and investors are rewarded for following.Conflict is Natural and Inevitable “Poverty is a natural phenomenon-it cannot be eradicated” Poverty dwells amidst the hungry, within the homeless, dealing with hardships of heat and frost.
Poverty is the helplessness felt when the sick are deprived of medical care, when the society drowns deeper into the realms of illiteracy, when the. Is economic inequality a natural phenomenon? Update Cancel. ad by Lendio.
This shows that people who are in low income brackets can pull themselves out of poverty. If wealth is distributed equally, it robs people off of their ambitions to be successful and their desire to contribute value to the society, needless to mention the large scale.
But if capitalism only helps the 1% while the 99% fall deeper into poverty and debt, what is the alternative? A first step to a more just and healthy society, one that prizes the growth and development of all its members, is a redistribution of wealth. Second, if growth was natural, then why is it a phenomenon that appeared only in the last two centuries and only in some parts of the world?
For most of human history, there was no growth. Yes, there was perhaps an impulse for societies to expand their territory or their resource use.
Yet, poverty cannot be considered as a “natural phenomenon”.
A natural phenomenon is a non-artificial event in the physical sense, and therefore not produced by humans, although it may affect humans (e.g. bacteria, aging, natural disasters). Oct 14, · October 14, Michael "YunB" Myeong Africa, China, Peter Singer, philanthropy, Poor people, poverty, Solving poverty 2 Comments: An essay I wrote in attempt to convince people that solving poverty is a lost cause: Before you read, though, I would like to prevent unnecessary misunderstandings.