Wealth vs. Poverty

Topics: Poverty, Sociology, Poverty in the United States Pages: 7 (2477 words) Published: February 17, 2012
Wealth vs. Poverty

Analytical Essay 1

David Redden


Professor Hermina Reyes

January 31, 2012


“Poverty is the deprivation of common necessities such as food, clothing, shelter and safe drinking water, all of which determine our quality of life. It may also include the lack of access to opportunities such as education and employment which aid the escape from poverty and/or allow one to enjoy the respect of fellow citizens” (Wikipedia, 2008). This Wikipedia explanation of the word poverty does not take into consideration one other factor: health. “Health is a key area that is impacted by poverty” (Segal, p.333). Even in working family homes, important medical care is not acquired due to lack of health insurance and/or out-of-pocket expenses. Some examples: 1. Having to pull teeth instead of getting root canals because the first being cheaper. 2. No preventative visits to doctors or dentists.

3. Needed surgeries and medications delayed or ignored. 4. Relying on emergency care.
The existence of poverty is no new news for most of the world. Although the United States in general is not feeling the effects as much as other countries, it is nonetheless becoming a problem. To address the issues of poverty, do we ask who’s to blame, or why it persists? Maybe or maybe not, but theses are two excellent questions to start on a path of understanding poverty. Analysis of a few articles will shed some insight on addressing the matters of poverty, and will give some understanding to steps that society, along with individuals themselves, can take to improve upon the qualities of life. One article, “The Persistence of Poverty”, focuses on just that, the persistence of poverty, and what some of the key factors or behaviors/non-behaviors that cause poverty. Yet another article, “Social Empathy: A Tool to Address the Contradiction of Working But Still Poor”, goes further to help understand why even while the poor attempt to work to overcome being poor, they remain poor. This article also addresses how a combination of empathy from both individuals as well as social reform can help to improve the quality of life for those stuck in the cycle of working but still poor. A third article, or short autobiography, “Nickel and Dimed”, author Barbara Ehrenreich, puts herself in the world of the working poor class; thus allowing herself to empathize with the working destitute. There may not be an immediate solution to poverty, but considering its persistence, there must be some factors that have recurred over the years, that can be siphoned out to help with improving the quality of life. Combing through these articles will reveal some ideas to improving the quality of life: social and individual empathy, lifestyle changes, and government programs. Wealth vs. Poverety

Poverty dates back to being that of the “natural order”. In the Bible it says “For the poor shall never cease out of the land” (Deuteronomy 15:11, King James Version). Millenniums later, in the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus echoes this by saying “For the poor always ye have with you…” (John 12:8, King James Version) (Karelis, 2008, p.28). Even in modern times, poverty is seen as persistent, but not natural. It is seen as a puzzling anomaly, since it appears that there is enough “wealth” to go around. “The United States poverty rate has been essentially the same for forty years, despite significant increases in the per capita domestic product” (Karelis, p.28). So why does this persistent state of poverty exist? Why do the poor often stay poor? Karelis points out five causes, while stating they are among the most important causes (implying that there are more; just that these are the most important ones): not working, not finishing school, not saving for a rainy day, no moderating alcohol consumption, and not living within the law. Out of...

References: Ehrenreich, B. (1999, Nickel-and-dimed: On (not) getting by in america. Harpers Magazine, 298(1784), 37-52. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/233492046?accountid=14729.
Rycroft, R. S. (2008). The persistence of poverty: Why the economics of the well-off cant help the poor. Choice, 45(6), 1024-1024. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/225718854?accountid=14729
Segal, E. A. (2007). Social empathy: A tool to address the contradiction of working but still poor. Families in Society, 88(3), 333-337. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/230174205?accountid=14729
Smith, A. (1776). An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Book 11, Introduction, Chapter I through III. Retrieved from http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/smith/wealth/wealbk01
Poverty. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 29, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty
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