A short overview on poverty

Poverty is an issue which is usually highly debated, but which does never seem to get a solution. Also, it is somehow a state for most of the world’s nations. No, it is not something specific only to Africa or other “third world” considered countries. It is right next to you, in what you might think of as being quite a wealthy city, in a more or less stable country.

But then again, how do people end up being poor and thus, powerless? Is it a problem which starts from the government, which does not offer enough policies to actually help the poor, is it the poor people themselves who did not manage to bring themselves to the point in which they can sustain themselves or is it just a matter of being lazy?

Poor people have less access to education, health or other services than rich people, different problems appearing because of these issues.

Not receiving any education leads poor people to not knowing how to read or write, no health insurance makes it harder for them to beat different diseases caused by lack of food or no hygiene and so on and so forth. Poor people are also marginalized, this creating also some type of stigma regarding them and have also little if no representation in the public opinion, which does not give the opportunity of showing the real image of what poverty really is like, thus making it harder to beat.

There are also some theories regarding poverty, which contradict, but give somehow of a picture in regard to it. The structural-functionalist theory argues that both inequality and stratification cannot be avoided and benefit the society, adding the fact that what a high status position offers may work as an incentive for motivating people to work more. The fact that inequality and stratification exist, basically goes on the principle that the most important positions in a society are occupied by the best people for the job. Having poverty gives a certain balance and stability to a system.

In the case of conflict theory, stratification and inequality do not bring benefits to a society, as it basically becomes a battle of either being rich or poor. As dysfunctional as it may be, it benefits the rich though, and thus persists. The social stratification is not necessarily a theory, but more like a classification, as it shows who part of what social class within a society is.

Poverty is a social problem, since its effects are not only visible, but also felt in a society at one point. The inequality brings upon it not only problems which affect the poor ones, regarding health or education, but also problems which affect the elites, as the crime rate becomes higher among poor people.


Diana Rusu


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