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Types of poverty and the difference between them

Discuss teh Types of poverty and the difference between them, strategies for reducing poverty and inequality and effects of poverty on people’s life.

Poverty is defined as a lack of basics amenities like housing and food. This essay critically discusses the nature of poverty and its relationship with various social policies. The essay also discusses the meaning and causes of poverty, its impact on the society and the strength and weaknesses of poverty to the current policy. Whenever the term poverty is used then it has negative connotations and it brings forward the words like deprivation, struggle and hardship. The essay focuses on poverty and the issues around it. The issues should be used to raise awareness among the people of the society. Poverty is a concept of socially constructed view of all the unacceptable hardship.

Poverty is caused when a person is not able to achieve a reasonable standard of living (Erler, 2012). Poverty is an inability to achieve a socially acceptable living standard. There are two types of poverty. First is Absolute poverty and the second one is relative poverty. Absolute poverty is based on a set standard which is constant over time. It refers towards the inability of the individual to fulfil their basic requirements like food, health, clean water and housing. Relative poverty is a measure of the wealth of a group or an individual in comparison to the other individual or group. These families or individuals have access to other amenities like foods, water, and housing but in comparison to the other families, they are considered poor (Benz, 2015). When a poverty is measured in economic terms than it include access to all the material requirements like clothing, food, water, shelter, wealth measurement or income measurement. But when poverty is measured in social terms than it includes education, health care, and access to the information required or political power. Absolute poverty is based on access to material resources and income whereas relative inequality measures the income inequality and difference in the living standard of an individual or a group of people. It is very difficult to measure absolute poverty. Various surveys have been conducted in the UK to measure absolute poverty but amongst all the other Seebohm Rowntree’s‘Budget Standards’ surveys is the closest. According to “Budget Standards” Rowntree has determined a list of certain items which is required to live a healthy life and if the family cannot afford them then it is in poverty. But the definition of Rowntree on absolute poverty faced a lot of criticisms also. The necessity of people living in a different culture are different and as the standard of living of the people of the society increases the standard of poverty also raises. Peter Townsend says that a person is in poverty when he lacks resources and is not able to maintain the standards of living that are acceptable to the society. He created “Deprivation Index” which is a list of 12 items and if the family cannot afford 3 or more items from the list then it is in poverty.

Sociological measures of poverty

To reduce poverty among the society welfare programmes like Child benefit, free medical services to the poor and changes in the tax laws in favour of the poor should be started. The government should spend a major amount to provide education to the people of the society. Job-retraining programmes should be started so that the unemployed workers are able to get the job which in turn help in reduction of poverty. Action should be taken to provide equal opportunities to the people of the society (Saito, 2007). Expanding the civil liberties and collecting more tax from the rich will also help to reduce poverty.

Both human development and economic growth are linked and they help to improve the quality of life of the people in the society. The government should increase the importance of redistributive measures, for which they are required to frame policies so that the services and assets are transferred from the rich to the poor which helps to benefit the needy (Somers & Block, 2006). Strategies which help in reducing poverty are:

  • Government budget needs to be reprioritised in social spending.
  • Restructuring the public sector.
  • Collecting more taxes from the rich
  • Providing better pensions
  • Providing better medical facilities to the poor people at affordable prices.
  • Speeding up the process of fiscal reform.
  • Industrial reforms and trade to be consolidated.
  • Flexibility in the structure of labour market.
  • An agreement to provide better wages to the labour.
  • Creating more job opportunities for the employed and unskilled labour.

The government had made several policies to reduce poverty and increase the economic growth of the country but it is not able to implement them properly. The government faces various problems like (i) Divergence of the income of the country to other developing regions. (ii) slow growth in human and physical capital and slow growth in productivity. (iii) Structural transformation is limited in the economy. (iv) Economic volatility is at high levels (v) growth experience is diversified. (vi) The policy should support the asset base, helps in human well-being and framed in such a way that it provide support in terms of institutional, financial, and human capacity. 

Poverty damages the childhood and it damages the society at large. Children who are poor are not given proper education. Poverty causes illness and high risk of premature death due to lack of medical facilities. Due to poverty, the people are forced to stay in a bad housing which affects their physical and mental health. Children suffer from poor parental supervision.Due to low economic growth the basics facilities like medical facilities, housing, education is not provided to the peoples. The funds of the government are mismanaged and does not reach the needy.

The problems faced by the market and the decline in economic growth rate is due to fall in growth rate and the decrease in investment in the public and the private sector (Zheng, 2002). To reduce the problem of unemployment government need high growth rate which is a major weakness of the economy right now. The foreign investment forms only a small part of total investment. Hence, a major part of the investment depends on domestic savings. Balancing the payment constraints is also a critical factor on economic growth rate. The decline in the generation of employment also reduces the growth rate of the economy.

Strategies for reducing poverty and inequality

There is a decline in the wage rate of the employees in Britain. The experience working force is also faced with declining purchasing power. Steps are required to be taken to increase the wages paid to the employees. Apart from the decline in the wage rate labours are also faced with the problem of the bad workplace environment. Labour need to work overtime to meet their financial requirements (Walson, 2007). There is an increasing poverty of health among the labour which is caused due to the decline in the health services provided to the labours. Many hospitals have been closed and if the hospital is opened then there is the reduction of beds and facilities which are made available to the public. The funds which were kept for providing health services are misused. The poverty due to education is created because most of the working class students want to go to universities to study but they are not able to afford it.

Conclusion

Poverty is a big problem and it needs to be solved. The government had taken various steps to reduce poverty and overcome the problem of housing, health and education among the poor people of the society but the major problem faced by the government in applying these policies is the lack of understanding and support from the society (Somers & Block, 2006). Reduction of poverty will ensure the growth of the economy and the society. The socio-economic policy suggests that only through economic growth the poor people can be lifted out of the poverty.

References

Erler, H. (2012). A New Face of Poverty? Economic Crises and Poverty Discourses. Poverty & Public Policy, 4(4), 183-204. https://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pop4.13

Benz, T. (2015). Urban Mascots and Poverty Fetishism: Authenticity in the Postindustrial City. Sociological Perspectives. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0731121415583103

Baek,. (2013). The Wage Difference, Inequality and Poverty between Regular Work and Non-Regular Work: Focusing on the Age Group. Socialwelfarepolicy, 40(3), 75-105. https://dx.doi.org/10.15855/swp.2013.40.3.75

Lezhnina, I. (2011). Sociodemographic Factors Determining the Risk of Poverty and Low-Income Poverty. Sociological Research, 52(2), 13-31. https://dx.doi.org/10.2753/sor1061-0154500202

Phillips, L. (2014). Homelessness: Perception of Causes and Solutions. Journal Of Poverty, 19(1), 1-19. https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10875549.2014.951981

Saito, T. (2007). Poverty and the Media. Journal Of Poverty, 11(3), 83-84. https://dx.doi.org/10.1300/j134v11n03_07

Shek, D. (2003). Chinese People's Explanations of Poverty: The Perceived Causes of Poverty Scale. Research On Social Work Practice, 13(5), 622-640. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1049731503253376

Somers, M., & Block, F. (2006). Poverty and Piety. American Sociological Review, 71(3), 511-513. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/000312240607100310

Walson, J. (2007). Global Theme Issue on Poverty and Human Development. Current Therapeutic Research, 68(5), 291. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.curtheres.2007.10.002

Zheng, B. (2002). Aggregate Poverty Measures. Journal Of Economic Surveys, 11(2), 123-162. https://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-6419.00028

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