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The Effects Of Poverty In Our World

1584 words - 6 pages

All over the world, disparities between the rich and poor, even in the wealthiest of nations is rising sharply. Fewer people are becoming increasingly “successful” and wealthy while a disproportionately larger population is also becoming even poorer. There are many issues involved when looking at poverty. It is not simply enough (or correct) to say that the poor are poor due to their own (or their government’s) bad governance and management. In fact, you could quite easily conclude that the poor are poor because the rich are rich and have the power to enforce trade agreements, which favor their interests more than the proper nations. This is a very serious problem in our society today. Poverty is everywhere and it needs to reduced so that our economy will be more stabilized and balanced that it has been. What does it mean to be poor? What does it mean to describe a nation as “developing”? A lack of material wealth does not define one as deprived. A strong economy in a developed nation does not mean much when a significant percentage or a majority of the population is struggling to survive. Development usually implies an improvement in living standards such that a person has enough food, water, and clothing, a stable social environment, freedom, and basic rights to have a fair chance for a decent life. Is this actually progress? On the other hand, are we fooled into believing that it is? The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services placed the poverty level for a family of four at $16,450 in 1998, and the poverty rate in 1996, according to the HHS, was 13.7 percent, or 36.5 million Americans. (Egendorf: 1999, 12). Is there really a way to measure poverty, and to decide exactly what poverty is? Hunger, income level, housing and the economy’s condition of the working poor are just a few example of what needs to be considered when measuring the poverty levels in our nation. Poverty expands and contracts and its definition changes in accordance with temporary exigencies, including the interests of those who propound the definitions do the counting, which means that there is no concrete definition of poverty, except for the numbers. (Valentine: 1968, 13). Poverty is not something that has just recently become an issue; it has been around for many years. The economy has been a major influence on the levels of poverty in our nation. In 1973, poverty increased because then the economy worsened. Real wages and productivity decreased, and the economy could not grow fast enough to absorb the large number of potential workers, which caused unemployment to increase (Katz: 1989, 154). Ever since then our government has tried to reduce the poverty in our nation, and so far has had a hard time. In 1996, Bill Clinton addressed the welfare bill, and that resulted in an estimated one million children being thrown into poverty (Egendorf: 1999, 19). However, assistance from the Government has also been helpful. Programs such as Social Security, Food stamps,...

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