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Assess the view that 'Poverty is caused by social inequalities that are built into the structure of society'.

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Introduction

Assess the view that 'Poverty is caused by social inequalities that are built into the structure of society'. 20marks Poverty can be defined differently, those of contradictory opinions on poverty will probably also have dissimilar opinions on the causes of poverty and the measurement of poverty. For example Marxists and Feminists have ideologies based on conflict. Marxists believe that there is a class struggle, and that the exploitation created by capitalism creates poverty. Feminists believe that Patriarchy builds in social inequalities and their ideologies are demonstrated by the inequalities in salary between women and men. There is also research proving that there are more women than men in poverty, and 93% of lone parents in poverty are women. However conflicting arguments are held by the New Right. Their supporters include Margaret Thatcher, Charles Murray and David Marsland and their ideology is based on the individual, and not society as a whole. The New Right believes that it is through the individuals' laziness that poverty is caused. Those that agree with the view that poverty is caused by the social inequalities that are built into society are Marxists, Feminists and Social Democrats. ...read more.

Middle

Feminists will also argue that the benefit system has assumed that women are dependent upon men and this means the welfare state functions to maintain patriarchy. The cycle of poverty supports the view that poverty is caused by the social inequalities that are built into the structure of society. This view is that when a person is born into a poor family, their chances in life of furthering themselves in society are significantly reduced. This is the process in which poverty is transmitted from one generation to another. Michael Rutter and Nicola Madge acknowledge that some of the disadvantages that are associated with the poor like underachievement at school are linked with children of low income families being "labelled" as a problem. The social democratic approach accepts this cycle of poverty and the relative definition of poverty. Their ideology is that those at the bottom of the social classes are in disadvantaged groups whose poverty resulting in social exclusion. Research carried out by Peter Townsend and Frank Field found that there are main groups in the underclass, including the elderly, retired, lone parents and the long term unemployed who are forced to rely on inadequate state benefits, which are too low. ...read more.

Conclusion

Those theories that agree that poverty is caused by the social inequalities that are built into the structure of society have strong arguments when they refer to the institutions in society, for example Feminists blame the social inequalities that are evident in so many of the institutions that make up the superstructure of society, this is proved to be true by statistics and opposing views cannot deny these inequalities. However those that blame the individual for there inability to escape the poverty trap are also backed by research and there are examples in everyday life of individuals in poverty that do not suffer social inequalities. I agree more with those that agree that there are social inequalities built into society, but I do not believe that they are the sole cause of all poverty, for example lone parents in poverty are mostly women, and these women are paid fewer benefits because they are assumed to have a male breadwinner in the family who supports them. However I also believe that some poor people are living off benefits because they choose to rather than being forced to. Emma Bramley 12LP ...read more.

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