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The issue of gap between rich and poor has still been significant over recent decades in our society. At present, the article “Issue Area: Gap between Rich & Poor”, Joyce deBoer and Ryan Warmouth inform growing gap between rich and poor will pose unstable feature for society in the near future by surveying and comparing the statistical evidences from Golden and Area A. In addition, authors hope this issue must be mentioned by the society and anticipate it will be controlled by developing policy.
While others researchers state that growing gap between rich and poor can enhance the competition of the entire society.
By looking through this article, I claim that growing gap between rich and poor without control will pose serious threaten for the local stability and development. In this article, writers indicate the case of growing gap between rich and poor in Golden – Area A by filing plenty of data. Initially, authors select Golden and Area A which has a stable middle class as a sample.
Moreover, authors think analyses have constraints as a result of some elements, such as “back-to-the-Landers” in the Columbia Valley. Then, authors illustrates overall poverty rate in term of LICO and LIM and make a comparison between Golden – Area A and British Columbia.
Also, writers describe the impact of community growth on the gap, such as the increasing price of house and food. Then, talk about household incomes in disparate levels. Ultimately, the article concludes that growing gap between rich & poor can impact the diversity and stability of the community.
For growing gap between rich and poor, those who argue that it can cause the enhancement of the competition for the society my build their view on such an assumption that this gap can be considered one motivation for lower income class, who want to be higher class.
Obliviously, growing economic gap can cause the the evolution in some sense. Even so, this view should be too idealized for the current intense social competition. In my opinion, it has detrimental influence in aspects local stability and evolution. According to the description of the article, this issue can cause the local wealthy people can change to be rich increasingly and have adequate money to buy the local tracts and stores. In addition, along with the huge immigration of the new comer, the majority of them are wealthy or retired.
Thus, the local rich people increase the price of land and food for high interest from immigrants. However, the local income does not grow, thereby causing the economic burden for local young people and low income earners. Apparently, this tendency causes the rich people more abundant. But, it can also cause the growth of criminal rate in the local. On the other hand, an increasing number of people can no longer afford to live there and move out to others place, thereby causing the loss of local labor force. This can impact the evolution of local economy.
To sum up, growing gap between rich and poor have drawbacks for local stability, which cause the high burden live for local young people and low income earners. On the other hand, it can also bring about the loss of local labor force. I would concede that growing economic gap can create the competition of the society. Despite that this opinion should be too unreal. This article talks about the Canadian area has lived in the gap rich and poor. However, under financial crisis, this issue has already altered to be severe in some developing country. Afterward, I will research some articles about this problem in developing country.
Bridging the Rich and Poor Gap in India
A person with less purchasing power is deeply affected because he cannot afford Goods and services, which the rich can afford and it’s safe to say that, he cannot change his life style and standard of living. Poor and rich gap can be in different forms, some of which are – Education, Income, Life style, Housing requirement and food needs to name of few. Since long, poor people have been ignored by the government but ignoring poor and their demands is not the solution because with poverty not only poor suffers but country suffers as well. Poverty is one of the big hurdles in the way of Indian Economy. Though, government has formulated number of concepts as part of the five year plans, corruption always comes in the way of their execution and implementation.
As the poor cannot compete with the rich in pursuing higher education, they have to solely rely on their physical strength for earning their livelihood. Their earnings are so meager, that they are the true victims of inflation. According to the data of 2004-05 the crude literacy rate of India is 63%. Lack of education and medical awareness make them vulnerable to various health aspects. According to the 2009-2010 data 70% of all the hospitals in India is privately owned.
Corruption as we all know is a chronic disease in India which creeps into the roots of the country to such an extent that no one can even think of getting his or her job getting done without paying bribe. According to a study carried out by Transparency International in 2005 it had been come into the fact approximately 75% of the population engages in bribing to get their work done in any public office. The key challenge for the government is to provide equal opportunities to everybody, in order to bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
Poverty occurs in both developing countries and developed countries. While poverty is much more widespread in developing countries, both types of countries undertake poverty reduction measures. Poverty alleviation also involves improving the living conditions of people who are already poor. Aid, particularly in medical and scientific areas, is essential in providing
Poverty reduction, or poverty alleviation, has been largely as a result of overall economic growth. The dawn of industrial revolution led to high economic growth, eliminating mass poverty in what is now considered the developed world. In 1820, 75% of humanity lived on less than Rs 50 a day, while in 2001, only about 20% do.
