Poverty Notes

Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the inability to afford them. . Relative poverty is the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others within a society ,or compared to worldwide averages. About 1.7 billion people live in absolute poverty; before the industrial revolution, poverty had mostly been the norm

Causes of poverty:

Education: Lack of education keeps children from obtaining jobs that would lift them and their families out of poverty.Often, children are kept from school because they are needed at home to support their family with additional income. Health: Poor health decreases the amount of work impoverished individuals can do, lowering their income and driving them deeper into poverty. The onset of disease, such as HIV/AIDS or malaria, can result in death (which can cut off a major source of income for a family), or high medical costs that many impoverished families cannot afford. Economics: The poor often have very limited economic choices – they are often prevented from receiving loans and other financial benefits.This makes it hard for them to establish businesses, increase their income, and break out of poverty. Government: The governments of many developing countries are often dysfunctional, unstable, and corrupt.

Lack of government infrastructure (public sanitation, schools, social welfare, etc. ) can be crippling for the poor. I. Types of causes of poverty A. Individual Poverty is explained by individual circumstances and/or characterstics of poor people. Some examples: amount of education, skill experience intelligence health handicaps age work orientation time horizon culture of povertyDiscrimination, together with race, sex, etc. B.

Aggregate There are two types of aggregate poverty theory: case generic. There is no agreement on which is the correct explanation of most poverty. 1. Case. Add up all poverty explained by individual theories, and that is equal to total or aggregate poverty. In other words, according to case theories of poverty, individual and aggregate explanations are really the same. According to these theories, aggregate poverty is just the sum of individual poverty.

2. Generic. Poverty is explained by general, economy-wide problems, such as inadequate non-poverty employment opportunities nadequate overall demand (macro problems, macro policy) low national income (Less Developed Country) If generic theories are correct, poverty is caused by one set of forces (general, economy-wide problems) but distributed according to individual theories. II. Case vs. Generic Theories of Poverty A. What difference does it make whether poverty is caused by case or generic causes? Answer: It makes a lot of difference.

Example 1: Suppose somehow we significantly reduce racial discrimination. Will total poverty fall? Case answer: Yes. Generic answer: No. Poverty will only be redistributed. ompensatory education. 1. If case theories are correct: Address the individual cause of poverty.

For example, if poverty is caused by inadequate skills or education, then the solution is skill training or compensatory education. If poverty is through direct test. 2. There’s some indirect evidence pointing to generic theories: For example, there is the failure of poverty to fall during periods of large training programs, and the failure of poverty to fall with rise in general educational level of population. Further indirect evidence later on in the course. 3. Most people assume case theories are correct.

Why? Micro experience (fallacy of composition — assuming that what’s true of the part must be true of the whole). Poverty scholars study the poor instead of the economy. Antipoverty policy would be too hard (expensive) if generic theories were true. Blaming the victim. A desire to help the poor.

If generic theories are true, how can you help the poor? ) Acute causes of poverty: Warfare: The material and human destruction caused by warfare is a major development problem. For example, from 1990 to 1993, the period encompassing Desert Storm, per capita GDP in Iraq fell from $3500 to $761.The drop in average income, while a striking representation of the drop in the well-being of the average Iraqi citizen in the aftermath of the war, fails to capture the broader affects of damages to the infrastructure and social services, such as health care and access to clean water. Agricultural Cycles: People who rely on fruits and vegetables that they produce for household food consumption (subsistence farmers) often go through cycles of relative abundance and scarcity. For many families that rely on subsistence production for survival, the period immediately prior to harvest is a ‘hungry period. During these periods of scarcity, many families lack sufficient resources to meet their minimal nutritional needs. Being familiar with these cycles has enabled development practitioners to anticipate and prepare for periods of acute need for assistance.

