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This Is A Mid Term Exam Answering Question Posed By The Professor On The Sociology Of Poverty

5437 words - 22 pages

All over the world, disparities between rich and poor, even in the wealthiest of nations are rising sharply. Fewer people are becoming increasingly "successful" and wealthy while disproportionately larger populations are becoming even poorer. There are many issues involved when looking at global poverty and inequality, it is not simply enough (or correct) to say that the poor are poor due to their own efforts and or lack thereof (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 unequal trade agreements that favor their interests more than the poorer populations. Three perspectives that are often used when seeking causes for why people become poor are: The flawed perspective, restricted opportunity perspective and the structural perspective.Perhaps the most common explanation of poverty focuses on what has been called the "flawed character" view of poverty (flawed perspective). The flawed perspective is a microscopic perspective. According to this point of view, the causes of poverty are found in the shortcomings of the poor themselves. It uses the character traits of the poor to explain their predicament (blaming the victim). The full explanation relies on internal factors of the individual. "Causes of poverty attributed to the flawed character of the poor, range from individual defects in motivation, attitudes, aspiration, etc. It makes the assumptions that there is abundance of opportunities available, anyone can advance by education, those that remain poor didn't make the required effort and that the individual is in full control of their economic situation."The foundation of the flawed perspective involves what social scientists call "Human Capital." Human Capital is the investment we make in ourselves. According to the human capital explanation, poverty persists because the poor lack the appropriate education or work experience -the human capital- to get jobs that pay a living wage and are either unable or unwilling to make the necessary self-improvement. "The belief is that everyone starts out with certain sets of abilities, the question is 'how much are these abilities expanded upon?' With the Human Capitol theory the interpretation of the flawed character is dependant on the person's refusal to take advantage of ample opportunity. A Theoretical foundation of the flawed perspective can also be found in the "innate inferior concept" with the basis being: Blacks are inherently and biologically inferior to whites. Social Darwinism, which is a quasi-philosophical, quasi-religious, quasi-sociological view that came from the mind of Herbert Spencer in summary states that social life is competitive and "only the strong survive." (Poverty was nature's way of ridding society of those that were not "fit" to survive".)Another explanation that relates to the flawed character points to a culture of poverty among the poor that...

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