While only approximatelyfive percent of the world’s population actually stays in poverty for more thanfour years, sixty percent is usually in poverty for about a year or less atsome point in their lives. Unalterable components in life will alwayscontribute to if one is in poverty or not which include: race, ethnicity,religion age and gender. Controllable factors include: job market of choice andlaziness.
Social structure and features of society draw sociologist’s attentionin to studying global poverty. “Is poverty tolerable or escapable?” remains tobe the current question in societies, but only time will tell. Functionalism is theperspective in sociology according to which society consists of different butrelated parts, each of which serves a purpose. When looking over globalpoverty, functionalists assume that society’s structures and processes existbecause they serve important functions for society’s stability and continuity.All problems have a reason, and lead to something, but not all “bad” comes outof “bad”. Assistance with healthcare is available to the poorer societies forexample, which benefits them but then again may tax wealthier individuals.Functionalists view the world as things happen due to something else happeningand everything has a purpose, which they probably view global poverty as ahelping hand relating to the dependency theory.
“Conflict theory is a theorypropounded by Karl Marx that claims society is in a state of perpetual conflictdue to competition for limited resources. It holds that social order ismaintained by domination and power, rather than consensus and conformity.” Thistheory relates to global poverty in a major way, as “limited resources” arementioned. In some societies water, food and living space are all limited andare on a first come first serve basis but at the same time are not easy to comeby. Some walk miles for water, work excessive amounts of hours to afford a loafof bread and some meat, and some build off the land to maintain an “okay”shelter for their loved ones. Nothing in life comes simple for societies inpoverty which is the definition of conflict theory. Lastly, symbolicinteractionalism, the view of social behavior that emphasizes linguistic orgestural communication and its subjective understanding, especially the role oflanguage in the formation of the child as a social being.
The ability tocommunicate with others and work together to possibly overcome obstacles thatinvolve poverty. Poverty is inevitable, but sometimes communication and socialinteraction may benefit others in the same situation. Different countries useboth cultural relativism and ethnocentrism to judge global poverty and see allsides of it, or at least try to. Ethnocentrism is “the use of one’s own cultureas a yardstick for judging the ways of other individuals or societies,generally leading to a negative evaluation of their values, norms or behaviors.
(pg. 36)” Viewing global poverty from a wealthier country using ethnocentrismwould have a poor outcome of thoughts and opinions, for example, because onemay have been born into a higher-class society they follow their social normsand to do so would mean judging a poorer society due to global poverty but notactually realizing the problem. The lower-class society may be looked upon aslazy or incompetent because education may not be available to them whereaswonderful educational opportunities are amongst higher-class individuals.Compared to cultural relativism, which is “not judging a culture but trying tounderstand it on its own term. (pg. 37)” sociologists typically are a primeexample of this practice, they typically (not always) go to the country/placethey are studying and put themselves into the other societies shoes. Viewinghealthcare, education and where income comes from gives a different view asopposed to judging based on your own culture and views.
“Cultural relativism isan attempt to refocus our lens of perception, so we can appreciate other waysof life rather than simply asserting, “Our way is right.” (pg. 38)” Poverty is often defined as a lack of income or resourcesone gets to survive, in the day-to-day lives of the poor, poverty becomes alink of disadvantages, one after another which is a “domino effect” effectingmore than just income but also effecting outcome. The consequence is generationafter generation of people who do not get proper, if any, education, healthcare, housing (that accommodates to all basic needs) which also includesappropriate sanitation/toiletries and good nutrition that includes all theneeded food groups.
“They are the most vulnerable to disasters, armed conflictand systems of political and economic oppression and they are powerless toimprove their circumstances.” These conditions often carry with them dysfunctionalfamily and societal relationships, low self-esteem, and spiritual darkness. “Povertyis a lack of hope.” Theories relating to global poverty include: TheModernization theory and The Dependency theory. The Modernization theory is usedto explain the process of modernization that a nation goes through as ittransitions from a traditional society to a modern one, originated from the sociologistMax Weber (1864–1920). In other words, the study of the adaptation to globalpoverty including social, economic and political structures, as the worldcontinues to grow.
The Dependency Theory is “is the notion that resources flowfrom a “periphery” of poor and underdeveloped states to a”core” of wealthy states, enriching the latter at the expense of theformer.” Which in other words means, poorer nations depend on better structurednations for support, dependency theorist look at the unequal power relationsthat have developed because of colonialism.More than one billion people (approximately one-sixth ofthe world’s population) live in extreme poverty on less than one dollar a day.”Earth Institute researchers, scientists and development practitionershelp fight global poverty by addressing its root causes: hunger andmalnutrition, access to health care, water, sanitation, energy, tradebarriers, gender equality, access to education and so forth.
” Poverty in thedeveloping world goes far beyond income poverty. Poverty means having to walk anexcessive number of miles every day just to collect water and firewood tosupport yourself as well as a family. Basic needs require basic tools, butpoverty limits the amount of tasks able to be accomplished because of it.Therefore, essentially poverty means suffering diseases that were eliminatedfrom wealthier countries decades upon decades ago.