About Oscar Lewis
Oscar Lewis, born on December 25, 1914, was an American Anthropoligt. He is best known for his vivid depictions of the lives of slum dwellers and his argument on a cross-generational culture of poverty among poor people transcends national boundaries. Lewis contended that the cultural similarities occurred because they were "common adaptations to common problems" and that the culture of poverty is both an adaptation and a reaction of the poor to their marginal position in a class-stratified, highly individualistic, capitalistic society. This is why his study is crucial as it illustrates the context in which poverty as a concept and as a condition is ...view middle of the document...
Poverty has been defined as an absolute phenomenon by some scholars that regardless of the setting, poverty still remains to be poverty on the basis of deprivation, economic pressures and inconsistencies, unfair distribution of resources, and corruption.
Asked what causes poverty, respondents drawn from the said community gave the following views:-
• Being born in a poor family
• Dependency syndrome
• Members do not share ideas on how to prosper
• Unequal distribution of resources among citizens (Interview session 2012).
Poverty has also been defined as an economic condition in which people lack sufficient income to obtain certain minimal levels of health services, food, housing, clothing, and education generally recognized as necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living. What is considered adequate, however, depends on the average standard of living in a particular society.
Relative poverty (as hs been expalined above) is that experienced by those whose income falls considerably below the average for their particular society. Absolute poverty is that experienced by those who do not have enough food to remain healthy. However, estimating poverty on an income basis may not measure essential elements that also contribute to a healthy life. People without access to education or health services should be considered poor even if they have adequate food.
Causes of Poverty
Individuals who have a lower-than-average ability to earn income, for whatever reasons, are likely to be poor. Historically, this group has included the elderly, people with disabilities, single mothers, and members of some minorities. In the West today, a significantly large group in the poverty-stricken population consists of single mothers and their children; these families account for about one-third of all poor people. Not only do women who work outside the home generally earn less than men do, but also a single mother often has a difficult time caring for children, running a household, and earning an adequate income. Other groups disproportionately represented below the poverty threshold are people with disabilities and their dependants, very large families, and families in which the principal wage earner either is unemployed or works for low wages.
Lack of educational opportunity is another cause of poverty. In the developed world, a larger percentage of blacks than whites are poor today, in part because of a heritage of inferior education, meaning reduced employment opportunities later.
Much of the world's poverty is due to a low level of economic development. China and India are examples of heavily populated, developing nations where, despite substantial recent industrialization, poverty is rampant. Even in economically developed countries, widespread unemployment can create poverty. The Great Depression impoverished millions of Americans and Europeans in the 1930s. Less severe...