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Poverty And Its Effects On The Society

1514 words - 7 pages

Poverty is a life long phenomenon that has been with us from historical times and has transcended through generations. The word poverty canoes an undesirable state which individuals or groups may be experiencing and need some assistance in changing. Early efforts by the Moyne Commission report sought to relieve poverty by implementing a system where the poor would receive social welfare provisions. In addition to this, Harewood and Henry( ) p. 4 highlighted that the Economic Planning Machinery that evolved from the inspiration of the Arthur Lewis industrialization model, had as its objective the elimination of poverty through job creation and the redistribution of income through public ...view middle of the document...

" Dellimore further notes that poverty can be seen as a "state of physical and social deprivation, especially in income, resources and assets, that is associated with marginalisation in an economic and social system." This is on the basis of one or more of the following factors:1. Physical weakness especially due to a lack of strength due to malnutrition, illness or disability.2. Discrimination or social isolation associated with race, ethnicity, gender, or class, which results in inequitable access to employment, social services and political decision-making.3. Dependency on limited natural resources such as agriculture for survival.4. Powerlessness due to lack of skills, knowledge, information and self- confidence which limits their ability to advocate on their own behalf as well as to self actualise.5. Severe susceptibility to natural disasters, social and economic changes.According to Zastrow (2000), p. 134, "there are two general approaches to defining poverty: the absolute and the relative approach." The absolute approach is based on the subsistence that is the basic minimum to sustain life. This measure of poverty is concerned with the quality and amount of food, clothing and shelter necessary for a healthy life. Absolute poverty is estimated through the use of a poverty line, which involves placing a monitory value on a consumption basket of goods needed for basic survival. People are seen as being in poverty if they fall below this line or do not have the funds to purchase the basket of goods.There are many criticisms of the absolute approach. Firstly, there is no agreement as to what constitutes basic or minimum needs. Zastrow (2000), p. 134, notes that "depending on the income level selected, the number and percentage of the population who are poor change substantially, along with the characteristics of those define as poor." Secondly, the approach does not take into account that people are poor not only in terms of their needs but also in relation to others who are poor. Thus, it is based on the condition of one's society and how affluent it is. Thirdly, the absolute approach does not regard poverty in terms of time and place. For instance those in the Caribbean today would not be considered poor by the standards of 1960's nor would Barbados be viewed as poor by the standards existing in Haiti. Fourthly, according to Harlambos and Holborn (2000), p.291, there is a controversy as to "whether poverty can be defined purely in material terms or whether the definition should be wider," to include access to non-food items such as education, drinking water and proper sanitation.The relative approach was then developed because of the flaws which existed in the absolute approach. Harewood and Henry emphasised that "the concept of relative poverty is based on the consideration that in any society, any given person will be conceived as poor or not in relation to the general standards and norms of the society." In other words there will always be...

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