The Existence And Persistence Of Poverty

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There are three main arguments believed to be the explanations for the existence and persistence of poverty. The first account is the Dependency-Based Explanation that puts the blame of poverty to the individual or to their cultural background. The Exclusion-Based Explanation and Structural-Based Explanation are the next two which establishes the society that condemns people to poverty.

Dependency-based Explanation

Individual Deficiency. This explanation views that poverty is caused by the individual’s choice. Influenced by New Right idealism, David Marsland (1997) coined the term ‘individual deficiency’ that relates to the dependency of the poor people to the welfare state. The generosity of the welfare state is being challenged in this view because of the dependency culture it created among people who abandon their will to work to improve their situation. Marsland strongly recommended the use of means testing where the benefits to be given would be based from the assessment of incomes and savings. This is to prevent undeserving people to get assistance that they can provide for themselves.

Culture of Poverty. In his study entitled ‘La Vida: A Puerto Rican Family in the Culture Poverty’, Oscar Lewis (1966) explained the second approach of dependency-based explanation which is dependency culture. He made a research among the urban poor of Mexico and Puerto Rico in the 1950s. He found out that poor people in a class-stratified society were likely to develop a set of

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