Natureand Causes of Poverty
Povertyis among the key social issues that affect the quality of life ofmany people living in the contemporary world. It has been defined indifferent ways by various agencies, but the Word Bank holds that allpeople who live on less than $ 1.90 per days should be classified aspoor citizens (Leary 1). The application of the World Bank’scriteria leads to an argument that more than 10.7 % of the totalworld’s population is comprised of the poor people (Leary 1). Although this percentage has reduced from the estimated rate of 26 %in 2005, the number of people (881 million) who are still livingbelow the poverty line is quite large (Dhongde 3). This paper willaddress the nature and the major causes of poverty.
Povertyis not an evil or a thing in itself, by a symptom of the lack ofcapacity of the affected persons to meet their basic needsadequately. However, the lack of resources is the evidence or theproof of poverty, but not its primary cause (Cleveland 1). In mostcases, the term poverty is used to describe people who cannot affordthe basis needs, including food, clothing, shelter, but there areother wants (such as education) that limit the ability of individualsand households to lead a satisfying life.
Povertymay exist in the community in different forms. The attempts made todiscover the true nature of poverty have resulted in theidentification of its six types. The first type is referred to as thesituational poverty and it is mainly caused by the occurrence ofsignificant crises, such as severe health challenges, divorce, andenvironmental disasters (Cleveland 1).
Secondly,generational poverty affect individuals whose lack of resources canbe attributed to the fact that they were born in poor families.People who are affected by this category of poverty lack adequateresources to get out of their current situation (Cleveland 1).
Third,the absolute type of poverty is characterized by the lack of capacityof certain households to access the basic necessities, includingshelter, water, and food. Fourth, relative poverty takes place when agiven household lacks the capacity to meet the average livingstandard in its community (Cleveland 1).
Thefifth and sixth types of poverty are based on the geographicallocations. The urban type of poverty affects people living in townswith a population of at least 50,000 residents. The affectedpopulation lacks adequate supply of public amenities, such aselectricity and water. The rural type of population also affects andpopulation of at least 50,000 residents. However, the affected peoplereside in the rural areas (Cleveland 1). These people lack adequateaccess to quality education, electricity, and support for personswith disability.
Theoccurrence of poverty can be attributed to many factors, but they canbe grouped into five categories. The first category is comprised ofhistorical factors that subject people to a situation in which theycannot afford the basic needs. For example, countries that werecolonized and communities that were enslaved for many years haveremained poor because they were exploited by their masters (Smith 1).
Thesecond category is comprised of factors related to politicalinstability. Civil wars that occur when members of a given communitystruggle for power tend to hamper development, which leads to thelack of investment opportunities and jobs in the affected areas(Smith 1). The households located in the affected areas end up beingpoor. For example, Somali has one of the highest poverty indices andan unemployment rate of about 67 %, which are attributed to civil warthat started in 1991 (United Nations Development Program 1).
Third,individuals as well as households that are vulnerable to naturaldisasters are at a higher risk of becoming poor compared to thegeneral population. The recurrence of disasters in areas that arealready affected by the lack of adequate resources hinders theprocess of poverty eradication. North African countries, SolomonIsland, and Bangladesh are typical examples of areas where peoplehave suffered from poverty due to natural disasters (Smith 1).Countries in the north of Africa suffer from persistent drought,while Bangladesh and the Solomon Island are affected by flood fromtime to time. For example, the 2007 earthquake and tsunami thataffected the Solomon Island resulted in the destruction of propertyworth 95 % of the national budget (Smith 1). These disasters forcethe affected countries to allocate more resources to programs thatare developed to relieve the affected families, instead of improvingthe national economy and the lives of all citizens.
Thefourth category of the causes of poverty is comprised of all forms ofsocial inequality and discrimination. The minority groups andindividuals who are discriminated against have a limited access toresources and opportunities, such as employment. For example, theUnited Nations attributes the current situation where more women andchildren are poor than men to gender-based discrimination (Smith 1).Women lack an equal opportunity as men to access resources that canhelp them get out of poverty.
Lastly,there are scholars who believe that the national debt increases theprobability of getting a large number of citizens into poverty. Areport published by the World Bank indicated that poor countries pay$ 2.23 for every $ 1 that they get in the form of debt or grant(Smith 1). This limits the capacity of respective governments tofinance development projects that can reduce the poverty index.Instead, the governments of the affected nations spend more resourcesin the repayment of debt.
Povertyis a social issue that reduces the overall quality of lives of thepeople by limiting their ability to access the basic needs. Severalmeasures have been taken by different stakeholders (such as the WorldBank) to minimize the rate of poverty, but over 811 million peopleare still surviving on less than $ 1.90 per day. In its true nature,poverty can be considered as a symptom of the people’s inability toaccess the basic commodities that can help them meet the livingsstandards that are set in their respective communities. Theoccurrence of poverty can be attributed to different factors,including the natural events and human errors.
Cleveland,P. Concerns for the poor involves considering the true nature ofpoverty. Institutefor Faith, Work, and Economics.30 August. 2016. Web. 21 December 2016.
Dhongde,S. and Minoiu, C. Globalpoverty estimates: A sensitivity analysis.Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2011. Print.
Leary,K. Working for a world free of poverty. TheWorld Bank.2 October. 2016. Web. 21 December 2016.
Smith,T. What are causes of global poverty? TheBorgen Project.2013. Web. 21 December 2016.
UnitedNations Development Program. About Somalia. UNDP.2012. Web. 21 December 2016.