Development of the Education Framework
Strict check should be there to ensure the proper working of the public school Strict control to ensure proper student to teacher ratio
Opening of new schools in remote areas
Increase the public expenditure on healthcare
Providing Food Security
Start a website where anyone can complaint about any official or any irregularity while remaining anonymous. Senior officials of the places should circulate their contact numbers among the people where anyone can call and can complaint. Senior official should time to time conduct a round to check whether everything is working satisfactorily. Strict actions should be taken against corrupt officials.
A person may have experienced living in poverty and also experienced being wealthy. Some others might still be living in poverty and some others can born wealthy. “Being rich isn’t all about money. It’s about well being, abundance, having time, success, and the right mindset (Laura).” The difference between being rich and poor is divided into two. For example, the United States is one of the richest countries. The areas around Africa and Asia tend to be the poorest country. But, that doesn’t mean people in the United State are all wealthy. Poverty and hunger are way less in the United States than in other developing countries. The United States is one of the richest country but there’s still a lot of people out there who live in poverty. Many people believe there is not much hunger in the United States but it is also a serious problem. Living in poverty mean not having enough money, food, and shelter. A person who is born wealthy wouldn’t know anything about the struggles of living in poverty. Things like money, food, clothes, and shelter. Here are the reasons how it leads people to poverty.
There are so many people that are hungry, millions of people go to bed without eating anything. World hunger is a major global issue because people are dying every day. “People are hungry not because the population is growing so fast that food is becoming scarce, but because people cannot afford it (Anup).” When people can’t afford to buy food, then they don’t eat enough and end up dying. Hunger is all around the world and mostly happens in Africa and Asia. It seems impossible to fix or even decrease world hunger since there are billions of people out there who went through poverty.
“Over 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition. 5 million are children (Anup).” The starving population is mostly women and children. Most people would likely die within 3 to 4 days without drinking water and eating food. China and India are the most populous and also the poorest countries. They have the largest number of people who went through hunger. Families with young children were living on the street with no shelters and food. Sometimes parents would tell their own child to steal. That one of their way to survive. In American, the homeless are everywhere on the street. They lose their job and home so they had nothing. Well, for rich people in America, they’re likely to waste food
Education is a major issue when living in poverty. Children who raise in poverty don’t have the opportunity to attend school. This can lead to a person’s lifelong struggle. This mostly affects young children. Millions of children in Asia and Africa Don’t have the chance to go to school. This reason is also because of hunger. “66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone (Samir).” Being hunger ruined children’s brains. Their brain doesn’t develop properly and concentrate on things. They have to walk to school without food and they also have to help out in the house or family to make a living for their families. That what keeps them away from school. Children in America has the opportunity to attend school at a young age. A lot of students in America dislike school; this is mostly High School students. High School students hate school is mostly because of homework, things they were forced to learn and their interest. Now, that a whole different reason between the countries. There are also other side of not attending school in America. Those who didn’t finish school and drop out were living in poverty and there is a reason for that. Family problems, low income, and even stuff like depression or stress. When children have no access to education, they don’t have the knowledge to know what’s happening around them.
A person can work really hard to reach their success and some others can do the same and still cannot provide for their families or themselves. A person can make thousands of dollars in a short period of time. A person can make as low as $10 a day and some others don’t have a job at all. They have too little to provide a family that why young children end up working instead of going to school. That where they don’t have any education and don’t lead them to not be successful. A person who earns lots of money has no worries about how they spend their money. And tend to even buy stuff they don’t really need. For a rich person, their power would be money because it is true that nothing in the world is free. But being wealthy doesn’t mean a person is always happy, money can’t buy happiness.
