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"The History Of The Poor In Australia Reveals That State Interventions To Ameliorate Poverty Are Misguided."

1551 words - 6 pages

IntroductionHistory on the poor in Australia has been widely discussed and debated amongst academics, particularly economic historians, charities and the state. Each perspective differing, as too does their representations of state interventions to alleviate poverty. Many academics past and present have attempted to critically examine the states response to poverty in the hope, perhaps to identify the effects and causes to come up with real solutions to poverty. Poverty is an overwhelming problem mankind has faced for many centuries. In capturing the Roe's (1976) quote, this paper argues that within capitalist, economic and political structure, the alleviation of poverty remains to be seen as state interventions are misguided.Pre 1960'sThe state has played a large role in the facilitation and development of the Australian economy. Secure in the knowledge that large sums of money were available from London and seeking to achieve economic prosperity, the state intervened in virtually all aspects of social, political and economic life. Under the enormous pressure to succeed as a nation economically, socially and politically - to be poor was defined as someone well fed, clothed and free of extreme poverty, according to Jackson . Whilst in complete contrast, Stannage argues that to be poor is to lack of means of providing material needs or comforts, deficiency in amount; scantiness, hunger, lack of shelter, being sick and not being able to see a doctor . Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities. Often it is housing, which absorbs a high percentage of income that must be dropped. What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place.Bearing this in mind, poverty has largely been ignored by the historians and the State due to the political and white social and cultural wants. Early Australian history focuses on the images of a bountiful country, where one could get rich if they worked hard enough. Moreover, these histories were nation making - constructing a white nation, who has a country with endless resources. This period was called the long boom and reflected a colonial economy was their low unemployment. However, Fitzpatrick argues that England was exploiting Australia's resources and was therefore undermining Australia's ability to invest for the long term . Thus to imply that the histories are ignoring this reality and as such Fitzpatrick highlights that England drained Australia when it withdrew its capital investment and this significantly contributed to the depression in the 1940's .Charities during this period provided much of the assistance to people suffering poverty. However it was done on the proviso that the person fit the selective criterion of 'moral worth' . According to...

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