Poverty generally refers to having a standard of living lower than half the national average. People stricken by poverty cannot even provide their basic needs and struggle to survive. Many countries experience poverty at the same time and at some degree. The most well known countries that experience poverty are third world nation, but poverty also occurs in wealthy and developed nations. Countries have different areas where poverty is evident. In the third world nations poverty is noticeable in many aspects of the society, where as in developed nations, poverty usually occurs in more secluded areas (Sachs 34). Areas in the world where poverty is common include South East-Asia, India, South America, and Africa. However, most countries in the world including Australia experience poverty in some degree. Majority of people who experience poverty live in the outskirts of cities. Different groups of people who experience poverty include the aboriginals, homeless, fringe dwellers, street children, single parents, and those born in a life of poverty. Governments are trying to stop poverty and find solutions to help solve the problem; some of these solutions include providing healthcare, giving an education to children, finding jobs for the poor, and ensuring quality housing. Governments have also showed progress in stopping poverty.
Poverty is a tragedy that results into negative outcomes. These include overcrowding, starvation, expanding population, little clothing, malnutrition, and diseases. Additionally, poverty can influence people to turn to crime as a means of survival. Less serious levels of poverty can make people depressed or commit suicide. It also leads to high infant mortality because poor people cannot afford prenatal care to babies. Last, poverty can cause a big strain on government spending through social security to the unemployed. All these negative impacts of poverty make it essential for government to try stop poverty. However, most of these government efforts in stopping poverty come as a cost to both the government and the taxpayer.
Over the last decade, the number of the poor has grown and poverty deepened despite efforts by various governments to eliminate poverty using responsible monetary policies and fiscal policies. They are now advocating for special measures to improve the economic potential of the poor by providing better education and health care (Gorman 47). The main economic function of education is to increase the capacity of people to make a decent living. This complements the political function of education, which is to strengthen the capacity to evaluate political leaders critically. Education and training give individuals the advantage of new economic opportunities to avert poverty. However, education does not provide short-term solutions to poverty. A well-educated society assist in overcoming poverty by targeting improvements in education to poor children and poor communities, especially in schools serving informal settlements and rural areas (Sachs 107). Such initiatives should also include expanding access to education to adults who left school before finishing high school.
For the well-being of a nation, good health is even more important than education. Comprehensive healthcare is critical in the struggle against poverty to ensure that children grow up healthy, maintain quality of life, and ensure adults work and meet the needs of their families. Unaffordable healthcare can lead a marginal family to plunge into crisis during illness. Quality healthcare is also essential in making use of the opportunities offered by education. A well-developed system of primary healthcare is essential to eradicate diseases that affect millions of people in less developed countries. Such programs offered by the government should aim to prevent diseases through vaccination programs, health monitoring, particularly for women and children, and ensuring access to health information on such topic as personal hygiene and nutrition.
Despite the efforts by the government to introduce policies aimed at reducing poverty, the menace has remained a problem as always. Many people are able to meet their basic needs, but they have become heavily dependent on the government for the necessary resources for life. Many people still lack employment and governments including the United States have introduced public assistance programs such as Medicare, federal unemployment insurance, and federal welfare programs (Tanner 1). While Social Security is not a social program because it requires people to contribute, it does provide financial assistance to retirees and people unable to work. Many governments have also introduced economic development programs that help finance the poor and minorities and address imbalances created by job discrimination in the past (Doorman 42). Generally, the United States provides its citizens with a lower level of government support for human services and health than most developed European countries. Sources show that this is true for the services that benefit the poor as well as the middle class. Most European countries insure, provide, or mandate higher levels of childcare, health care, job security, and employment benefits. Additionally, they also charge heavy taxes on their citizens, particularly the rich to finance these programs.
Poverty undermines quality of life of every person in an economy, not only the poor. Poverty culminates into drug abuse, crime, broken families, illiteracy, illness, and more poverty. Having noticed the negative consequences of poverty, governments are trying to stop poverty by finding solutions to help abate the problem. Such solutions include providing healthcare, giving an education to children, and finding jobs for the poor. Governments around the world have also showed dedication and progress in stopping poverty. This include introduction of programs and policies such as Medicare in the United States. However, governments are undergoing costs in fighting poverty that may go beyond the suffering of the poor.
Doorman, Frans. The Global Development, Problems, Solutions, Strategy: A Proposal for Socially Just, Ecologically Sustainable Growth. Michigan: International Books, 1998. Print.
Gorman, Tom. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics. New York City: Alpha, 2003. Print.
MacLachlan, Amy, and Connie Purvis. "Eradicating Poverty." The Presbyterian Record 2009: 12-3. ProQuest. Web. 2 June 2013.
Sachs, Jeffrey. The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. Westminster: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated, 2006. Print.
Tanner, Michael D. More Proof We Can’t Stop Poverty By Making It More Comfortable. CATO Institute, September 17, 2010. Web. 2 June 2013.