A wealthy person has a better opportunity than people who aren’t very wealthy. This can lead to so many ways like lack of education, food and having no shelter. Being poor is not a choice. Those people living in poverty can’t get the help they need and nor help each other. People who are wealthy are happier but that doesn’t mean they are also happy but they can also be greedy sometimes and easy when it comes to judgemental. “People who are poor are always looking for problems instead of solutions. They end up blaming their environment, circumstances, jobs, weather, government and will make an extensive list of excuses as to why they cannot be successful. Rich people understand that everything happens for a reason. Rather than letting life happen to them, they take direct action and make big things happen. They put aside all the excuses and eradicate their blame lists because they have to do what must be done (Daniel).”
“Social inequality is a more pressing socio-economic challenge than poverty in contemporary South Africa.” South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world, but not the poorest (with reference to income). We can see that the inequality in South Africa has worsened over time by looking at the country’s Gini Index score. In 1996 the score was 0.66 and in 2008, 0.70. The score has also deteriorated in terms of population groups: the score went from 0.54 to 0.62 between Blacks and from 0.43 to 0.50 between Whites (The World Bank, 2012). Countries such as Japan and Denmark have index scores around 0.25. The difference is quite visible. This essay will define poverty and inequality, discuss the measures and consequences of poverty and inequality, and discuss why inequality is a more pressing socio-economic challenge than poverty. Poverty can be defined as the failure to achieve certain basic capabilities and the inability to live a valued life. Basic capabilities include life, health, education, emotion and affiliation (Nussbaum, 1990:143).
However, in the context of South Africa, no official definition has been adopted. It is important to note that income is not the best measure for social relations. Social inequality is known as the biggest socio-economic issue in South Africa. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Sociology, social inequality can be defined as “Unequal rewards or opportunities for different individuals within a group or groups within a society.” (Scott & Marshall, 2009). There are various types of social inequalities in contemporary South Africa. This includes life cycle and population, education, income and poverty, and health, nutrition, sanitation, disability and AIDS. Especially with regards to the current South African political system, the process of equality for all is a long, slow one (Wilson et al, 2012:13). In order to understand poverty and inequality, and also to understand why inequality is a bigger issue than poverty, we have to look at statistics.
In 2008 34% of South Africans and 78% of people in Swaziland lived on less than $2 a day. However the Gini index score for South Africa was 65 (2005) and 50.4 for Swaziland (2001). (The World Bank, 2012) This is a clear indication that poverty does not mean that a country is unequal. Also, we have to keep n mind that the history of South Africa, with regards to colonialism and apartheid, will always have an effect on the amount of inequality that exists in the country. Stewart et al (2007) asks a very relevant question, “Should we expect definitions and measurement indicators applied in one type of society to be transferrable to other societies?” This statement will now be answered by looking at how we measure inequality and poverty and what the social consequences of these socio-economic issues are. Social inequality is measured mainly through the Gini coefficient, a statistical measure of income inequality.
The coefficient works in the following way: a score of zero means all individuals earn the same and a score of one if a single individual had all the income. This means that a higher number means less equality in terms of income. The score for South Africa in 2008, as previously mentioned, was 0.62 for Blacks, 0.54 for Coloureds, 0.61 for Indians and 0.50 for whites. In terms of area it was 0.56 for rural areas and 0.67 for urban areas. The overall score was 0.70. (Leibbrandt et al, 2010). Another measure of social inequality is capabilities or, in other words, the power and ability to do something. The measure looks at capabilities in terms of education, health, disability and social power. Inequality in general has had little change in the past 8 years, inequality between groups is declining and inequality within groups is rising (Leibbrandt et al, 2010). Poverty is mainly measured in the following two methods. Firstly, the monetary system/approach is a general acceptance of a value and measure of wealth in a specific country or area.
It can also be used in exchange and as a basis to compare things like education systems, for example (Stewart et al, 2007:7). The monetary system/approach is only valid in the following ways: “whether utility is an adequate definition for well-being, whether monetary expenditure is a satisfactory measure of utility and whether a shortfall in utility encompasses all we mean by poverty.” (Stewart et al, 2007:8). The latter should be placed in the context of the country that is being looked at. The ‘welfare indicator’ is used in the monetary system when data is being analysed. It is argued that monetary poverty is better measured by the data of consumption. Consumption is a closer measure of income in the long run (Stewart et al, 2007:10).
