Scholars have been debating for a long time whether poverty is predetermined or the outcome of structural and systemic problems. Some believe that a person’s economic status is set in stone at birth and that there is little that can be done to change it, while others maintain that conditions such as a lack of access to opportunities and resources contribute to poverty. We will examine the arguments and supporting facts for and against the idea of poverty predestination in this piece.
The concept of “poverty predestination” asserts that an individual’s economic status is largely decided at birth and cannot be changed. As a result, individuals who are born poor are destined to live in poverty, whereas those who are born rich are likely to maintain their inheritance throughout their lives. This idea’s proponents argue that a person’s family origin and socioeconomic level significantly influence their capacity to escape poverty.
The idea of intergenerational poverty, which holds that poverty is frequently passed down through generations, serves as the foundation for the idea of poverty predestination. Due to this phenomenon, hereditary disadvantages are passed down from one generation to the next, hence sustaining poverty through time. A complex network of social, economic, and environmental conditions that limit the options accessible to people and their families is the primary cause of intergenerational poverty. When a kid is born into a poor family, they are more likely to experience severe developmental obstacles such as limited access to high-quality social, medical, and educational resources.These structural disadvantages raise the child’s likelihood of living in poverty their entire life by restricting their ability to acquire the knowledge and tools necessary to succeed in life. Attempts to eradicate poverty and foster upward social mobility are severely hampered by this vicious cycle of poverty transmission.
A number of structural elements, according to proponents of the idea of poverty predestination, are said to strengthen this cycle in addition to the intergenerational transmission of poverty. A few of these include poor access to education, few career possibilities, and insufficient access to necessities like food and shelter. When it comes to educational achievements, a child who is born into a low-income family is frequently at a disadvantage since they do not have the financial means to afford quality education, access to extracurricular activities, or even basic school supplies. This may result in a knowledge and skill gap that restricts their future work options and earning potential.Additionally, those who grow up in areas with high unemployment rates might have a difficult time finding employment, which would keep them in poverty. Additionally, it may be difficult for those who lack access to basic necessities like food, shelter, and healthcare to escape the cycle of poverty because these things have a negative impact on their health, well-being, and capacity to fully engage in economic and social life.The poverty inevitability approach acknowledges the complex network of social and economic elements that contribute to the persistence of poverty and emphasises the necessity for all-encompassing solutions that tackle these issues from the ground up.
The idea of predestining poverty, according to its critics, overlooks the crucial part that social structures and systemic problems play in sustaining poverty. They contend that poverty is the outcome of larger societal inequities that restrict access to essential resources and opportunities, rather than only being the result of individual-level factors like unemployment or a lack of education. Different manifestations of these structural inequalities include discriminatory laws, deficient healthcare systems, and unequal distribution of wealth and income. According to this perspective, inequality and deprivation are perpetuated by systematic and institutionalised forces rather than by intrinsic characteristics of particular people or families.
For instance, there is a substantial wealth difference between the rich and the poor in many nations. Systemic problems like tax laws that favour the wealthy, restricted access to credit, and a lack of social safety nets all contribute to this wealth divide. Despite their individual efforts, those in poverty find it difficult to escape because of these structural problems.
In addition, scholars argue that the inevitability of poverty ignores the role played by social programmes and government initiatives in eradicating poverty. For instance, social welfare, free healthcare, and education programmes can dramatically lower poverty rates. Regardless of their socioeconomic condition or family history, these programmes offer people the tools and opportunities they need to get out of poverty.
While acknowledging the reality of intergenerational poverty, the idea of predestination to poverty ignores the systemic causes of poverty. Poverty is not a personal failing or decision; rather, it is the outcome of social systems that produce and maintain inequality. The chances of becoming successful for people born into poverty are lowered due to unequal access to resources, opportunities, and fundamental requirements like healthcare and education.
As a result, combating poverty necessitates a systemic strategy that addresses its underlying causes. This entails funding initiatives for education and job training, expanding access to healthcare, and addressing systemic injustices including discrimination and unequal resource allocation. In addition, a complex understanding of poverty must consider the intersectionality of issues including race, gender, and disability. To ensure that everyone, regardless of origin or identity, has an equal chance to succeed, policies and interventions must be designed to address these intersecting issues.
In the end, we can lower poverty rates and provide people with the tools and opportunities they need to succeed by working to build a more just and equal society. To remove the structural hurdles that maintain poverty and build a society where everyone may prosper, policymakers, community organisations, and individuals must work together.
The authors are currently pursuing Masters in Economics and can be reached at [email protected]