Droughts and Flooding: Besides the immediate destruction caused by natural events such as hurricanes, environmental forces often cause acute periods of crisis by destroying crops and animals. Natural Disasters: Natural disasters such as hurricanes and earthquakes have devastated communities throughout the world. Developing countries often suffer much more extensive and acute crises at the hands of natural disasters, because limited resources inhibit the construction of adequate housing, infrastructure, and mechanisms for responding to crises. Entrenched factors associated with poverty: Colonial Histories: One of the most important barriers to development in poor countries is lack of uniform, basic infrastructure, such as roads and means of communication. Some development scholars have identified colonial history as an important contributor to the current situation.In most countries with a history of colonization, the colonizers developed local economies to facilitate the expropriation of resources for their own economic growth and development. Centralization of Power: In many developing countries, political power is disproportionately centralized.

Instead of having a network of political representatives distributed equally throughout society, in centralized systems of governance one major party, politician, or region is responsible for decision-making throughout the country. This often causes development problems.For example, in these situations politicians make decisions about places that they are unfamiliar with, lacking sufficient knowledge about the context to design effective and appropriate policies and programs. Corruption: Corruption often accompanies centralization of power, when leaders are not accountable to those they serve. Most directly, corruption inhibits development when leaders help themselves to money that would otherwise be used for development projects. In other cases, leaders reward political support by providing services to their followers.

Warfare: Warfare contributes to more entrenched poverty by diverting scarce resources from fighting poverty to maintaining a military.

Take, for example, the cases of Ethiopia and Eritrea. The most recent conflict over borders between the two countries erupted into war during 1999 and 2000, a period when both countries faced severe food shortages due to drought. Environmental degradation: Awareness and concern about environmental degradation have grown around the world over the last few decades, and are currently shared by people of different nations, cultures, religions, and social classes.However, the negative impacts of environmental degradation are disproportionately felt by the poor. Throughout the developing world, the poor often rely on natural resources to meet their basic needs through agricultural production and gathering resources essential for household maintenance, such as water, firewood, and wild plants for consumption and medicine. Thus, the depletion and contamination of water sources directly threaten the livelihoods of those who depend on them.Social Inequality: One of the more entrenched sources of poverty throughout the world is social inequality that stems from cultural ideas about the relative worth of different genders, races, ethnic groups, and social classes.

Ascribed inequality works by placing individuals in different social categories at birth, often based on religious, ethnic, or ‘racial’ characteristics. In South African history, apartheid laws defined a binary caste system that assigned different rights (or lack thereof) and social spaces to Whites and Blacks, using skin color to automatically determine the opportunities available to individuals in each group.Addressing the Underlying Causes of Poverty Building a more widespread commitment to overcoming poverty is an essential first step in overcoming poverty, and actions to address this are discussed below. Share the benefits of economic growth through an emphasis on more widespread employment. The phenomenon of jobless economic growth that increases income inequalities and generates too few jobs for low income groups poses a serious threat to the well-being of many nations, both North and South. Government policies should consider not only aggregate economic impact but also the distribution of employment.Socially responsible venture capital and microcredit initiatives can foster employment-generating businesses that complement the local culture and environment.

Rout out corruption, which harms society as a whole. Corruption, both in government and business, places heavy cost on society. Businesses should enact, publicize and follow codes of conduct banning corruption on the part of their staff and directors. Citizens must demand greater transparency on the part of both government and the corporate sector and create reform movements where needed.Broaden access to education and technology among marginalized groups, and especially among girls and women. The educational attainment of women has strong bearing on the well-being of their families, and efforts to improve education for women and girls must be strengthened. At the same time, steps should be taken to ensure that the current revolution in information technology benefits marginalized groups.

This must begin in school. Improve government capacity to provide universal access to essential goods and services, including potable water, affordable food, primary health care, education, housing and other social services.Governments around the world have made commitments to this through the 20/20 Initiative, which calls for 20% of national budgets and 20% of foreign aid to be spent on human services. But raising adequate resources through effective taxation and other mechanisms is often politically difficult. New mechanisms for public policy dialogue that enable citizens of all classes to recognize the benefit of universal access to key services must be put in place. Nonprofit groups and even corporations can provide essential support here, helping articulate a vision of a healthy society.These nongovernmental actors can also help in the actual provision of services.

