The Poor Essay: The Structural Aspects Of Poverty

2554 Words6 Pages

How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? One of the first things we see is that poverty doesn’t exist all by itself. It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole. Poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and consequence of how the system is organized and how people participate in it. The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist. It is organized in ways that allow a small portion (the 1%) to control most of the capital (factories, machinery, tools) used to produce wealth. This encourages the gaining of wealth and income by the. It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among …show more content…

People are poor because there’s something lacking in them, and changing them is therefore the only effective remedy. From this he suggests doing away with public solutions such as affirmative action, welfare, and income support systems, including “AFDC, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and the rest. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services.” The result, he believes, would “make it possible to get as far as one can go on one’s merit.” With the 1996 welfare reform act, the United States took a giant step in Murray’s direction by reaffirming its long-standing cultural commitment to individualistic thinking and the mass of confusion around alternatives to …show more content…

Both approaches rest on profound misunderstandings of what makes a problem like poverty ‘social.’ Neither is informed by a sense of how social life actually works as a dynamic relation between social systems and how people participate in those systems. This is also what traps them between blaming problems like poverty on individuals and blaming them on society. Solving social problems doesn’t require us to choose or blame one or the other. It does require us to see how the two combine to shape the terms of social life and how people actually live

More about The Poor Essay: The Structural Aspects Of Poverty

Open Document