These words have been used to identify different people, households and countries’ social status. In the USA, for instance, poor people are identified as food for the farm, as food for those who cannot afford every day and as people who live on the streets (Justice, 2010). The major divide between people is caused by one question which always arises when we think of wealth and poverty. Why are some considered poor and others labeled as wealthy, while America has a dream that everyone should be good irrespective of ethnicity, nationality, religion or faith? Root of wealth and poverty
The Great Recession that occurred in December 2007 is majorly to blame for the wide disparity in terms of social status. During this time period the economic, financial and social problems of the middle and working class families was disrupted while those who were considered as poor during this time period were pushed further into the margin of poverty ( World Bank, 2011). America is not the only country that faces great disparity in terms of wealth and poverty, but other nations too suffer from the same. Sociologists majorly classify wealth and poverty from data collected from the World Bank and United Nations.
This data is then used to focus on various quality of life indicators such as education for high-come to low income nations, other indicators include sanitation, health, life expectancy, income and the treatment of women ( World Bank, 2011). According to the World Bank and United Nations, countries that are highly industrialized, technologically advanced and have high per capita income per person are referred to as high-income economies (World Bank, 2011). Such countries classified as high-income economies include New Zealand, Australia, European Nations and Republic of Korea (World Bank, 2011).
There are also middle-income economies that include countries undergoing transformation from agrarian economies to industrialized economies (World Bank, 2011). They are further subdivided into upper-middle income economies and lower-middle income economies (World Bank, 2011). There are low income economies that are far from industrialization according to World Bank classification. Countries such as Bangladesh, African countries facing problems such as HIV/AIDS crisis are all classified under low-income economies (World Bank, 2011). The gap between the rich and the poor is evident when countries with high income are compared to those with low income.
It is important to note that we cannot use income only as a measure of poverty, since in low-income countries average income per person has grown over the past thirty years. The World Bank and United Nations have come up with various indicators that are used to measure poverty or level of development in a country. They include life expectancy, living standards and education (World Bank, 2011) . All these are measured using a Human Development Index that was put in place by the United Nations Development Program. There is also the issue of relative poverty, described as those people who can afford various basic needs but cannot maintain standards as those of members of society and nation (World Bank, 2011).
It has been noted that middle and low income populations will increase by an estimated 25% by 2025 (Justice, 2010). High income nations will have their economy increase by 11% at about the same year period (Justice, 2010). Even though the United States is among the wealthiest nation on earth, there are adverse economic differences among people living in the USA (World Bank, 2011). However, it is not clear what causes these differences. It can however be attributed to factors such as those who are considered affluent members of the society have access to quality education, quality health care, great nutrition, safe neighborhoods compared to the less affluent in society( World Bank, 2011) .
Looking at the tables, wealth and poverty have mostly been linked to individual efforts especially in terms of reasons why certain people are wealthy. In Table 1 showing reasons for wealth the top three contributing factors are individual efforts. Very few people view the wealthy as lucky or been blessed by God. In Table 2, reasons for poverty have been explained. Poverty according to this table mostly blames the society at large and the country’s economy. This can be shown through rankings one to six. The other reasons are blamed on the individual themselves. God and luck are not shown as major contributing factors to poverty.
According to Kendall, reasons for wealth and poverty in the society are different from the ones explained by the above tables. In Kendall’s view, wealth and poverty can be blamed on age, gender, household composition, race, ethnicity and poverty (Smith, 1985). Kendall shows that children and people below 18 years of age are faced with poverty more in the United States, while women and children are considered the poorest people in the United States when compared to men (Justice, 2010). Households ran by women are portrayed as the poorest. In terms of race, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans are considered the poorest in the United States. I do not think that the tables and social problems related to wealth and poverty are well related (Justice, 2010).
(2011). World Bank.
Justice, N. C. (2010).
Smith, K. B. (1985). “I Made it Because of Me: Beliefs about the Causes of Wealth and Poverty. Sociological Spectrum.