Research Essay: Poverty Example

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    Sociology
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    Essay
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    Undergraduate
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12POVERTY

Research Essay: Poverty

Research Essay: Poverty

Introduction

One of the major social problems in relation to the case of Australia is the essence of poverty. In the context of Australia, poverty comes out as one of the political contentious issues in the modern society. Poverty closely relates to the essence of social inequality in diverse nations across the world. The main objective of this research essay is to focus on an area of policy in relation to the poverty. In order to achieve this objective, the research essay will concentrate on description of the nature of the social problem (poverty) within the area of policy as well as its presentation by relevant governments and NGOs. In addition, the research essay will focus on the essence of policy responses and services towards handling of the problem of poverty. Furthermore, the study will seek to examine the sociological illustration and understanding of poverty in the case of Australia. Finally, the research essay will seek to determine the presence of alternatives toward handling of the social problem with reference to the case of poverty in Australia.

Social Problem

Poverty is one of the critical issues affecting political, social, and economic spheres in diverse nations across the world. Various definitions demonstrate the essence of poverty. In one instance, poverty refers to not having substantial or enough money with the aim of making the ends meet. In addition, poverty might also relate to having to struggle to survive each day. Other scholars note that poverty refers to never being able to afford any of the good or luxurious things in life thus the essence of struggling to survive on a daily basis. It is also essential to note that poverty relates to lack of enough resources by individuals or households to live decently.

There are many reasons noting that poverty is a crucial social problem affecting the society members with references to diverse demographics with reference to the case of Australia. For instance, poverty has the tendency of increasing or creating massive economic burden on the performance of the economy with reference to issues such as food, health, and housing structures as well as educational resources. This is because of the lack of ability of the poor people to pay for the goods and services. The government has the obligation to transfer massive GDP or income to be able to support this group of people thus making it a social problem. Furthermore, poverty contributes to zero productivity thus a drag on the economy. Poverty levels also contribute to massive increase in the rate of crime because of the inequality in relation to resources. An increase in the crime rate would be disastrous to the entire society because of the negative impact of insecurity on the national development and economic performance. From this perspective, the effects of poverty are felt in society as a whole thus making it one of the essential social issues or problems affecting the growth and development of the society. The concern of poverty has been a critical issue for more than three decades in the context of Australia.

There are critical causes of poverty to the case of Australia. One of the essential causes of poverty in the case of Australia is inadequate levels of government income support. In addition, the rise in the long-term unemployment rate has been essential in the development of poverty among the women, children, and the immigrants residing in Australia. Low wages and poor health conditions have also been essential in the generation of the high poverty states in Australia (Saunders, 2008). Another critical contributor to the increasing case of poverty in Australia is the low levels of educational attainment by a section of the society because of the lack of substantial resources for the achievement of the goals and objectives. It is also essential to note that high housing costs as well as location disadvantages contribute to the cases of poverty in Australia. Other causes of poverty include the growing number of single-parent families and households in the modern society thus the influence of the social and political changes in the contemporary Australia.

According to the research by Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), one in eight Australians live in poverty. This relates to over 2.2 million people living below the poverty line with close to 600,000 of them being children. In addition, approximately two thirds of the persons in Newstart have been unemployed for more than twelve months thus the clear need for more help that they are obtaining from the employment services (Scutella, 2012). Poverty does not have anything to do with Australian, but it is a global problem. It has the ability to affect the economic performance and development of European nations as well as third world states in relation to ineffective and inefficient programs and government policies with the aim of limiting the extent of social inequality among the citizens.

2011-2012

Household

Victoria

Queensland

Tasmania

Australia

Representation of the Social Problem

The government and non-governmental organizations continue to present poverty as one of the critical social problems that should undergo eradication under the influence sound economic, social, and political policies. Poverty is a burden to the economic performance and development in the modern society. The government has been essential in the fight against poverty through integration of diverse programs as well as techniques towards minimization of the extent of poverty among the citizens in the context of Australia. The approach is also evident in the development of the social policies aiming to improve the living conditions of the society members while minimizing the extent of social inequality among the citizens. On the other hand, non-governmental organizations have been essential in the generation of diverse programs aiming to create employment opportunities for the reduction of the poverty levels as well as unemployment. Similarly, NGOs have continues to focus on the engagement in community programs to empower the society members with the aim of addressing critical social inequalities contributing to the increased case of poverty in the modern society. These encounters indicates that government and non-governmental organizations note that poverty is a common problem thus the need for economic, social, and political efficiency with the aim of reducing the development of other related problems (Leigh, 2004). The government and non-governmental organizations focus on identifying the essence of poverty with children and women in the society. This is because of the position of these groups within the society as they tend to play a secondary role to men in the employment field as well as other prestigious positions in the economic, social, and political spheres.

