Poverty

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					Economic Problems:
           Poverty & Wealth
   Stagnant incomes
    ◦ Real income: income adjusted for inflation

   Taxes
   The savings rate
   A debtor nation
    ◦ National debt: the total amount the U.S.
      government owes



Economic Problems Facing
the United States
Economic Problems Facing
the United States
Economic Problems Facing
the United States
 Biological      (Absolute)
 poverty
    ◦ starvation and malnutrition

 Relative poverty
    ◦ people living below the standard of
     living for their society


The Nature of Poverty
 Official    poverty
   income level at which people are eligible for
    welfare



 Problems        with the poverty
 line
   Not adjusted for different costs of living



The Nature of Poverty
 • No matter how we compute
   poverty, millions of Americans are
   poor.
 • How we define poverty has serious
   consequences for people’s lives.
 • Poverty lies at the root of many
   other social problems.

The Significance of Poverty
 Existence of poverty contradicts
 the ideal American vision of
 success

 Structural     inequality
   the inequality built into our economic and social
    institutions




Social Inequality
   Distribution of income and wealth
    ◦ Inequality of income
    ◦ Inequality of wealth


          Wealth: how much property, savings,
     investments, and economic assets people own




Social Inequality
 Wealth    and power
 ◦ Vast wealth brings vast power.

 ◦ Because the rich can hire top financial advisors,
   attorneys, and lobbyists, they perpetuate their
   advantages.




Social Inequality
 The     impact of poverty
 ◦ People’s economic circumstances envelop them,
   affecting profoundly every aspect of their lives
 ◦ Housing and mortgages
 ◦ Education
 ◦ Jobs
 ◦ Criminal justice
 ◦ In short: quality of life




Social Inequality
   The relativity of poverty
      To fully understand poverty we must focus on
       what poverty means to people.
      Poverty is relative: what poverty is differs from
       group to group.


   Meanings of poverty change as social
    conditions change




Symbolic Interactionism
   The cause of social inequality
      Basic struggle over limited resources


   A general theory of social class
      Karl Marx (1818–1883)
      Social class revolves around means of production
      Capitalists (bourgeoisie) or workers (proletariat)
      False class consciousness: mistaken idea of future
       prosperity
      Class consciousness: realization that there will
       never be a future prosperity




Conflict Theory
   Income inequality helps society.
       Some tasks in society are more important than
        others.
       To attract such talented people, the positions
        must offer high income and prestige.

   Poverty is functional for society.
       We need the poor because their poverty
        contributes to society’s well-being.




Functionalism
   Permanence and poverty
      Most people who fall below the poverty line do not
       stay there permanently.

   Region
      Poor are concentrated in the inner city and rural
       areas.

   Race–ethnicity
      Poverty trends can also be predicted using race–
       ethnicity.




What We Know about Poverty
   Children in poverty
      Poverty can also be predicted using age as a
       variable.
   The elderly
      Their economic situation has improved
   The feminization of poverty
      Poverty in the United States has become
       concentrated among women and children.
   An underclass
      People who earn minimum wage are likely to be
       poor.



What We Know about Poverty
   Social structure
      Poverty is structural, built into the social system.

   Is there a culture of poverty?
      Blatant poverty in the midst of plenty
      Culture of Poverty: people who remain poor
       develop a way of life that traps them in poverty
      Some people do adopt a culture of poverty that
       perpetuates poor lifestyles.




What We Know about Poverty
   The power elite
    ◦ small group makes decisions that direct the country and
      the world

   interest groups
    ◦ compete for social, economic, and political power


   Culture of wealth
    ◦ set of institutions, customs, values, worldviews, family ties, and
     connections that allow the rich and powerful to perpetuate their
     privileges




Who Rules America?
   Shifting views of cause and policy
    ◦ inside people
    ◦ outside of people

   Progressive taxation
    ◦ tax rates that progress (increase) with income




Social Policy
        Social   insurance

       Teaching   job skills

            Welfare

            Workfare



Public Assistance Programs
 Welfare    wall
 ◦ disincentive to work that comes when the
   amount that people earn from working is not
   much more than what they get on welfare




Continuing Issue
Feminization of Poverty
 ◦ likelihood that those living in single-mother
   households are likely to live beneath the
   poverty line




Continuing Issue
   Provide jobs

   Education accounts

   Giving the poor more money
    ◦ The Income Maintenance Experiments




Possible Solutions

				
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posted:10/15/2011
language:English
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