Poverty is one of the worst issues in the United States. Despite this, poverty has potential to be fixed. Poverty as Capability Deprivation introduces “capability deprivation” as a method for lowing poverty and strengthening society. Amartya Sen emphasizes social gender roles and other countries’ prioritization on health, education, and job training. We are told that these are areas where United States lacks focus. In The Capabilities approach and Social Justice By Martha Nussbaum, similar issues are addressed and the text supports the same claims that Sen introduces.
Nussbaum, however, goes further. She moves into the areas of social justice, gender justice, and the central human capabilities. She proves that central human capabilities are important traits that we have within ourselves, but fail to strengthen due to the lack of experience, skills, and resources. In the last reading, Swamp Nurse by Katherine Boo, we see an example of a case study that took place in Louisiana. This case study focused on what can be done for the part of the population living in poverty.
The article examined programs made to help these people in poverty and enhance their skills so that they can find a job, properly care for their children, and take care of themselves. These programs are centered around steps and lectures on health, education, and social skills. Capability deprivation is a more powerful approach to fighting poverty than focusing on the income of the poor because it creates an independent population rather than a government dependent population. At current, low income people are dependent on the government without earning it.
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They are forced to rely on the government because they do not have the skills, jobs, or means to provide for their families due to their impoverished situations. If we raise the incomes of the poor we would have more balance in our society. Ideally it would be best to raise the income slightly as well as creating programs to teach the poor new trades and skills because this would open more opportunities for people that are in poverty. Capability deprivation is the key for helping fight poverty because it empowers poor people to motivate themselves to get out of poverty.
Sen begins to explain ways to enhance capabilities and how other countries show importance to education and health as he says” Asian economies - first Japan, and then South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and later post-reform China and Thailand and other countries in East Asia and southeast Asia- have done remarkably well in spreading the economic opportunities through an adequately supportive social background, including high levels of literacy, numeracy, and basic education; good general health care; completed land reforms; and so on”( Sen 3).
Sen states that in the Asia countries they are more focus on providing education and health care for free then providing just and people depending on government help. This is not only in Asia countries but in Latin America countries. Having Cuban roots my family tells me how things are different from the United States and some of the things that the Cuban society focused on. For example my aunt has never paid school tuition and she went to school to be a doctor.
She is very proud that she is and can provide for her family. Another big thing is that they do not pay for health care, its free for her and her family. In many Latin Americas this follows as well. Sen believes in capability deprivation and proves facts that this can lower poverty in many societies, Sen states “ Better basic education and health care improve the quality of life directly; they also increase a person’s ability to earn income and be free of income-poverty as well.
The more inclusive the reach of basic education and health care, the more likely it is that even the potentially poor would have a better chance of overcoming penury” ( Sen 3). Sen is explaining that we have many different always to improve poverty and isn’t just providing people with financial help from the government but, its providing them with the basic educational skills, health care and social skills. To have a foundation of basic knowledge to help provided for yourself, to find jobs, know how to take care of yourself and family.
Making the society dependent on government help is not going to help these people in the long run because they have become so dependent on getting financial support that it makes it hard to become independent. The government should provide for more programs to enhance the human inter capabilities that we already instinctively have. In the Holy Bible there is a passage where John teaches the people how to fish rather than just giving the hungry people dinner. You are teaching a group of people to fend for hemselves, to acquire what they need by means that they have learned. In giving the poor skills to raise their income, or the ability to do so, you are eradicating poverty. You are not treating it like a chronic disease you are curing it. By the government providing necessary services that accentuate people’s natural abilities capabilities, they are creating a society that tries to help itself rather than relying on just funding. That goes next to what Nussbaum discusses about the central human capabilities that we have.
These categories are: life, bodily health, bodily integrity, senses, imagination, thought, emotions, practical reason, play, control over one’s environment and affiliation. Each of these categories has its own meaning and is a natural aspect of our lives that we understand innately. Nussbaum specifies that not everyone reaches these capabilities. Out of the ten capabilities, the three most important are: “control over one’s environment”, “bodily health” and “sense and imagination.
The environment includes one’s political view, being able to participate effectively in political choices that govern one’s life having the right of political participation and protections of free speech association. Bodily health includes staying healthy and taking care of one’s body. This also includes being adequately nourished and having adequate shelter. Lastly, sense, imagination and thought exist as senses we use. To imagine, think and reason and to do these things in a “truly human” way, a way informed and cultivated by an adequate education, including basic mathematical and scientific training are all part of this category.
This also includes using imagination and thought though experiencing and producing works and events. Why does Nussbaum think these human capabilities are important? She states “Central human capabilities as a focus both for comparative quality of life, basic political principles of the sort that can play a role in fundamental constitutional guarantees. These ten capabilities are supposed to be general goals that can be further specified by society.
In some form, all are part of a minimum account of social justice: a society that does not guarantee these to all its citizens, at some appropriate threshold level, falls short of being a fully just society, whatever its level of opulence” ( Nussbaum 5). This statement demonstrates that it is not only important to further education, but Sen and Nussbaum are also implying it’s often the most basic aspects of life that are forgotten. Certain programs would help to enhance people’s lives and help them become independent. Nussbaum says that you have to be dependent before becoming independent.
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