Public Economics

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NUI, Galway|
Public Economics Essay: With respect to inequality and poverty how does Ireland compare to other Western industrialized countries?| Padraig Mc Govern|
|
08604070|
3/9/2012|
Lecturer: Professor Eamon O Shea
Course code: 4BCM1

Introduction
The following essay will compare Ireland with respect to inequality and poverty to the United States and the United Kingdom. I will use the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in order to analyse their position in the world’s economy; identify how to measure poverty; the main reasons for poverty and inequality in these three countries; use graphs and references to illustrate my evidence; and then finally give a brief conclusion to my essay. Anyone who sets out to present an essay which covers the current state of a subject runs the risk or change that a number of important topics have been omitted. Attempting to survey the rapidly expanding boundaries of the domain of public sector economics is, therefore, a risky venture. Poverty

Poverty does not have one plain definition. It is a complicated, multi-faceted term that has different meanings in different concepts. In relation to this essay, I will refer to poverty as a lack of access to basic resources including food, clean water, sanitation, education and capital. The term 'absolute poverty' signifies a population that is living below $1 (U.S) a day. In the case there are over 1.2 billion people on Earth are living in absolute poverty. Relative poverty on the other hand is poverty within a country. Although Ireland has a high human development, there are still people within the country who are relatively poor, compared with richer people in the country. The people whom fall into the ‘relative poverty’ bracket are those relatively poor people are not living in absolute poverty but can be considered poor. In Ireland, 11 basic items are used to construct the deprivation index: * Without heating at some stage in the last year

* Unable to afford a morning, afternoon or evening out in the last fortnight * Unable to afford two pairs of strong shoes
* Unable to afford a roast once a week
* Unable to afford a meal with meat, chicken or fish every second day * Unable to afford new (not second-hand) clothes
* Unable to afford a warm waterproof coat
* Unable to afford to keep the home adequately warm
* Unable to afford to replace any worn out furniture
* Unable to afford to have family or friends for a drink or meal once a month * Unable to afford to buy presents for family or friends at least once a year The most obvious effect of poverty is hunger; however hunger can also be a cause of poverty. This is because hunger deprives those living in absolute poverty of the skill and strength to carry out productive work. The latest estimates suggest that about eight hundred and forty million people were undernourished between 1998 and 2000. Millions of people, including over six million children under the age of five, die each year as a result of hunger. One in seven children born in countries where hunger, and therefore poverty, is most common will die before reaching the age of five. Hunger affects mental and physical growth, causing undernourished smaller and slighter body frames, which in turn earn less in jobs involving physical labour, contributing to the overall poverty of a country and community. Although in the UK, the government are aiming towards tackling social exclusion, one in three children in the UK are still living in poverty. Factors such as rising standards, particularly in education and housing have helped tackle inequalities while poverty still remains a major problem-more than four million children are living in households where the income is below the officially recognised poverty line. While it is children who are more likely to live in low-income households, one out of five adults lives in households with less than 60% of average income. Over five...
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