The Concept of Poverty


The concept of poverty can be interpreted differently from social, economic, and other points of view; however, in each definition, this phenomenon influences all the aspects of people’s lives negatively. Based on academic theories and scholarly findings, it is possible to determine the role that families play in protecting loved ones from financial difficulties and which myths about poverty exist. Also, the influence of such myths on current policies will be considered, as well as the impact on subsequent generations. As a justification base, relevant sources will be utilized and cited. This work is aimed at identifying the key aspects associated with poverty and its impact on the lives of people in different contexts.

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Poverty and Myths About It

Poverty is the significant problem of modern civilization due to developmental difficulties it imposes. According to Banerjee and Duflo (2011), this phenomenon represents the economic decline of an individual area or social unit, for example, a family where the current financial condition does not give an opportunity to meet all the necessary needs. At the same time, the concept of poverty is often associated with various myths.

For instance, as Katz (2013) remarks, some people argue that immigration leads to poverty inevitably, which, however, is a controversial judgment, and government officials often touch on this issue when discussing the problems of mass urbanization. Another myth is racial prerequisites since, regardless of cultural background, poverty can be avoided. As a result, these issues are discussed at the global level and create certain ideas about the image of poor people.

Defense of Families

A significant role in the protection from individual poverty belongs to relatives who can help one another and prevent complete financial decline. It is particularly true in those families where relationships with distant relatives are maintained, and all necessary assistance can be provided timely. When everyone can rely on his or her loved ones, special protection and confidence in support manifest themselves, which are crucial factors.

At the same time, as Elwood, Lawson, and Sheppard (2017) state, such support has some limitations. The authors cite the concept of geographical rationality and note that, despite the disinterested background of helping relatives, various constraints may arise, for instance, individual poverty and an inability to sacrifice personal benefits due to a difficult economic situation in the whole region (Elwood et al., 2017). Therefore, various conventions need to be taken into account and considered from different approaches.

Effects on Succeeding Generations

People who live in poverty have an impact on future generations, regardless of the personal qualities of their descendants. Any difficult economic situation leads to a reduction in costs, which, in turn, affects the state of housing conditions, education, personal development, and other essential factors negatively. All these restrictions lead to the fact that descendants born in subsequent generations are forced to achieve everything on their own and correct their social status.

Theories of Poverty

In order to understand the nature of poverty and its consequences better, it is possible to pay attention to some scientific theories that characterize this phenomenon. Elwood et al. (2017) emphasize the relational poverty theory and argue that this concept is closely related to the continuity of generations. The authors also give an example of the aforementioned geographical relationality theory and note that gender, race, and other ethnic and cultural characteristics have a specific connection with a social status (Elwood et al., 2017). All these hypotheses are suitable for reasoning on the topic of poverty and its influence on the course of human development.

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Factors affecting poverty and characterizing this phenomenon from different standpoints have various interpretations, and some myths appear under the influence of stereotypes. The contexts of people’s lives in difficult economic conditions may be explained with the help of some scientific theories. The role of family members in supporting and protecting against poverty is significant. Subsequent generations may experience significant challenges due to the difficult economic situation of their ancestors, and even in case of support, some constraints, for instance, geographical restrictions, may occur.


Banerjee, A. V., & Duflo, E. (2011). Poor economics: A radical rethinking of the way to fight global poverty. New York, NY: Public Affairs.

Elwood, S., Lawson, V., & Sheppard, E. (2017). Geographical relational poverty studies. Progress in Human Geography, 41(6), 745-765. Web.

Katz, M. B. (2013). The undeserving poor: America’s enduring confrontation with poverty (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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