What to Blame for the Causes of Poverty

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  • Topic: Conditional Cash Transfer, Welfare, Poverty
  • Pages : 4 (1039 words )
  • Download(s) : 312
  • Published : October 6, 2009
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Poverty is a complex problem facing our nation today. Poverty can be defined as the deprivation of things that determine ones quality of life. While, we generally think of food, shelter, and clothing as these things, we commonly forget the intangibles. Opportunity to learn, meaningful employment, and respect of fellow citizens are also determinants of poverty. The government tries to amend the problem by providing a public assistance program, welfare, which provides a comfortable resting ground for the poor. While the effects that welfare on poverty are apparent, the problems that caused the level we are currently at is unclear. The articles “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty,” by Robert Kaestner, and “Various Theories on the Causes of Poverty,” by Harrell Rodgers provide some insight to the answers.

Robert Kaestner’s piece, “Substance Abuse Causes Poverty” presents a viewpoint different from many, saying poverty is a result of drug and alcohol abuse among our lower class. He argues that this abuse, specifically, chronic abuse, reduces user’s physical and mental abilities, lowers productivity, and reduces earnings, increasing the likelihood of poverty. His writing made strong correlations between the two issues, but also presents other factors that contribute to the level of poverty we are seeing today.

He states that drug use is triggered by a “significant personal setback, often characterized

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by worsening economic position.”(Kaestner) He defines the most influential determinants of poverty as wages, labor supply, marital status, out-of-wedlock birth, and welfare participation. Studies have found few adverse effects of drug use on wages and labor supply, but have found strong associations with marital status and out-of-wedlock birth. His theory is supported by two national samples of young adults, the National Household Survey of Drug Abuse (NHSDA) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), associating drug use with greater poverty....
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