The second method is the capability approach (CA) or maximisation of utility. This refers to the maximum that a person is capable of or able to do. The pioneer of this approach, Amartya Sen, states that development should be seen as the growth of human, rather than the maximisation of utility. This approach measures well-being and not income (Stewart et al, 2007:15). According to CA, well-being is the freedom to live a valued life. Even though the monetary system is an effective way of measuring poverty, I think that the capability approach is a more effective way of measuring poverty because of the following reason: Just because an individual does not have a lot of money, it does not mean that he/she is not capable of doing the maximum. It is true that resources become limited when an individual is stuck in a poverty trap, but a person’s income is not as important as their well-being. Inequality and poverty in South Africa have social consequences. It threatens social cohesion.
This means that the inclusivity of communities is very poor. Secondly, it creates ethnic conflict. In other words, it turns into a ‘battle of the races’. Thirdly, crime and insecurity levels are rising. Sociologists are very intersted in the impact of inequality on crime rates because it has such a huge influence on society, especially in a country like South Africa. The crime levels usually go up with the unemployment rate because people are trying to survive. Crime rates are usually higher when especially income inequality is present. Inequality in the workplace can create the issue of insecurity because there has been a lot of change over the past ten years in terms of inclusivity or exclusivity. The denial of creativity and talent is also a huge consequence. The reason people waste their talent is because they are stuck in a ‘trap’ of poverty and inequality. They are not motivated to excel in their lives because they believe they have nothing to live for but to, for example, stand at a traffic light and beg.
After looking at statistics and research done in the field, the opening statement of this essay will now be proven. Inequality is definitely a more pressing socio-economic issue than poverty in South Africa. Firstly, South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world but not the poorest. Firstly, South Africa is unequal in terms of education. In the white communities which are mostly urban, pupils have better teachers, better textbooks and more resources (internet, libraries). In the black communities in South Africa, which are mostly rural, the resources are very limited. Some schools do not even have teacher who show up and some pupils do not even own textbooks. Internet and library access is very limited. This prevents pupils from excelling in their education. However, we do see a connection here between poverty and inequality because in this context a person’s income can have an influence on the standard of education they receive.
Despite this, the government should offer free, standardised education for pupils of all races, cultures and backgrounds. The area they live in and their parents’ salary should not determine the level of educational resources they receive. The same goes for health care. Citizens of South Africa pay thousands to afford good quality healthcare. The monthly premium is determined by a person’s income. The higher the income, the higher the premium. On the other hand, people who cannot afford medical aid, have to make use of the services the government has to offer. In South Africa, state healthcare are in most cases not very good. Thirdly, a country like South Africa’s past should not have an effect on the quality of people. The country has been a democracy for ten years. Unfortunately, the running government is trying to justify apartheid by actually making inequality worse.
No equality exists in the workplace, education, income and health. Inequality is more pressing than poverty because it keeps individuals from having opportunities and to maximise their abilities to do something in society. Poverty is also pressing, but the individual has access to aids that can help them maximise their capabilities. In conclusion, this essay has defined poverty and inequality and also discussed the social consequences it can have. The measurement of poverty and inequality has been discussed and statistics have been used to argue the opening statement. This essay has proven, with reference to research and statistics, that inequality is a more pressing socio-economic issue than poverty in South Africa.
Leibbrandt, M., Woolard, I., Finn, A. & Argent, J. 2010. The Policies for Reducing Income Inequality and Poverty in South Africa. A Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit Working Paper Number 64. Cape Town: SALDRU, University of Cape Town Nussbaum, M. 1990. Poverty and Inequality. Stanford: Stanford University Press Scott, J. & Marshall, G. 2009. The Oxford Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press Stewart, F., Laderchi, C. & Saith, R. 2007. Alternative Realities? Different Concepts of Poverty, their Empirical Consequences and Policy Implications. Oxford: Oxford University Press The World Bank. 2012. 2008 Annual Report. [Online.] Available:
http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI/countries?display=default [2014, April 7] Wilson, F. & Cornell, V. 2012. Guide to Carnegie3: Strategies to overcome poverty and inequality. 3-7 September 2012, University of Cape Town
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