There are diverse perceptions or perspectives in relation to the essence of poverty in Australia. Certain citizens of Australia perceive that the extent to which one in eight Australians lives in poverty is shameful. From this perspective, the poor people have to live their lives in a static or backward state. In spite of the rapid economic growth and performance in Australia, poverty has been on the increase making it a shameful phenomenon for the nation. It is essential to note that attitudes and perceptions towards the poor and social services are shaped by stereotypes, mollified by contemporary economic conditions, and valuable in shaping the social support programs towards the reduction of poverty among the citizens of Australia (Graaff, 2003). Furthermore, there is a distinction between the ‘deserving poor’, those unable to work due to age, disability, or sickness, and the ‘undeserving poor’, able-bodied individuals facing unemployment. These attitudes have the ability to establish conflicting objectives for diverse social support programs. Governments have the obligation to generate social welfare against a background of economic conditions with the aim of handling diverse poverty conditions in the context of Australia.

The government and non-governmental organizations have diverse agendas and interests in relation to the essence of poverty in the context of Australia. The main objective of these two entities is to limit the extent of poverty while seeking to improve the living conditions of the people in Australia. This is through adoption and implementation of critical social and economic as well as political policies and programs with the aim enhancing educational and health programs. In addition, the entities focus on the improvement of the employment opportunities aiding the reduction of the incidents of unemployment in Australia (Heuveline & Weinshenker, 2008).

Policy Responses

It has been an essential approach by the government to respond to increasing case of poverty in the context of Australia. The main objective of the government is to examine the situation of poverty prior to the implementation and development of diverse social, economic, and political policies with the aim of improving the living conditions of the poor Australians. In the concept of policymaking, poverty research in Australia continues to face a crisis of relevance. In most cases, the government does not like talking about poverty as well as poverty debates. In spite of these developments, the government has been on the forefront towards curbing the increasing essence of poverty in the context of Australia (Rodgers & Robson, 2008). This is through adoption and implementation of diverse poverty policies with the aim of limiting social inequality while creating employment opportunities for the potential workers. In the development of key poverty policies, the government has been critical in the need to focus on the social capital and social exclusion. The concept of social capital has been on the increase following the decline of civil society.

The perspective adopts an agency approach with the individuals and communities having the obligation and responsibility for their well-being while ignoring the structural inequalities under the influence of the changes in the economic system and performance (Andersen & Taylor, 2008). Secondly, the government has been essential in the utilization of the social exclusion technique seeking to handle the rapid increase in the number of poor persons in the context of Australia. The policy for managing poverty issues has five critical domains with diverse variables: socioeconomic, education, connectedness, housing, and health service access. Under the socioeconomic domain relates to crucial variables such as bottom income quintile, no parent in paid work, and sole parent family. Under education domain, the variables include low AEDI score, NAPLAN year reading and numeracy indices. Other variables include not internet at home, parent doing voluntary work, no motor vehicle, high rent, low income, and essence of overcrowding.

In order to aid the efforts for the commonwealth government, private sector has been vital in the generation of employment opportunities as well as empowerment projects in the educational and health fraternity with the aim of reducing the essence of poverty in Australia. This also has been aided by the role of the NGOs in contributing towards improvement of the living conditions of the Australians subjected to poverty issues.

Sociological Understanding of the Social Problem

There are two sociological perspectives towards understanding the essence of poverty and relevant issues in relation to the living conditions of diverse individuals within the society. One of the essential perspectives is the structural functionalism, which focuses on the maintenance of the influence of stratification as well as inequality in the effective and efficient functioning of the society (Saunders & Bradbury, 2006). According to structural-functionalists, the essence of stratification and inequality are inevitable and beneficial to the society. In addition, privileges attached to high status positions exist as incentives focus on motivating the well-qualified people to fill high status positions within the society. According to this logic or assumption, inequality has the ability to ensure that most functional as well as significant positions are filled with the best-qualified persons (Levine, 2004). This sociological view of poverty maintains that all parts of the society (inclusive of poverty) contribute in some way or another to the larger system’s stability.

