The Cause of Poverty

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How I discovered the truth about poverty? Perhaps is a research statement from Barbara Ehrenreich in her contribution towards the underlying cause of poverty. In the article how I discovered the truth about poverty? Ehrenreich incorporates Michael Harrington best-selling book known as The Other America to indicate the perception of what people actually believed was the discovery of the cause of poverty. Harrington in his book states that poverty is caused by lack of effort to prosper, living a life of crime and having the faulty lifestyle. Harrington manages to create a line between the poor and rich through his statement that poverty alienates a society ‘they are different from us.”Barbara is not happy for Harrington suggestions about the cause of poverty, and she can’t believe why many people bought the book. Barbara believes that Harrington is misleading the society with the book and the suggestion about poverty. Poverty cannot be liked with living a life of crime since there are so many people who are rich and they are in crime business. Barbara comes out with another perception on the issue of poverty that ?’Poverty is not a cultural aberration or a character flaw, but a shortage of money”. She believes that poverty is not based on character but an absence of money in an individual’s life. This indicates that the real cause of poverty is yet to be known.

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Poverty is a global issue that affects about 50% of the world’s population. Therefore, many researchers have given their views as far as the cause of poverty is concerned. The article ‘growth, poverty and asset allocation: the role of the state”by Ramon Lopez describes that poverty is caused by the government through their unfair spending and land allocation to the people. She describes how the government harms the people and shows through equations how the government takes resources from the peasants and gives to the communist who becomes wealthier. She strongly believes that government is perhaps the cause of poverty that exists in many nations today pushing the number to be half the entire world’s population. On the other hand, Homan in his article titled ?’being and becoming poor”states that most people live in poverty due to lack of opportunities, jobs, education and low wages. He also pointed out that the people of color had a higher rate in the level of poverty to bring out the issue of race and other factors. Different researchers have different views and understanding toward the cause of poverty which has left people to be in the middle of all the arguments. Therefore, I would say that poverty is a complex phenomenon and it is caused by a range of factors that possible work together resulting in inadequate resources.

Poverty is caused by a corrupt government through unequal distribution of resources in the society. These individualists are people in high governmental positions who just think about themselves. It contributes to one of the factors that cause poverty. Lopez in her article states that some government official through ?’uses a few algebraic equations to determine how the government was taking land away from peasants, and giving it to the capitalist, which creates more poverty by eliminating jobs”. These bring support to the government factor coming into the causes of poverty. On the other hand, Barbara raises the issue of government with a different point of view that government should not be included to influence the cause of poverty. She believes that government should not support people but should promote social cohesion and an environment for people to invest. This perhaps supports the idea that government has some roles in the causes of poverty.

The issue of individualism can be a factor to the cause of poverty. I would like to say that poverty can be fought by an individual through a collaborative effort within the self. Many people are perhaps in poverty due to the fact they are comfortable with the situation and are afraid to make a step in life. Moreover, unlike Evan, Barbara believes that ‘A failure of individual responsibility is the cause of poverty in the U.S. (Paragraph 22) This media means that there is an effort that an individual should perform to evade poverty. Therefore, the society through individuals effort, especially within the poverty-stricken regions, should motivate the people to understand that one factor to escape poverty is to become responsible and have the desire to change and grow rich. However, Evan has a different explanation for the causes of poverty. He believes that through an individual has to work; the government and other leaders should stop greed, discrimination, and exploitation. According to him, the causes of poverty are beyond an individual factor, and therefore there are other relevant factors in the environment.

Additionally, mental health has brought a different discussion of understanding that Poverty is not induced by individual efforts but by a collection of factors contributing to the cause. Many people use the excuse stating that mental health has been the cause of poverty since this condition makes people miss opportunities, jobs, and money. Harrington reports that poverty is caused by”individual proclivities of the poor.”Therefore, to confirm or disapprove the statement a research was carried in various families under poverty in Hong Kong to test their psychology. The research reported that there was no sign of mental health or problem in the individual who participated in the program. This medium means that people under poverty mayhem do not have the mental problem. Therefore, there was no limitation toward all individual who would wish to become wealthy. Moreover, this makes another point that they don’t believe poverty is caused by lack of abilities and their efforts. Thus, it’s clear that causes of poverty have brought out many issues with clarity to be attained.


Poverty is a global concern that has led to many research carried out to determine its causes. There have been arguments between the articles from the researcher with some disagreeing with others opinions. Barbara has problems Harrington through his view of poverty and conclusion that poor people are not like the rich. However, various aspects were given with some describing that some governments are responsible for the poverty that strikes their corresponding nations. It is believed that some of this government take root through discriminative abilities by taking some resources from the people and gives them to the rich. Some have also argued that government should be out of the issue since it cannot reach all the citizens and make them wealthy or force them to work to become wealthy. Moreover, others believe that poverty is caused by an individual irresponsive nature making them comfortable in their position. Some have also blamed that there is an issue with mental health connection with the poor. Additionally, some have argued that poverty is caused by the absence of opportunities and jobs in the society. Therefore, we can say that poverty is caused several factors combined making resources to be scared towards an individual.

Work cited

Ehrenreich, Barbara.How I Discovered the Truth About Poverty. From Inquiry to Academic Writing, 15 Mar. 2012, pp. 606“609. Homan, Patricia, Lauren Valentino, and Emi Weed. “Being and becoming poor: How cultural schemas shape beliefs about poverty.” Social Forces 95.3 (2017): 1023-1048. Lopez, Ramon E.GROWTH, POVERTY AND ASSET ALLOCATION: THE ROLE OF THE STATE.Center for Development Research (ZEF), 2001.University of Bonn, Discussion Papers. Shek, Daniel TL. “Beliefs about causes of poverty and psychological well-being of parents and adolescents experiencing economic disadvantage in Hong Kong.” The American Journal of Family Therapy 32.3 (2004): 239-254. Selinger, Evan, K. Outterson, and K. P. Whyte. Poverty tourism and the problem of consent. No. 11-22. Boston University Working Paper, 2011.

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The Cause of Poverty. (2018, Dec 27). Retrieved March 20, 2023 , from

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