The perception of poverty in America critically contributes to the deepening the social divide between the elite and the impoverished. In the past, the focus has been on how the individual encourages patterns of poverty without representing the country’s societal failings. It’s essential to analyze the history of political and economic frameworks to understand how impoverishment occurs. American attitudes and perspectives on poverty do not reflect the challenges that plague the ordinary citizen and require a structural overhaul to address these challenges adequately.
Food, shelter, and living conditions create the context of social poverty in modern America. Poverty in society is characterized in the loss of labor, which directly impacts the ability of American families to feed themselves. Previous analyses conducted by DuBois, Charles Booth, and Seebohm Rowntree attributed poverty to poor working conditions and low wages. The latter part of the 20th century introduced a decided shift that deviated from blaming the economy and its breakdown on the deficiencies of the human character. Corporations invested in providing more benefits for their workers to motivate higher profits.
Government policies such as the creation of welfare are met with resistance, especially from welfare mothers. Those who depend on government subsidies do not trust the policies that are created will benefit them. Additionally, society views them as lazy, which is a contradiction due to the ability of welfare mother’s to balance jobs, family support, and money to live in the community affordably. The poverty threshold compares a family’s resources with a widely acceptable dollars value. A family is a basic unit of measuring success in society and experiences more success if both partners work full-time to provide resources.
Conflict theory accurately describes poverty in a competitive and ever growing community. From a theoretical perspective, class structure gained credence in the 1960’s mainly due to competing values in the varying groups within America. It stems from a capitalistic point of view and is evidence of an overly negative view. Nevertheless, social conflict is easily created primarily because of the racial or gender inequalities that define America. The difference in society, such as gender, race, religion and sexual orientation, form an imbalance where each group is interested in executing their values or practices.
In conclusion, poverty is not an individual’s fault but rather a direct result of social, economic and political circumstances. The family is the most effective way of measuring societal performance and in the past century, it has gradually deteriorated in America. The lens of conflict theory best explains the divide between the elite and impoverished. Each group champions it’s values in an effective way possible to achieve stability in a society sided among race, sex, religion and gender. Families must ensure the provision of resources such as food, shelter and basic requirements of education to their offspring. A combined effort of effective social and economic policy and concerted individual efforts will minimize poverty in America.