Society often perceives poverty as an individualistic issue, believing that it is a consequence of bad decisions. That is, people themselves are responsible for the level of income and financial stability of households. However, the subject is much more complex as poverty also results from inadequate structuring of the country’s economy, distribution of goods, and other sectors, making it a social problem. Failure to build a system that would help citizens to become financially stable results in a range of issues associated with crime levels, education, health care, and others. The government is the one that should work to solve them.
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There are numerous studies and publications researching the reasons behind poverty. In his book, E. Royce (2019) tries to explain how the existing economic system in the United States prevents citizens from reaching an adequate level of income and financial support. The main idea is that the current structure of how goods are distributed across the population does not benefit the large portion of it. Few rich individuals grow only wealthier each year, while millions struggle to find a stable job with a minimum wage.
The inequality created by the government’s failure to build a fair economic system results in a range of social problems. The idea of a poverty line as a measure of well-being has not changed much since the 1960s despite the obvious changes in consumption patterns (Royce, 2019). It is calculated as the sum required for purchasing basic items needed for living, the list of which does not include such modern commodities as computers, mobile phones, and others.
As a result, low-income people become socially isolated since they do not possess things essential for the modern lifestyle, like social networks. They may be excluded from a community for not corresponding with the public image of active individuals. Combined with the dominant idea of the necessity to achieve success, these mechanisms push poor people away from social life. This factor comes together with the inability to receive proper health care and education services.
The literature also contains studies on how poverty affects the behavior of individuals. For instance, children exposed to life in a low-income household are more likely to develop negative reactions in the future due to strain resulting from the inability to receive wished items (McFarland, 2017). When placed in the densely populated neighborhood, they may later cause legal problems, creating delinquent areas.
It is not difficult to predict the range of social issues that poor people face every day. They cannot receive proper health care services as they are usually costly. Moreover, many commercial organizations offering low-paid jobs traditionally based on customer service, frequently prevent their employees from taking sick leaves. As a result, people suffer from various illnesses without attending a hospital fearing to lose a work placement.
Another issue is the inability of poor people to send their children to high-performing schools, which are expensive as a rule. This factor causes youth to continue living with the same income level as their parents since the absence of quality education prevents them from receiving a decent job. Moreover, children who cannot acquire goods valued by their peers are likely to adopt criminal behavior as a method of achieving success since community norms and morals do not help this purpose.
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Summarizing all the above said, it becomes evident that changing the existing economic structure on the governmental level is the most appropriate solution to the issue of poverty. There should be a strategy covering all the aspects affected by this problem. The goal is to increase the level of financial support for disadvantaged groups of population and to give more opportunities for people to grow their income.
Firstly, the social sector should be transformed to meet the needs of all citizens. The government should increase the financing of schools so that all children will have access to quality education. Also, there should be various programs that would engage youth in activities after classes. Another step is to make health care affordable for everyone, and there should be no pressure on workers when they decide to take sick leaves.
Secondly, the structure of budget spending should be redesigned. It is evident that programs of social support require much financing coming from taxes. One of the possible strategies is to make the government spend less on other sectors. Also, solving the issue of delinquent behavior among youth by advancing social support may cut costs on police functioning as there will be a lower need for services such as patrolling.
Poverty is a structural problem that results from the inadequate economic system of a country. It creates a range of social issues associated with poor health care services, low-quality education, criminal activity, and others. Poverty is a complex subject, which cannot be resolved shortly. However, one of the possible strategies is to provide better financial and social support for the population, which will create more opportunities for people to increase their level of income.
McFarland, M. (2017). Poverty and problem behaviors across the early life course: The role of sensitive period exposure. Population Research & Policy Review, 36(5), 739-760.
Royce, E. (2019). Poverty and power: The problem of structural inequality (3rd ed.). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.