The Poverty Problem Essay
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In almost every part of the world, the plague that poverty is can be seen. Even in the most prosperous countries and cities, there are gray areas that reek of poverty. However, poverty is not unsolvable. Pogge (2005, p. 2) highlights one aspect of solving global poverty which involves the prosperous countries. To Pogge, the rationalization of economists that poverty is caused by local factors is what is wrong. It is wrong to think that helping poverty-stricken countries is charity and that withholding help does not make them morally irresponsible.
In another aspect, poverty is not just the absence of a stable and good income; it is the absence of opportunities that would allow one to live a tolerable life. Many people live in the absence of sufficient food, shelter, education and health care. These are the basic needs of humans yet they are being deprived of this. They are also often exposed or are vulnerable to ill health, economic dislocation, natural disasters, and ill treatment by the state. There is a huge difference between the situation in rich and in poor countries.
In rich countries, 1 of 100 children does not reach its fifth birthday while in poor countries one in five children die before reaching 5, often because of hunger or disease. There is also a huge different in terms of nourishment. In rich countries, less than 5 percent of children are malnourished but in poor countries, more than 50 percent are malnourished (Nwaobi, 3). One of the most poverty-stricken places on the planet may be Africa as its economic performance fall short of all other countries. Most Africans live by $0. 65 a day and this number is even growing at an exponential rate.
Poverty in Africa could even become “dynastic’ such that there is no improvement in the situations. The children of the poor remain just as poor. Africa also suffers from inequality in terms of income, assets, control over public resources, access to services, and pervasive insecurity. This only aggravates the situation in Africa. Nigeria may be a rich country but the people there still suffer from poverty. Politics in Nigeria also resulted in a worsening income distribution—the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer (Nwaobi, 3-4).
Children are especially affected in times of poverty. Since children are still dependents on their parents or guardians, they can only enter or avoid poverty by the level of their family’s financial capacity and economic capabilities. Children cannot do anything about their economic condition until they become adults and are able to fend for themselves. While different governments have a variety of programs to ease children’s suffering because of poverty, it can only do so much. Even in the presence of such programs, children still suffer (Gunn & Duncan, 1997, 55-56).
The well-being of a child is measured in a variety of categories, namely (1) physical health, (2) cognitive ability, (3) school achievements, (4) emotional and behavioral outcomes, and (5) teenage out-of-wedlock childbearing. Children born from poverty often are underweight which makes them vulnerable to sickness if not born with a sickness. They also often suffer from stunted growth and lead poisoning. Poor children are also 1. 3 times as likely to have learning disabilities and development delays. Since these children suffer financially and cannot afford schooling, they only suffer the more.
In the absence of education and experience, these children have a lesser chance of getting out of poverty as they grow old. Additionally, poor children have also been found to be more vulnerable to emotional and behavioral problems. Also, several studies have highlighted that a limited family income have led teenage girls to have non-marital childbirths (Gunn & Duncan, 1997, 57-64). While the United States can be considered as one of the richest nations, it has its own share of poverty-related problems. In solving poverty in the United States, several assumptions were initially proposed.
Capitalism is not the solution to poverty and even as capitalism can create jobs, there is no assurance that all these jobs will provide an income greater than the minimum wage. However, even as capitalism is not the absolute solution, the poverty problem should be solved using a capitalist approach and not with a socialist approach. Even in good economic times, the US does not have enough jobs to support its populace and there is a need for subsidies, social services and collecting adequate taxes. The government also needs to deal with people who are poor not because they cannot work but because they are lazy.
Solving poverty does not demand a single solution. It needs a complex solution since there are different levels of poverty. Additionally, the government needs more taxes to help solve poverty and this means higher taxes from people far above the poverty line. It may seem unfair but it is a legitimate solution. Lastly, since solving poverty will solve other social problems, investing on poverty-alleviation is a good way to go and should always be the first problem to address (How Can We Solve, pp. 61-63).
While it has been noted that poverty is present even in the most prosperous nations, it is not insurmountable, though it may require much effort to combat. Poverty is the source of all social problems so solving poverty should always be the first step that the government should take. Poverty has a lot of negative implications especially with children since they still do not have an economic liability. No one step can solve poverty since this is a complex problem, what should be done is create a number of assumptions depending on the depth of the poverty problem and come up with solutions based on these assumptions.
? References Pogge, T. (2005). World Poverty and Human Rights. Ethics and International Affairs 19 (1). Nwaobi, G. Solving the Poverty Crisis in Nigeria: An Applied General Equilibrium Approach. Quantitative Economic Research Bureau. Department of Economics: University of Abuja. Gunn, J. & Duncan G. (2007). The Effects of Poverty on Children. Children and Poverty, 7 (2). How Can We Solve The Problem of Poverty. Available from: Pine Forge <http://www. pineforge. com/upm-data/13691_Chapter4. pdf>