It is evident that following World War II, many scientists and public officials predicted that with the advent of technology, it would be possible to end poverty in the world. However, what has happened is that there has been a disconnect between the Haves and the Have-Nots. In the modern society, wealth and poverty are the biggest dividing issue as was illustrated by the quote “cash rules everything around me” by Wu-Tang Clan. One can define poverty as the condition whereby one has no goods, money, or means of support. In the United States, poverty has been a social problem for decades because it has brought about hopelessness. The seriousness of poverty is depicted by global statistics that indicate that at least 80% of humanity live on less than a dollar a day while, in the United States, the rates are 14.5%. However, it is evident that for the disadvantaged people living in poverty, their hunger and desperation is overwhelming and thus there is a need for a solution. The purpose of this research paper is to prove that one of the major factors that have often contributed to the increase in poverty levels has been social inequality.
Poverty is considered an emotional and significant issue in the world. Furthermore, irrespective of the region, in most cases, inequality has propelled poverty (Shinn, 2010). There are various forms of social inequalities, for instance, gender, racial, religious, sexual, and health inequality, among others. Therefore, social inequality explains more increased rates of poverty among certain aggregates than the others. Thus, effective management or solution to address this social problem needs to ensure equality so that all people are given equal platforms to better their lives. According to Alexander Wohl (2014), poverty rates are higher among the disabled. He affirms that one of the major contributing factors is the rates of labor participation following the lack of effective policies that can ensure that people have equal social and economic conditions (Wohl, 2014). Although the government through the Disabilities Act and Affordable Care Act has tried to ensure that every disabled person receives similar treatment as the normal person, there have been numerous challenges regarding the implementation of such policy. People with disabilities are still facing discrimination and as a result, very few of them have been given various employment opportunities. As a result of unemployment, which is the consequence of the inequality, many have been forced to live in poverty.
Additionally, Shinn (2010) also indicates that compared to the white Americans, African-Americans and other minority groups tend to live poor lives. Although several strides have been taken to reverse the impact of racism, the conflict is far from over, which has significantly contributed to disparities between the two groups. Many African-Americans have often complained of inequality when it comes to securing employment opportunities and having access to social utility services such as hospitals and schools. It is evident that when numerous minority groups are deprived of the essential services such as education, in the end, it will translate to high poverty level because they will not be able to secure high paying jobs and their likelihood of involving in crime is increased. According to Shinn (2010), gender role and sexuality also play a great role in increasing or decreasing poverty. A society that undermines women tends to be poor because of high dependency and social conflicts.
As an intervention in the national and international poverty, Smith (2013) recommends that the government needs to apply a more holistic intervention that will enable the government to cover a broader scope of the problems. He points out the role of the government in alienating poverty by having in place effective policies that will deter racial, gender, and religious inequalities (Smith, 2013). Additionally, family empowerment plays a crucial role in preventing poverty because it assists in creating self-confidence of the family members. As a result, they can reach their potential and have a better life. Additionally, another important step in reducing poverty and inequality is through mass education and sensitization. When there is an increased awareness, people tend to be empowered, which will ensure their nourishment and access to more working opportunities and, therefore, will terminate poverty.
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Data and Methods
The research methodology adopted both qualitative and quantitative research methods to show the relevance and significance of poverty. The participants constituted 363 individuals who were given questions to respond to about poverty (Sutherland, 2013). Therefore, the qualitative method adopted allowed to organize the questions into categories such as family, education, employment, social position towards poverty, and policy and agency. One of the major strengths of this method was that it enabled one to have an idea or projection of poverty from different points of view and, as a result, develop effective and inclusive measures of handling poverty. However, the major weakness of this approach was that due to cultural and geographical differences, it cannot be assumed that the outcomes of the approach can work for all people. For instance, factors such as age, race, and educational status have been known to have much impact on the poverty levels. The important findings from these sources were that inequality greatly contributes to poverty levels across globally.
Poverty can be best illustrated by social conflict theory, which sees the society as basically composed of different groups, who have various interests and, in most cases, compete for resources and power. Therefore, according to the theory, the society is a platform that generates inequality, thus resulting in the Haves and the Have-Nots. In the United States, poverty is said to affect about 1 in 6 people. Thus, people can consider it as a temporary condition and, therefore, they are supposed to struggle until they find their way out of the poverty lines (Shinn, 2010).