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Culture of Poverty Thesis

You are meeting with a few members of city council and the agenda is focused on social services for the poor. You find yourself engaged in a heated debate. Some members cite that the culture of poverty thesis suggests that the poor are largely responsible for their own poverty. Others argue that this attitude essentially blames the victim and that, instead, poverty is caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth.

Please help me with the following:

Which position do you agree with and why? Support your position with facts wherever possible.

I will need to write 2-3 pages. Please see attached scenario.

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Hi,

Interesting topic! One approach to help you with a paper like this one is to look at information from various sources, which you can draw on for your final copy. This is the approach this response takes. I also attached a highly informative article to consider.

RESPONSE:

Scenario:

You are meeting with a few members of city council and the agenda is focused on social services for the poor. You find yourself engaged in a heated debate. Some members cite that the culture of poverty thesis suggests that the poor are largely responsible for their own poverty. Others argue that this attitude essentially blames the victim and that, instead, poverty is caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth. Which position do you agree with and why? Support your position with facts wherever possible?

One thesis to consider is: Although poverty is, at least in part, caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth, it is then distributed according to "the culture of poverty' theory. In other words, the unequal distribution of wealth (cause) results in the "culture of poverty" (effect).

One argument is that poverty is based on the society's unequal distribution of wealth due to various contributing factors. For exmaple, the top fifth of the world's people in the richest countries enjoy 82% of the expanding export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment - the bottom fifth, barely more than 1% (http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr1999). In fact, 20% of the population in the developed nations, consume 86% of the world's goods. (1998 Human Development Report, United Nations Development Programme) Proponents of the individual theories (e.g. culture of poverty), for example, argue that individual circumstances and/or characteristics of poor people cause poverty, such as the amount of education, skill, experience, intelligence; health, handicaps, age; work orientation, time horizon, culture of poverty; and/or discrimination, together with race, sex, etc. On the other hand, proponents of the generic (broadly economic) others argue that poverty is caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth. In other words, poverty can be best explained by general, economy-wide problems, such as inadequate non-poverty employment opportunities, inadequate overall demand (macro problems, macro policy) and low national income (less developed country) (Source: Maxwell School, Syracuse University, http://www.gdrc.org/icm/poverty-causes.htm).

It makes a difference how poverty is defined, such as society's unequal distribution of wealth. For instance, suppose somehow we significantly reduce racial discrimination. Will total poverty fall? The proponents of the culture of poverty will answer unequivocally "yes". Conversely, the proponents of the unequal distiribution will answer the opposite -"No! Poverty will only be redistributed." Similarly, suppose we give poor people effective skill training and compensatory education. Will total poverty fall? Similarly, the culture of poverty proponents reply, "Yes, indeed!" Again, the other side of the debate would argue, " No. And, poverty will only be redistributed. (Source: Maxwell School, Syracuse University, http://www.gdrc.org/icm/poverty-causes.htm).

If the culture of poverty theory is correct, we must address the individual cause of poverty. For example, if ...

Solution Summary

Examines the culture of poverty thesis from both sides of the debate (individual or societal unequal distribution of wealth). Validated with facts and supplemented with an extra resource on the poverty trends.

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