The culture of poverty thesis

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The culture of poverty thesis

Economics The belief that poverty stems from individual deficiencies is old. With the emergence of the concept of inherited intelligence in the 19th century, the eugenics movement went so far as to rationalize poverty and even sterilization for those who appeared to have limited abilities.

They are meant to suffer, indeed must suffer, because The culture of poverty thesis their moral failings. They live in a deserved hell on earth.

The culture of poverty thesis

Ironically, neo-classical economics reinforces individualistic sources of poverty. The core premise of this dominant paradigm for the study of the conditions leading to poverty is that individuals seek to maximize their own well being by making choices and investments, and that assuming that they have perfect information they seek to maximize their well being.

When some people choose short term and low-payoff returns, economic theory holds the individual largely responsible for their individual choices—for example to forego college education or other training that will lead to better paying jobs in the future. In a Cato Journal article, economists Gwartney and McCaleb argue that the years of the war on poverty actually increased poverty adjusted for noncash transfers among working age adults in spite of unprecedented increases in welfare expenditures.

They [welfare programs] have introduced a perverse incentive structure, one that penalizes self-improvement and protects individuals against the consequences of their own bad choices.

Their economic model would solve poverty by assuring that the penalty of poverty was great enough that none would choose it and welfare would be restricted to the truly disabled or otherwise unable to work.

A less widely critiqued version of the individualistic theory of poverty comes from American values of individualism—the Horatio Alger myth that any individual can succeed by skills and hard work, and that motivation and persistence are all that are required to achieve success see Asen, Self-help literature reinforces the belief that individuals fail because they do not try hard enough.

He goes on to say that anyone can succeed by an easy formula—focused goals and hard work. This is the message of hundreds of self-help books, articles, and sermons. By extension, this literature implies that those who do not succeed must face the fact that they themselves are responsible for their failure.

While scientifically it is routine to dismiss the individual deficiency theory as an apology for social inequality Fischer, et al,it is easy to see how it is embraced in anti-poverty policy which suggests that penalties and incentives can change behavior.

This theory is sometimes linked with the individual theory of poverty or other theories to be introduced below, but it recently has become so widely discussed that its special features should not be minimized.

This theory suggests that poverty is created by the transmission over generations of a set of beliefs, values, and skills that are socially generated but individually held.

Individuals are not necessarily to blame because they are victims of their dysfunctional subculture or culture. American Sociology has long been fascinated by subcultures of immigrants and ghetto residents as well as the wealthy and powerful.

Culture is socially generated and perpetuated, reflecting the interaction of individual and community. Technically, the culture of poverty is a subculture of poor people in ghettos, poor regions, or social contexts where they develop a shared set of beliefs, values and norms for behavior that are separate from but embedded in the culture of the main society.

Oscar Lewis was one of the main writers to define the culture of poverty as a set of beliefs and values passed from generation to generation. He writes, Once the culture of poverty has come into existence it tends to perpetuate itself.

By the time slum children are six or seven they have usually absorbed the basic attitudes and values of their subculture. Thereafter they are psychologically unready to take full advantage of changing conditions or improving opportunities that may develop in their lifetime.

Scientific American, October quoted in Ryan, The culture of poverty theory explains how government antipoverty programs reward people who manipulate the policy and stay on welfare.

This theory of poverty based on perpetuation of cultural values has been fraught with controversy. No one disputes that poor people have subcultures or that the subcultures of the poor are distinctive and perhaps detrimental.

The concern is over what causes and constitutes the subculture of poverty. In other sub-cultural situations the cultural portrayal of the poor is more sympathetic.

CULTURE OF POVERTY THESIS AND LOW CLASS CULTURE THEORY.

For example, many liberal scholars understand the cultural problems that Native Americans face trying to assimilate middle class value systems.One thesis to consider is: Although poverty is, at least in part, caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth, it is then distributed according to "the culture of poverty' theory.

In other words, the unequal distribution of wealth (cause) results in the "culture of poverty" (effect). explanations of poverty blame individuals: the culture of poverty thesis states that poverty is caused by shortcomings in the poor themselves blame society: poverty is caused by society's unequal distribution of wealth and lack of good jobs.

Technically, the culture of poverty is a subculture of poor people in ghettos, poor regions, or social contexts where they develop a shared set of beliefs, values and norms for behavior that are separate from but embedded in the culture of the main society.

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The Causes of Poverty - Cultural vs. Structural forced by the culture of poverty thesis, which suggests that individuals create, sustain, and The Causes of Poverty - Cultural vs. Structural Denton, , p.5). This important point became lost as Americans internalized the view. Culture of poverty thesis may be focused on the problems of a person or a group of people.

The direction of the discussion should fit the thesis statement and be relevant to the topic. The direction of the discussion should fit the thesis statement and be relevant to the topic.

Culture of Poverty - New York Essays