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Assess different explanations for the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom

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Assess different explanations for the causes of poverty in the United Kingdom Relative poverty is when you are poor in relation to the rest of you society as you can't afford to meet the standard of living, therefore you can't afford the 'basics' or the 'norms' of our society The existence of poverty can be put down to numerous reasons, however they are usually split into two categories: structural or individualistic views. Both have positive and negative aspects to explaining how poverty is caused. Marxists generally agree with the structural view of poverty and New Right agree with the individualistic blaming view. Structural or ' system blaming views' are based upon the idea that poverty occurs as a result of the way our society operates and the poor are unable to achieve a reasonable standard of living as they are exploited by the Capitalist system, this is a view that Marxists would agree with. They believe that poverty is built in to the Capitalist system and it is a way of life because it creates jobs and therefore why would they get rid of it. Poverty emerges in three ways; the bourgeoisie or ruling class create a deliberate low wage for people so that they can make a profit in order to produce wealth. ...read more.


However, I don't think the state are to blame for putting them in this position. Although it could be argued that they state are too blame as all these major businesses are closing down due to the recession which means more and more people are becoming unemployed, which results in people having to live off benefits because they aren't providing these jobs that are needed. Individualists or 'victim blaming views' are seen as another reason for how poverty is caused. They are based upon the idea that poverty occurs because of the actions of the people who are in poverty, which may be down to their culture or personal deficiency, this view is normally agreed by New Right thinkers. These people are known as 'scroungers', as they are seen as too lazy to go out and work because it is just as easy to rely on the welfare state's benefit system instead of getting a job. This idea agrees with Marsland's theory of the independent individual. He believed the individuals weren't willing to work, as the welfare state benefits are excessively generous and therefore there would be no point in working when they can earn more off the state then if they were to have a job. ...read more.


Individualistic theories and structural theories both have an impact on saying how poverty is caused and both have valid reasons for this. Individualistic theories are valid in that they look at the individuals in society and therefore they are looking at what factors are causing poverty, whereas structural theories look at society as a whole and they don't pick out the individual factors, which I feel puts a negative against it. As when looking at such a big problem it would seem more reasonable to view the individuals to see what is going wrong, rather than saying this happens in one area therefore everyone is like this. For that reason I am more towards the idea that poverty is caused by the individuals in some sense, as it is fair to say there are scroungers who rely on our exceedingly generous welfare system. However, the Capitalist system are also to blame as they are providing these benefits for these people to live off, and it should be thought about more carefully as to who it goes to and who really needs it. As the country does have a minimum wage and therefore if people are choosing to live off benefits rather than working, subsequently they should consider in thinking is this amount enough to be able to achieve a decent standard of living. Alicia Lloyd-Jones ...read more.

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