Mental health is another area which is impacted by growing up in poverty. The stressful situations that often accompany poverty, such as divorce, death, job loss, or drug addiction, can create feelings of anxiety and depression that can last well into adulthood.Parents who are struggling to provide basic necessities are often unable to spend much quality time with their children, leading to low self esteem and lifelong difficulties forming strong relationships with others. Spending large amounts of time in poor quality daycare, a situation which is much more common among children in poverty, can also have a negative impact on a child’s emotional health. Once they reach elementary school, children who live in poverty often receive a substandard education because they are forced to move frequently or attend under-funded schools. This is one of the most troubling long term effects of poverty.A child who does not learn to read and write proficiently while in elementary school is likely to continue to struggle as a high school student.

With poor grades in high school, his/her prospects for attending college are seriously limited. Since career advancement in the modern economy is often tied to educational attainment, the lack of a college degree sets the poor child up for a lifetime of struggle. Teenagers who live in poverty are significantly more likely to experiment with drugs, alcohol, and risky sexual behavior. Poor teens are also more likely to engage in unlawful acts, ranging from minor shoplifting to serious gang activity.At a time when they should be laying the foundation for their success as adults, teenagers who live in poverty are often making bad decisions that will only serve to further complicate their lives. Poverty and Its Effects on Children According to the Oxford University dictionary poverty is the “state of being extremely poor,” or “the state of being insufficient in amount. ” This particular issue is, and had been a, problem in America fluctuating with the passing years.

What’s more is the effect it has on children living in homes plagued with poverty.Not only does poverty affect the child’s well being, but it impacts their education as well. In general, children from homes living under the poverty line have poorer performance in school. Such performance has also been linked as far back as cognitive and emotional development which is lower in poverty stricken children than those children who live in homes whose income is above the poverty line. Although data has not yet been gathered to give specific details of all the cognitive effects, especially in older children, it is clear that the effects are not only present but threatening to the well being of the children involved.So what is it exactly that creates a rift between children from low income homes and those living above the poverty line? For one, these children lack the stability that comes with a higher income home. This means having the things that other children have from adequate nutrition to weather appropriate clothing.

In addition, less income generally means there are less opportunities for educational activities and learning experiences. In this way low income students have less experience to draw upon when learning new concepts.As a result it can also mean fewer chances to apply the newly acquired knowledge, and in turn retention of this knowledge can be minimized. The census bureau of the United States routinely calculates the poverty lines for families during their census every four years. This number is not only calculated based on the total income of the family, but on other details the family provides as well. One such detail is the age of the people running the household, and the number of people in the family. The official poverty rate for the nation rose from 12.

5 percent in 2003 to 12. percent in 2004. The exact increase was some 37 million people. However, the good news is the poverty rate for children remained stable and unchanged. According to a US Census press release the Office of Management and Budget stated that “the average poverty threshold for a family of four in 2004 was an income of $19,307; for a family of three, $15,067; for a family of two, $12,334; and for unrelated individuals, $9,645. ” (2004 Press Release, 2004) At this point schools in the US are ill-equipped and ill-prepared for the influx of poverty-stricken children entering the system. The teachers lack the proper training to deal with a more diversified classroom as well as the means by which to implement an appropriate curriculum.

One of the key needs is support from both local and national government and their local school board teachers need to become more aware of the need to implement new types of lessons that cater to all students and allow them building blocks to use in the future. children who live in impoverish homes lack the kind of experience to draw upon for future lessons, as well as the opportunities to use the knowledge that they have acquired.It then becomes the schools duty to provide these children with these kinds of opportunities by implementing a more hands on, “learn by doing” sort of approach. In this way children can gain something of a jumping point by which to begin their base of learning.

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