Essays on poverty dynamics and social policy
The Bible says the poor will always be with us, but it does not say why.
In contrast, social workers believe poverty has many complex causes, including low wages, a lack of jobs, racism, sexism, and other forces beyond individual control. We favor helping rather than punishing people and changing rather than protecting a problematic status quo. However, for the past 30 years, the fight against poverty and injustice has been an uphill battle. Indeed, major economic dislocations and victim-blaming public policies have taken their toll on the capacity of the three traditional sources of income—marriage, markets, and the state—to protect people from poverty even when they work hard and play by the rules.
Mounting Poverty In , In , 7. From to , the number of people lacking food security rose from 31 to 35 million; those without health insured soared from 31 to We also know that people cope with the desperate condition by harming themselves e. Social workers have the know-how and the professional obligation to help people undo negative coping and promote positive coping—both self-advocacy e.
A growing consensus holds that exposure to economic hardship and adverse conditions often precedes the rise of individual and social problems rather than the other way around, as previously presumed. Some fear that making individual and social change a fundamental part of our work politicizes a previously objective and unpolitical profession.
Since social work cannot avoid the political, it is far better to address these issues explicitly than to pretend they do not exist. The middle ground, if one ever existed, has fast receded. We must decide which side we are on. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. She is currently writing a book on the history of activism among poor and working class women in the United States since References 1. King, M. Retrieved from here. Abramovitz, M. DeNavas-Walt, C. Retrieved January 2, , from here.
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Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. A Profile of the Working Poor, Report , p. Sherman, A. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Nord, M. Households, , p. Retrieved January 1, , from here. Wardrip, K. Retrieved January 3, , from here. Albernaz, A. Povery, Material Hardship and Mental Health. Heflin, C. Capitol, one of the most architecturally impressive and symbolically important buildings in the world. During my walk, I was overwhelmed by the majesty of the scenery but sadly, and ironically, I was also overwhelmed by the number of apparently homeless people I passed during my walk from the Capitol to NASW, men and women sleeping in broad daylight on concrete slabs and park benches.
Understandably, social workers concerned about affordable housing have focused primarily on the nagging problem of homelessness, particularly among people struggling with mental illness, addictions, and persistent poverty. Housing costs are staggering in many American communities. The National Coalition for the Homeless reports that approximately 3.
Approximately 2. The principal causes of the contemporary affordable housing crisis are complex. The demand for affordable housing is affected by increases in poverty and growth in the number of U. In addition to ordinary population increases, growth in the number of people needing housing also results from declining marriage rates and an increase in the average age at which people first marry, which postpone the combining of households. Declining and expiring federal housing subsidies, disappearing tax incentives to invest in and build low-income housing, restrictive and exclusionary zoning practices, demolition and abandonment of older housing stock, and gentrification join to reduce the number of affordable housing units in many communities.
This occurs due to a reduction in commuting time, as well transport costs but these benefits tend to accrue disproportionately to the influential and well-educated. Rural communities tend to ascribe great importance to road development and perceive it to improve access to markets, health and education facilities.
A lack of access to markets - whether due to poor infrastructure or productivity , limited education, or insufficient information - prevents access to both labor and capital. In many rural societies, there are few job opportunities outside of agriculture, often resulting in food and income insecurity due to the precarious nature of farming. Rural workers are largely concentrated in jobs such as owners-cultivators, tenant farmers, sharecroppers , informal care workers, agricultural day-laborers, and livestock herders.
Without access to other labor markets, rural workers continue to work for extremely low wages in agricultural jobs that tend to have seasonal fluctuations and thus little income security. In addition to labor, the rural poor often lack access to capital markets and financial institutions, hindering their ability to establish savings and obtain credit that could be used to purchase working capital or increase their supply of raw materials.
When coupled with scarce job opportunities, poor access to credit and capital perpetuates rural poverty. Numerous international development organisations have studied, reported, recommended and agreed that lack of mobility impedes human progress and development. Yet there is very little evidence of anyone attempting to actually address and alleviate the problem by introducing handcarts and wheelbarrows into remote and rural areas where they would be most beneficial. In the United States , where rural poverty rates are higher and more persistent than in urban areas, rural workers are disadvantaged by lower wages and less access to better paying labor markets.
