The poverty cycle is also termed as the behavior pattern of situations that cannot easily be altered and when referring to a given country it is called the "development trap” (Oster, Lake, & Gene, 1978) . This cycle is defined as the set of events or factors which once commenced, have no possibility of stopping unless there is intervention from external causing their subsequent generations to equally be impoverished. It is a phenomenon in which poor families end up being trapped in poverty for a period exceeding two and a half generations.
The main cause for such families to be in this situation is the limitation to and lack of resources such as connections, financial capital, training and education. Under normal circumstances it is virtually impossible for any individual to break this cycle meaning that the poor people will for a long time remain poor. This is because many poverty cycles overlap and perpetuate other cycles causing any attempt to break this cycle to be unrealistic. This situation is mostly found in shanty towns and inner city areas.
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Poverty refers to the state of material deprivation having either little or no goods, money and means of support. It is a condition in which an individual stays poor such that they experience deficiency their desired needs. Poverty is usually measured by the availability of infrastructure services, like sanitation and safe water. Poverty has been classified into two broad categories which are the situational poverty and generational poverty (Oster, Lake, & Gene, 1978). With this in mind this paper centers on what individuals are doing in order to break the cycle of poverty.
This is with respect to the sociological imagination and the three major social theories of symbolic interaction, conflict and structural functionalism. In order to break the cycle of poverty, action needs to be put in place to deal with the root causes of poverty because the cycle of poverty is usually systemic in nature. This has been achieved via sociological imagination and social theories such as symbolic interaction, conflict together with structural functionalism as well.
Sociological imagination entails a mind set which allows individuals to visualize the relationship that exists between events that occur in their personal lives and events within the society. Wright Mills adds to this definition by putting it as the means of breaking the poverty cycle through taking part in activities that are shaped by the situations that people find themselves in (Mills, 2000). Symbolic interactionism is one of the leading social psychological theories that focus on the ways through which meanings emerge from social interactions between places and individuals.
Its prime concern has been to analyze the meanings of life events by way of intimate familiarity and close observational work. It equally gives strong emphasis on the role of symbols through language, gestures and signs as the core elements of these interactions (Reynolds & Herman-Kinney, 2003). From the sociological perspective, the conflict theory involves perspectives that emphasize on political, social and material inequality of a given society. This Marxist-based social theory argues that groups and individuals of different social classes vary in amounts of non-material and material resources.
The social conflict theory states that groups within a capitalist society interact destructively in such a way that there is little cooperation and no mutual benefit. According to Weber, the major class division is between those who do not and those who own the forces of production in the following classes, the propertied upper class, the property less white collar workers, the petty bourgeoisie and the manual working class (Agger, 1991). Structural functionalism is a theory which states that the function of a cultural trait, especially in an institution is the preservation and creation of social order.
It addresses the social structure with respect to the function of the constituent elements such as the institutions, norms, customs and traditions. It also studies society as a structure with interrelated parts that work toward its proper functioning. In the society it is the positions that individuals occupy which are ranked, not the individuals (O'Neill, 1995). With respect to an Ontarion initiative to break the poverty cycle, studies on this initiative gave a head way to efforts that are being employed by people within the government, donor organizations, companies, individual families and communities to break the poverty cycle.
According to the Ontario child support, education was used as the best way to break this cycle, through the enhancement of programs for at-risk kids in school. It offers support to more recreation programs for neighbor-hoods with high-needs. Further on education, this initiative provides support for parents in ensuring their children go to school particularly the low-income families (Ontario. ca, 2010). The initiative also builds stronger communities because safety is considered one of the best ways to aid low-income families to enjoy better life.
This has been done through investing in a fund which gives the local leaders funds for the establishment of community revitalization projects. It also avails summer jobs programs to give the children in priority neighbor-hoods valuable work experience. The initiative has also stabilized funding for the Provincial Rent Bank Program to aid persons facing possible eviction. The Ontario child support has also visualized a smarter government in such a way that they get the most for each dollar spent in support of low-income families.
This is through a review of social assistance by increasing opportunity and removing barriers for people trying to move from social assistance into employment. In addition to this a Social Policy Institute focusing on evaluation and evidence-based social is being developed (Ontario. ca, 2010). Other efforts made by individuals to break the poverty cycle includes self employment, where they get full benefits of the work they are doing in terms of reward which is mostly evident in the developing countries.
People learn basic skills and end up being in a better position to support their families. Individuals have opened up to acquiring incomes that depend on the environment especially in Senegal and Dakar, where waste picker on the Mbeubeuss landfill site make a living by recycling materials. In Kampala, widows feed their families through urban gardening and rental income. Another initiative to break the poverty cycle is by The Sea to Sea partners who partake in self employment by teaching farmers new agriculture techniques (Dale, 2008).
In an effort to break poverty cycles, policy-makers and companies ensure that the acquisition of assets such as land by poor communities is made easy through grants and other aids. Such assets are then developed to a level where they generate income and improve the lives of communities involved. Governments on the same note have resorted to promotion of equitable pay for all employees regardless of their social status through implementing policies. Other support agencies like the Sea to Sea works within communities and families to set up micro-credit loans to enable them acquire assets (Christian-Reformed-Church, 2010).
Further efforts in breaking the poverty cycle include the cancellation or reduction of the national debt especially for the world's poorest countries so that the nations' economies of these countries experience some positive turn. Additionally, in a country like New York, according to an article by Frederique Krupa, a ten-year plan was started by the Koch Administration, intended to avail the New York City renovated apartment units because the city at the time was thriving and by so doing the city would be able to avoid the numerous lawsuits from powerful community groups.
This is another way used to break the poverty cycle by curbing on oppression of the poor by the rich (Krupa, 1991). Social activists have also made an effort in breaking this cycle by focusing on anti-discrimination laws especially in the work place so as to increase the opportunities given to poor minorities and poverty elimination. It is common knowledge that over the years the poor have continued to work in the low paying but tiring jobs. There are minor means that have been employed by individual families such as cost sharing between husbands and wives in the sense that they both go out strive to earn income for the family.
For wealthy individuals or any one who may have acquired capital, “provision of employment” by underpaying workers has enabled them break and stay away from poverty thus making more profits and continue to thrive on other people’s sweat. Some people strive to join politics so that they raise their status in society and earn more income by attaining high ranks within the government and society at large. If this cycle is left to persist, it may result to criminal activities like the selling of illegal drugs by the poor for survival. With these, there are numerous outcomes such as early death, addiction, breakup of families and shattered health.
Other consequences include increase in slums within a country and stress causing very poor health levels. It is therefore important that everyone contributes to the breaking of the poverty cycle. References: Agger, B. (1991). A critical theory of public life: knowledge, discourse, and politics in an age of decline. New York: Routledge. Christian-Reformed-Church. (2010). What is the Cycle of Poverty? Retrieved March 6, 2010, from http://www. crcna. org/pages/sea_cycleofpoverty. cfm Dale, S. (2008, September). Breaking the Cycle of Urban Poverty. Retrieved March 6, 2010, from http://www. idrc. ca/en/ev-129440-201-1-DO_TOPIC.
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