Secondly, sociologists also focus on the exploitation of the conflict-theory approach towards illustrating the essence of poverty in the modern society. According to the conflict theory approach, stratification is a dysfunctional and harmful concept to the society. Nevertheless, the approach has been essential in benefiting the rich and the powerful thus exploitation of the lower classes within the society. This level of exploitation contributes to massive increase in the incidences and rates of poverty in diverse sections of the globe. In addition, the proponents of this theory hold that competition and inequality are evitable since they are human creations in attempt to gain access to scarce resources. Furthermore, stratification contributes to substantive competition between the rich and the poor for the scarce resources with the aim of gaining competitive or economic advantage in diverse facets of the society (Zuberi, 2006). The outcome of this unhealthy competition is the essence of poverty and inequality among the society members seeking to survive on the existing resources. From the above illustrations, there are two vital elements of poverty in relation to the concept of sociology. The first aspect notes that poverty is an essential part of the society with the aim of achieving stability while working effectively and efficiently in accordance with other parts or sections of the society (Leming, De, & Furnish, 2009). On the other hand, conflict-theory approach notes the influence of competition, inequality, and stratification in the generation of poverty. This is vital in the illustration of the concept of capitalism where individuals compete for the vital and scarce resources in the modern society.

Alternative Handling of the Social Problem

I believe that the government, private sector, and non-governmental organizations could handle the case of poverty through alternative approaches. One of the effective approaches is through adoption of inclusive facet of education with the aim of ensuring that all the children obtain education regardless of their economic, social, and economic backgrounds. Secondly, the government should focus on the implementation of sound economic policies rather than taxation systems and techniques towards curbing poverty among the society members. This is vital towards inclusion of the society members in the fight towards enhancing their welfare or living conditions.

Another focus for the improvement of the living conditions for the society should be health. This is to ensure that the poor people have access to health care services and products with the aim of improving their conditions while working towards the growth and development of the economy. This is a vital approach towards improving the role of the poor people within the society rather than being unproductive towards the achievement of the goals and targets of the nation. Since poverty is a global element, these entities should also focus on the essence of technological developments and advancements towards reduction of the poverty incidents.

Conclusion

The critical social problem in relation to the case of Australia is the essence of poverty. In the context of Australia, poverty comes out as one of the political contentious issues in the modern society. Poverty closely relates to the essence of social inequality in diverse nations across the world. Poverty is one of the critical issues affecting political, social, and economic spheres in diverse nations across the world. Various definitions demonstrate the essence of poverty. In one instance, poverty refers to not having substantial or enough money with the aim of making the ends meet. In addition, poverty might also relate to having to struggle to survive each day. There are two sociological perspectives towards understanding the essence of poverty and relevant issues in relation to the living conditions of diverse individuals within the society: structural-functionalism and conflict-theory perspectives. Effective management of poverty should focus on the empowerment of the society members with the aim of enhancing their understanding on how to maximize available opportunities at their disposal.

References

Andersen, M. L., & Taylor, H. F. (2008). Sociology: Understanding a diverse society. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

Australia Alleviates Poverty In West Nusa Tenggara. (2011, Oct 07). Asia Pulse

Australia announces funding for poverty alleviation in laos. (2008, May 28). BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific

Graaff, J. (2003). Poverty and development. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa.

Heuveline, P., & Weinshenker, M. (2008). The International Child Poverty Gap: Does Demography Matter? Demography (Pre-2011), 45(1), 173-91.

Leigh, A. K. (2004). Essays in poverty and inequality. (Order No. 3131899, Harvard University). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, , 135-135.

Leming, M. R., De, V. R. G., & Furnish, B. F. J. (2009). The Sociological perspective: A value-committed introduction. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.

Levine, R. F. (2004). Enriching the sociological imagination: How radical sociology changed the discipline. Leiden [u.a.: Brill.

Rodgers, J. R., & Robson, D. (2008). Travail to no avail? working poverty in Australia since 2000. Australian Journal of Labour Economics, 11(1), 7-25.

Saunders, P. (2008). Poverty and health: Exploring the links between financial stress and emotional stress in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 22(1), 11-16.

Saunders, P., & Bradbury, B. (2006). Monitoring trends in poverty and income distribution: Data, methodology and measurement. Economic Record, 82(258), 341-364.

Scutella, R. (2012). Down and out: Poverty and social exclusion in Australia. The Economic and Labour Relations Review: ELRR, 23(4), 127-131.

Zuberi, D. (2006). Differences that matter: Social policy and the working poor in the United States and Canada. Ithaca, N.Y: ILR/Cornell University.