Some macro-level economic changes have been associated with an increase in spatial inequalities.
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Moreover, the promotion of export-oriented agriculture has been linked to decreased food security for rural populations. Inadequate education regarding health and nutritional needs often results in under-nutrition or malnutrition among the rural poor. Social isolation due to inadequate roads and poor access to information makes acquiring health care and affording it particularly difficult for the rural poor, resulting in worse health and higher rates of infant mortality.
There have been noted disparities in both Asia and Africa between rural and urban areas in terms of the allocation of public education and health services. A similar trend is found in access to neonatal care, as those living in rural areas had far less access to care than their urban counterparts. There are also far more malnourished children in rural areas of Africa than in urban areas. In Zimbabwe , for example, more than twice the share of children are malnourished in rural areas 34 percent rate of malnourishment than in urban areas 15 percent rate of malnourishment.
Inequality between urban and rural areas, and where rural poverty is most prevalent, is in countries where the adult population has the lowest amount of education. This was found in the Sahelian countries of Burkina Faso , Mali and Niger where regional inequality is 33 percent, In each of these countries, more than 74 percent of the adults have no education. Overall, in much of Africa, those living in rural areas experience more poverty and less access to health care and education. Rural women are particularly disadvantaged, both as poor and as women. Access to land can alleviate rural poverty by providing households a productive and relatively reliable way to make an income.
Achieving legislative reform and implementing redistributive policies, however, is a difficult task in many countries because land ownership is a sensitive cultural and political issue. Yet in China, for example, land redistribution policies have found some success and are associated with a reduction in rural poverty and increased agricultural growth.
It also involves allowing women to have separate tenancy rights and granting women the right to claim an equal share of family land and resources upon divorce , abandonment, widowhood , and for inheritance purposes. Improved infrastructure in Bangladesh increased agricultural production by 32 percent through its effect on prices and access to inputs and technology. Moreover, because of increased mobility among rural households, a rise in access to social services was noted, as well as an increase in overall health.
The most effective innovations are based on the active participation of small farmers, who are involved in both defining the problems and implementing and evaluating solutions.
Smallholder technological developments have focused on processes such as nutrient recycling, integrated pest management, integration of crop agriculture and livestock, use of inland and marine water sources, soil conservation, and use of genetic engineering and biotechnology to reduce fertilizer requirements. Providing access to credit and financial services provides an entry point to improve rural productivity as well as stimulating small-scale trading and manufacturing. Increased credit helps expand markets to rural areas, thus promoting rural development.
Poverty Dynamics: A Cross-Disciplinary Perspective
With the support of a theory and research, the essay bases its arguments on the thesis statement. The view of poverty that the country embraces will have direct impacts on the public policies that it pursues. The research uses the case study research design. It is by selecting the case of the United Kingdom, in general, and examining the situation as well as the theories surrounding poverty in the country. It operates the research procedures by applying both qualitative and quantitative methods of the research.
Quantitative methods involve the use of statistical data. It uses different statistical methods and variables such as mean, median, variance, and standard deviation among others to examine different phenomena. In this case, the research uses data from the UK about poverty, per capita income, the standards of living, surveys of a lifestyle, employment, and the Gross Domestic Product among others.
The methodologies also apply the qualitative information. It is the information, which cannot be quantified. The first benefit is the fact that it uses data and information already available. The use of secondary data eliminates the complexities of the primary data collection such as the use of interviews, questionnaires, and other primary data collections.
There are secondary sources in the country being important for poverty measurement, social exclusion, deprivation, and standards of living. In this case, the period has been taken as for the last two decades. It is also possible to examine different causes of poverty over time with different policies in the past that generate various outcomes of poverty.
Thus, the sources have great advantages as far as the topic is concerned. This research design also has some limitations. A major challenge is that it uses the already available information. Thus, the results of the research depend on some other researches original scholars, with underlying limitations of that primary data collection procedure.
It implies that the research is prone to errors in the sources. The research procedure involves reviewing the literature on poverty in the UK and choosing the most appropriate sources.
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Therefore, the research will apply about five research assistants to review journals, books, articles, and other secondary sources of information.