Poverty: Causes and Effects

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Poverty: Causes and Effects
April Zusman
SOC 402
April 22, 2010

Does poverty still exist in America, one of the richest countries in the world? Unbelievably, poverty exists in overabundance. Not only in the inner cities but also in rural areas and areas considered middle class. How are social institutions contributing to poverty and what can we do to alleviate poverty in America? Has poverty contributed to crime? On the other hand, has crime contributed to poverty? Do poverty stricken people have the same rights and basic needs as people who are not living in poverty? Can crime in poverty stricken areas be eliminated if there is no poverty, can poverty even be eliminated? How does one of the richest countries in the world have so much poverty? America has so many resources and so much more food than other countries of the world. It would stand to reason, then that our country should also have lower poverty rates as compared to a country like Africa for example. The percentage of people around the world (as of 2005) that are in a state of poverty is astounding, as shown in the graph listed below.

How are institutions causing poverty? What institutions are the most responsible? Governments and corporations as well as local agencies can contribute to poverty rather than helping to alleviate poverty. The reason behind the ineffectiveness of these social institutions is due to greed and power. Other causes of poverty by social institutions are the cutbacks to funded programs, such as welfare, education and other needed programs within communities. A good education, no matter what area a person lives in is detrimental in the steps to climbing out of poverty. If programs keep being cut for the people who need them, poverty will continue to rise to such heights that there will no longer be a lower, middle, and upper class. There will only be the poor and the wealthy. Other contributors within the social institution for poverty are...
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