Poverty And Social Inequalities In The Structure Of Society

1414 words - 6 pages

Poverty and Social Inequalities in the Structure of Society

Poverty can be defined differently, those of contradictory opinions on
poverty will probably also have dissimilar opinions on the causes of
poverty and the measurement of poverty. For example Marxists and
Feminists have ideologies based on conflict. Marxists believe that
there is a class struggle, and that the exploitation created by
capitalism creates poverty. Feminists believe that Patriarchy builds
in social inequalities and their ideologies are demonstrated by the
inequalities in salary between women and men. There is also research
proving that there are more women than men in poverty, and 93% of lone
parents in poverty are women. However conflicting arguments are held
by the New Right. Their supporters include Margaret Thatcher, Charles
Murray and David Marsland and their ideology is based on the
individual, and not society as a whole. The New Right believes that it
is through the individuals' laziness that poverty is caused.

Those that agree with the view that poverty is caused by the social
inequalities that are built into society are Marxists, Feminists and
Social Democrats. Marxists believe that the capitalist society is
structured by the economy, and this structure needs to be totally
transformed to be able to eradicate poverty. This would include a
revolutionary overthrow of capitalism because eventually the situation
will progress to a small minority of the bourgeoisie (ruling class)
and a pool of cheap labour, this is a strong view because there are
more people in poverty than those who are rich, and Marxists explained
this by suggesting that institutions in the superstructure, such as
the media, exploit the proletariat, keeping them poor. A weakness to
the Marxists point of view is that it fails to explain why some groups
are more prone to poverty than others, e.g. women and the disabled.
The revolutionary overthrow is unlikely to happen because there is not
widespread support because most people do not encounter poverty.

Feminists believe that society is structured by Patriarchy, the idea
that men are the most important people in society, and everything in
society is organised to provide for the needs of men. This view is
supported by the distribution of salaries; examples of this are
managerial positions in large companies where women get paid less for
the same job and numerous other industries. Another good example
relates to the view that social inequalities are built into society,
there are more women that are reliant on the state pension, which is
20% less than men's, this is because women were unable to go out and
work when they were younger because they were expected to stay at home
to look after their children and have therefore been unable to
contribute to a pension, this demonstrates the in-built...

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