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Nowadays environmental problems are too big to be managed by individual persons or individual countries. The lack of common benchmarks, methods for measuring and information sharing further inhibits the performance of the sub-sector. Sociologically, poverty essays, however, it focuses on only one part of the equation by leaving poverty essays the system itself. For more information click here. They constitute the key stakeholders of the Microfinance Sub-sector in Ghana. We also have to identify the paths poverty essays least resistance that produce the same patterns and problems year after year.



Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. For more information click here. Government programs come and go as political parties swing us back and forth between stock answers whose only effect seems to be who gets elected.

But on a deeper level, we tend to think about them in ways that keep us from getting at their complexity in the first place. It is a basic tenet of sociological practice that to solve a social problem we have to begin by seeing it as social.

Without this, we look in the wrong place for explanations and in the wrong direction for visions of change. Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is. The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents. More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty.

For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it — through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.

How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole. As such, poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how the system is organized and the paths of least resistance that shape how people participate in it.

The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist. It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital — factories, machinery, tools — used to produce wealth. It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population. In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other.

But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency. This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers.

It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced.

Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return.

These kinds of decisions are a normal consequence of how capitalism operates as a system, paths of least resistance that managers and investors are rewarded for following. But the decisions also have terrible effects on tens of millions of people and their families and communities. Even having a full-time job is no guarantee of a decent living, which is why so many families depend on the earnings of two or more adults just to make ends meet.

All of this is made possible by the simple fact that in a capitalist system most people neither own nor control any means of producing a living without working for someone else. To these social factors we can add others.

A high divorce rate, for example, results in large numbers of single-parent families who have a hard time depending on a single adult for both childcare and a living income. The centuries-old legacy of racism in the United States continues to hobble millions of people through poor education, isolation in urban ghettos, prejudice, discrimination, and the disappearance of industrial jobs that, while requiring relatively little formal education, nonetheless once paid a decent wage.

These were the jobs that enabled many generations of white European immigrants to climb out of poverty, but which are now unavailable to the masses of urban poor. Clearly, patterns of widespread poverty are inevitable in an economic system that sets the terms for how wealth is produced and distributed. But public debate about poverty and policies to deal with it focus almost entirely on the latter with almost nothing to say about the former.

Murray sees the world as a merry-go-round. Instead, Murray argues, poverty is caused by failures of individual initiative and effort. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services.

The confusion lies in how we think about individuals and society, and about poverty as an individual condition and as a social problem.

On the one hand, we can ask how individuals are sorted into different social class categories, what characteristics best predict who will get the best jobs and earn the most. There is certainly a lot of truth in this advice, and it gets to the issue of how people choose to participate in the system as it is.

Sociologically, however, it focuses on only one part of the equation by leaving out the system itself. In other words, it ignores the fact that social life is shaped both by the nature of systems and how people participate, by the forest and the trees. Changing how individuals participate may affect outcomes for some. As odd as this may seem, however, this has relatively little to do with the larger question of why widespread poverty exists at all as a social phenomenon.

Imagine for a moment that income is distributed according to the results of a footrace. All of the income in the United States for each year is put into a giant pool and we hold a race to determine who gets what. The fastest fifth of the population gets 48 percent of the income to divide up, the next fastest fifth splits 23 percent, the next fastest fifth gets 15 percent, the next fifth 10 percent, and the slowest fifth divides 4 percent.

The result would be an unequal distribution of income, with each person in the fastest fifth getting nine times as much money as each person in the slowest fifth, which is what the actual distribution of income in the United States looks like. But to see why some fifth of the population must be poor no matter how fast people run, all we have to do is look at the system itself. It uses unbridled competition to determine not only who gets fancy cars and nice houses, but who gets to eat or has a place to live or access to health care.

It distributes income and wealth in ways that promote increasing concentrations among those who already have the most. But there has to be a bottom fifth so long as the system is organized as it is. To do that, we have to change the system along with how people participate in it.

There would still be inequality, but the fastest fifth would get only 1. People can argue about whether chronic widespread poverty is morally acceptable or what an acceptable level of inequality might look like.

But if we want to understand where poverty comes from, what makes it such a stubborn feature of social life, we have to begin with the simple sociological fact that patterns of inequality result as much from how social systems are organized as they do from how individuals participate in them. But antipoverty programs are not organized around a sociological understanding of how systems produce poverty in the first place. As a result, they focus almost entirely on changing individuals and not systems, and use the resources of government and other systems to make it happen.

The easiest way to see this is to look at the antipoverty programs themselves. They come in two main varieties. The first holds individuals responsible by assuming that financial success is solely a matter of individual qualifications and behavior. We get people to run faster by providing training and motivation. The system itself, however, including the huge gap between the wealthy and everyone else and the steady proportion of people living in poverty, stays much the same.

In relation to poverty as a social problem, welfare and other such programs are like doctors who keep giving bleeding patients transfusions without repairing the wounds. In effect, Murray tells us that federal programs just throw good blood after bad. Murray would merely substitute one ineffective individualistic solution for another.

If we do as he suggests and throw people on their own, certainly some will find a way to run faster than they did before. Liberals and conservatives are locked in a tug of war between two individualistic solutions to problems that are only partly about individuals. This is also what traps them between blaming problems like poverty on individuals and blaming them on society. It does require us to see how the two combine to shape the terms of social life and how people actually live it.

We must include social solutions that take into account how economic and other systems really work. We also have to identify the paths of least resistance that produce the same patterns and problems year after year. This means that capitalism can no longer occupy its near-sacred status that holds it immune from criticism. It may mean that capitalism is in some ways incompatible with a just society in which the excessive well-being of some does not require the misery of so many others.



[The following is excerpted from The Forest and The Trees: Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. greenclix.pw more information click here.]. F. ollowing the course of major social problems such as poverty, drug abuse, violence, and oppression, it often seems that nothing works. Photographer Matt Black creates a unique overview of poverty throughout California’s Central Valley using striking images, geolocations, and poverty data.

Total 2 comments.
#1 29.08.2018 â 16:14 Vostanik:
As usual, the one who wrote cool published.

#2 06.09.2018 â 00:01 Paradoxen:
Enough, went to fame article