Professor James Earhart
28, February 2016
If a survey would take places measuring the benefits of poverty, it is presumed that a majority would like insist that poverty isn’t a beneficial circumstance. There are plenty of arguments on why people are in poverty but the ideas and solutions to take one out of poverty are scarce in comparison. It is better to skimpily identify the problem and then focusing on solving the problems, and that should remain to be the focus.
There are three types of poverty. First there is absolute poverty. This type of poverty, mostly seen in other countries, “refers to the lack of resources necessary for well-being” (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 174). Second there is relative poverty which is the lack resources compares to other populations (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 174). Thirdly, there is extreme poverty where people are living on less than $1.25 a day. (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 174). Generally, povery in America is determined on whether a house hold spends 1/3 of their income on food however measuring poverty can vary depending on the number of members in a household (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 175).
As with any social problem there are different perspectives when addressing the problem. Structural-functionalist view poverty as the result of “economic institutions that fail to provide sufficient jobs and pay” as well as educational institution failing to equip individuals with the needed skills for employment (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 176). Karl Marx presented a conflict theory regarding poverty, as it comes from the business owners’ domination over the workers (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 177). Symbolic interactionist view that the label of “poor” will give one an identity of being lazy, immoral, irresponsible, and personally deficient (Mooney, Knox, Schacht, 179).
Rebecca Vallas and Melissa Boteach proposed 10 ways of solving the problem of poverty; however some have some issues themselves. A few of the ways they suggested included: creating more jobs, raise the minimum wage, increase the earned income tax credit for childless workers, support pay equity, provide paid leave and paid sick days, establish work schedules that work, and expand Medicaid (Vallas, Boteach, The Top 10 Solutions to Cut Poverty and Grow the Middle Class). The solutions sound great on paper; however it would require much government overseer for these ideas to work, however some seem problematic. For example, raising minimum wage will work momentarily, but once cost of living is adjusted a larger poverty group is born. Work schedules that work is also a foolish idea as many business (fast food restraints for example) are open nearly 24 hours a day, thus shifts have to vary among coworkers.
The solution to poverty is education and skills. Once someone gains a proper education the doors open wide for potential opportunities. However, not everyone is going to have available access to furthering educations due to high school costs (discussed in an early paper). There are organizations that help assist those stuck in poverty meet certain needs. Feeding America, largest domestic hunger relief program, provides meals to more than 200 food banks in all of the 50 states (Rozzi, Top 10 Non-Profits Fighting Poverty). Another similar organization is Meals on Wheels, whom “provide visionary leadership and professional training and to develop partnerships that will ensure the provision of quality nutrition services to seniors in need (Rozzi, Top 10 Non-Profits Fighting Poverty). Though providing nutrition and meals may be a temporary solution to what seems like a permanent problem, it is a start.
What is the solution to poverty? The solution to nearly every problem faced is proper education. When we are properly educated, whether through high schools, GED programs, or colleges/universities we are opened to a new world. The best way to fight poverty is improving the education system offering more specific/hands on classes rather than teaching student how to take a test. When students succeed, our nation will succeed.
Mooney, Linda A, Knox, David, and Schacht, Caroline. Understanding Social Problems. Stamford: Cengage Learning. 2015. Print.
Boteach, Melissa, and Vallas, Rebecca. American Progress. Web. 2014.
Rozzi, Giulia. TakePart. Web. 2009