Essays on Poverty

Essays on Poverty

Poverty is a major social problem in our society today. Poverty is known to society in many different ways and has a certain amount of approaches. A few of the main approaches that this is achieved is through economic systems, influencing government policies, and global stratification.

Poverty is difficult to define exactly, as it has different meanings to different people depending on what country they live in, what culture they belong to, and how much income they earn. All these factors and more will change the way poverty is defined by an individual or organization (Seabrook, 2007, p.35). The average person’s view of poverty is the poor they see on television living in third-world countries. These images are an example of absolute poverty, people who have nothing but the shirts on their back and whose only worry is survival (Seabrook, 2007, p.35).

It is believed that one billion people live on less than one dollar a day and that three billion people live off of less than two dollars a day (Seabrook, 2007, p.47). Regardless of the amount that is considered to be living in poverty most organizations have this perspective that poverty is about income level. The homeless living on the streets of major cities around the world is another example of absolute poverty. These individuals cannot access government programs often due to a lack of housing which is usually required in order to qualify for assistance programs. Even in the rich post-industrial and industrial western countries, absolute poverty exists (Seabrook, 2007, p.11).

Another type of poverty is relative poverty, which is defined as being able to afford basic necessities but unable to afford a decent quality of life (Murray, 2011, p. 246). Most people experience this type of poverty, as everyone compares themselves to everyone else around them. People compare themselves to their neighbors, relatives, friends, co-workers, and strangers chiefly paying attention to those who have more than they do (Seabrook, 2007, p.43). This relative poverty is closely related to income inequality if not completely the same (Richmond & Saloojee, 2005, p.35). A common saying that describes this type of poverty well is “Keeping up with the Joneses”, the Jones being a fictitious family that has a bit more than the family they are being compared to. Relative poverty could also be understood as a school teacher comparing his/her income to that of a firefighter or police officer, saying to themselves that they should have as much income as the others have, that their job is just as important, so in a sense, the school teacher would feel relatively poor because they earn less income (Seabrook, 2007, p.44).

Finally, there is subjective poverty that is measured by a person’s expectations of income earned compared to the actual income they earn (Murray, 2001, p.246). This type of poverty is usually felt by the well-off or rich; the people with this type of poverty do not worry about basic necessities. But they cannot afford what the rich or very rich have, things such as a swimming pool, a vacation somewhere exotic in the world, or a second home. They are closer to the top of the income ladder but yet they still feel subjective poverty because they do not have what the very well-off or very rich have (Seabrook, 2007, p. 45). This type of poverty is mostly felt by those in western societies whose annual personal income is high compared to the rest of the world but low compared to what professionals such as doctors and lawyers earn in the same country or compared to CEO’s and successful business owners (Seabrook, 2007, p.45).

The bureaucratic definitions of poverty usually ignore the fact that often some people do not need a great amount of money to have a decent living or good quality of life. This happens often in the developing world and undeveloped world, or 2nd and 3rd world countries as they used to be referred to. Families growing some of their own crops, getting their own firewood are some of the activities that would reduce their need for more income. Due to some of these self-sufficient practices some statistics of poverty are not showing the true picture of an individual's or family's income level and quality of life (Seabrook, 2007, p.26).

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We've found 1070 essays on Poverty
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FAQ

Why poverty is a problem?
Poverty encompasses more than simply a lack in income and the inability of productive resources to secure sustainable livelihoods. It can manifest as hunger, malnutrition or limited access education and other basic services.

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