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The Cause of Poverty Explained

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

How does poverty really come along? There are three perspectives in which this question can be answered. The first one is the symbolic interaction which explain the cause of poverty as people’s day to day understanding and interactions in their lives. In particular, those in upper economic class find it hard to relate those in the lower echelons of the society. Those who are poor are depicted as the other by the rich class, leading to stigmatization and stereotyping. According to functionalist view, poverty is a result of societal stratification which is necessary in balancing human life and interdependence. In other words, the poor needs the rich and vice versa. Some jobs or positions are more important and necessary than others; hence the social divide in inevitable. From the perspective of conflict theory which borrows heavily with the views of Karl Mark’s logic of class societies, poverty is a result of the conflict occurring between the “haves” and the “have nots” Those in higher echelons of the society use their positions or power to take advantage of the poor and oppress them. They also influence the law, institutions and even the media to their advantage, thus maintaining the society’s structure.

Can poverty be completely eradicated? Well there are no theories that explicitly explain whether poverty can be addressed in the global perspective. The functional view attests that for the equilibrium to be maintained in the society, there has to be social stratification. According to this logic, the social processes and structures existing in the society serve a crucial purpose in the society’s continuity and stability. For instance, some jobs such as brain surgery are more important, require more skills and thus require more pay than less important jobs like that of a cleaner.

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