Explaining Theories Of Poverty After Asking 15 Students How They Thought Poor People Became Poor
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Explaining Theories Of Poverty After Asking 15 Students How They Thought Poor People Became Poor

Is it their fault they ended up like this?

Explaining Theories Of Poverty After Asking 15 Students How They Thought Poor People Became Poor

It's common for people to assume and judge. Here's a scenario: Imagine you're in a city such as Cleveland, Chicago, or even downtown Pittsburgh. There are homeless people about; some are either selling various things or begging for any money you are willing to part with. How did their lives become this way? What's your first thought going to be? Is it their fault they ended up like this, their poor decisions in the past?

I conducted a small survey involving 15 students on campus. Three claimed that it was past decisions that were to blame for poor people's state of impoverishment, eight claimed it was the unfairness of the tough economy and economic system, while four of them said it was bound to happen since those people were born into poverty and there is no escape from that.

The theory of poverty that the first three students believed in is defined as "individual deficiencies." It's a theory where the individual is held responsible for their impoverished situation. The individual created their own problems, and if they had worked harder, then they wouldn't be in poverty.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I disagree with this theory. We see the world only through our own experiences. While life for some of us has been paved out, others are struggling because they don't even have a foundation set out for them. While our lives might be going great, we don't think about what anyone else is going through at that moment, so we assume it's them doing something wrong.

The theory that the eight people I interviewed decided to go with is the progressive social theory of poverty. This theory explains that the reason why people become impoverished is because of the economic, political, and social system which causes people to have limited opportunities and resources with which to achieve income and wellbeing.

I would agree with the four people who said you are born into poverty to a certain extent while agreeing with the eight who blamed the economy. I feel like it's some sort of mixture of both. In regards to the question at hand of why the poor are poor, I fully believe in the life course theory. The life course theory explains how a person's history and the environment they have been living in affects the paths in life they are able to take. Life course theory also explains that the decisions a person makes are affected by the social and physical environment the person grows up in. If you think about it, a person in poverty's decisions compared to someone who isn't in poverty are drastically different.

I learned this when I discovered an online poverty decision-making game called "Spent." In the game, the players had to make various decisions that impacted their income. Every decision that you make is connected to a different dilemma and problem tied to health, level of education, and providing your basic needs. The game ends when players either run out of money before the end of the month or make it through the month.

During the game, there were very scenarios that came up bearing difficult decisions that I wish in reality I would never have to make. Some of these decisions included deciding how much I was able to spend on food, deciding whether to show up to work while injured, and deciding whether or not I should spend extra on my child so they can excel in their school work. The reason why these decisions were difficult for me to make is that I myself was never put in a situation to expect something like this, but for someone who is coming from an impoverished family, according to the life theory of poverty, they are already prepping for events like this to occur.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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