Poverty is caused by factors such as corruption, high unemployment rates, underperforming banking system, lack of foreign investment, natural disasters, underperforming industries, poor infrastructure, climatic changes among several other factors.
People living in poverty have limited access to basic needs such as food, shelter, water and healthcare.
Individuals, Business and Non-profit organisations can assist to eradicate poverty by helping people living in poverty through donations and volunteering for programs and organisations that support those in need.
Many people have misconceptions about poverty, and this had led to stereotypical perceptions about poverty were many view people in poverty as people who do not like to work, who do not have direction and are very lazy.
This write up will explain the main causes and classification of poverty so that the reader can have a true appreciation of poverty and thereby take necessary measures within reach to fight poverty so that we have a better World.
Cyclic poverty, collective poverty, concentrated collective poverty and case poverty are the classes of poverty that will be discussed in this script.
This is poverty that may be widespread throughout a population but the occurrence is of limited duration. In non-industrial societies, this sort of inability to provide for one’s basic needs rests mainly upon temporary food shortages caused by natural phenomenon such as cyclones, earthquakes and drought or poor agricultural planning.
Prices can rise because of scarcities of food which will bring widespread, albeit temporary misery. In industrialised societies, the chief cyclical cause of poverty is fluctuations in the business cycle, with mass unemployment during periods of depression or serious recession.
Governments in almost all advanced industrial societies have adopted economic policies that attempt to limit the ill effects of economic fluctuations. These governments play an active role in poverty alleviation by increasing spending as a way of stimulating the economy.
Part of the spending comes in the form of direct assistance to the unemployed, either through unemployment compensation, welfare and other subsidies or by employment on public works projects.
Even though business depressions affect all segments of society, the impact is most severe on people of the lowest socio-economic strata because they have fewer marginal resources than those of high economic strata who have more marginal resources.
This differs to cyclical poverty which is temporary, collective or widespread poverty involves a relatively permanent insufficiency of means to secure basic needs. This condition may be so general as to describe the average level of life in a society or it may be concentrated in relatively large groups in an otherwise prosperous society.
Collective poverty maybe transmitted from generation, parents passing their poverty on to their children. Collective poverty is relatively general and lasting in parts of Asia, the Middle East, most of Africa and parts of South America and Central America. Life for the majority of the population in these regions is at minimal level.
Life in those societies is characterised by low life expectancy, high levels of infant mortality and poor health. Nutritional deficiencies cause disease seldom seen by doctors in the highly developed countries.
Collective poverty is normally related to economic underdevelopment. Expansion of the Gross National Product (GNP) through improved agriculture and industrialisation as well as population limitation that is both population control and induced economic development can be remedies to collective poverty.
An increase of the GNP does not necessarily lead to an improved standard of living for the population. In many developing countries, the population grows faster than the economy with no net reduction in poverty as a result. Several developing nations are also charaterised by long standing system of unequal distribution of wealth.
The tendency for a large portion of any increase to be siphoned off by the elites and persons who are already wealthy, while others claim the increases in GNP will always trickle down to the part of the population living at the subsistence level.
Concentrated Collective Poverty.
In several industrialised, relatively affluent countries, particular demographic groups are vulnerable to long-term poverty. In city ghettos, in regions bypassed or abandoned by industry and in areas where agriculture or industry is inefficient and cannot complete profitably there are found victims of concentrated collective poverty.
These people like those afflicted with generalised poverty have higher mortality rates, poor health, low educational levels and low almost low of everything when compared with the more affluent segments of society.
The chief economic traits of such people are unemployment and underemployment, unskilled occupations and job instability. Efforts of amelioration focus on ways to bring the deprived groups into the mainstream of economic life by attracting new industry, promoting small business, introducing improved agricultural methods, and raising the level of the skills of the employable members of the society.
It is similar to collective poverty in relative permanence but different from it in terms of distribution. Case poverty refers to the inability of an individual or family to secure basic needs even in social surroundings of general prosperity.
This inability is generally related to the lack of some basic attribute that would permit the individual to maintain oneself. Taking for example blindness, physically or emotionally disabled or chronically ill; physical and mental handicaps are usually regarded sympathetically as being beyond the control of the people who suffer from them. These people are examples of case poverty.
Efforts to ameliorate poverty due to physical causes focus on education, sheltered employment and if needed economic maintenance.
Conclusively, it can be reiterated that poverty issues should be dealt on case by case since causes of poverty differ in circumstances.