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Contemporary Political Culture Essay


Poverty comes as a result of oppression of individuals in society. Oppression on the other hand cannot perpetrate its self without the constructive or deductive participation by the oppressed. The social setups in society have segregated and branded individuals as poor for lack of common societal indicators of not being poor.

This inadequacy is not in the simplest sense relevant when it comes to intelligence and brilliance. In fact the most intelligent and brilliant persons hail from poor setups. Therefore, I dare say that poverty is not a condition but rather an attitude.

I propose that poverty is a brand name that is contracted by social stratification and class. A social class is a societal group of people who perceive themselves as being of similar ideology thinking and condition of life. In effect, poverty is an attitude of a class of people. You may be poor but smart. The level of poverty is in no way a measure of one’s intelligence. I shall interrogate the connection between attitude intelligence and poverty.


The philosophical question of the century has been whether the state should wage a war against poverty or to formulate programs to end poverty. Both arguments have similar objectives of facing pout the menace of poverty. The liberalists have taken the literal meaning of waging war against poverty and gone ahead to wage war against the poor. These attempts have had opposite results in the form of riots and protests that have been accompanied by looting and damage to property.

It begins with the dramatic and gradual economic shifts in the local and world fora, which culminates in unemployment and high costs of living. Concentration of wealth among the middle and upper classes makes it hard for the lower poor class to access security in jobs housing and food. Gradually the persons find it hard to escape the poverty. Despite the willingness of the poor to move away and work their way out of it, the prevailing political and social environment makes the war against the poor inevitable (Lynch and William, pp. 502-503).

For instance if education becomes stratified and yet it is the main system that the poor use to access the path away from poverty then the poor have little choice. Back in the 19th century, the mass education program placed a level beam on which people from all walks of life would balance their way through to the other end against poverty.

This has since changed since the basis of financing these schools has been purely the local taxes collected from the individuals. Therefore, it is obvious that the more affluent towns pay more taxes and therefore attract better learning facilities slowly and gradually locking out the poor and less financially able students from accessing these institutions.

Ivy League universities are slowly replaced by classy universities such as Harvard where a child needs up to $150000 with a few receiving scholarships .even worse, the changing economic conditions have slowly and gradually driven the state colleges to increase their fees. This was the safety net for the children of less wealthy parents (Babb Pp 233-312) .

It is not hard to imply that the child from a wealthy family has a better chance at graduation than one from the less wealthy family. Moving up the ladder, the child from the wealthy family has a better chance at getting a good job as well as good prospects. The point here is that the difference between the rich and poor is not only based on wealth and income, it is a representation of inequality in opportunities.

This inequality moves in on to the social realm with people of certain educational qualifications tending to mingle and/ or marry from those with similar or higher educational qualifications. The age at which the educated bear children is also different with majority having their first child at 30 years.

The bottom end of the story has a different twist. Due to the limited opportunities or lack of access to them, the women at the bottom of the heap tend to marry or bear children earlier. It is not surprising that most of these children are born out of wedlock. The road to upward mobility is one, education, and yet it grows narrower by the day. The days of utilitarian ideology have been trounced by the whims of capitalism and the harmony and concept of socialism left to the churches and charitable institutions.

Income is at the heart of the debate between poverty and wealth. The level of balance in income was fairly balanced right after the war. This was not to survive long since within only a quarter of a century there has been a dramatic shift in the balance in favor of the well of minority. Their incomes doubled and their proportion of the national income rose to a third of the annual total income. This state of affairs continues to worsen with the few wealthy persons accumulating wealth at the expense of the poor.

This could be attributed to the change in obligation and roles across the century. At the beginning, the minority wealthy persons worked lesser hours as compared to those at the bottom of the heap. Today the tide has turned and the top few work more hours than the lower majority.

This tends to justify their massive wealth and control. This line of thought leads to the rod of attitude. The majority of individuals in America for instance believe that it is possible to start out poor and move upwards . This however depends on how balanced the opportunities available are.

Therefore, in a balanced society with equal access to opportunities, then poverty is an attitude. This is to suggest that there is a difference between living in poverty and being poor. This difference lies in the will, personality and attitude in the individual(Banerjee & Duflo, pp 319- 475).

The mobility of persons between the classes borrows heavily from the level of equality in the society. The established class system has brought forward several defenses for the continued quest to increase the gap. The first is the separation of poverty from moral failure. As it is the moral corruption and pollution is common among peoples of all classes.

The level in the upper class however is more skimmed and covered and does not receive allot of criticism and publicity. It is allowed that he boss can drink and sleep on his desk but not the poor worker who only has a gutter to himself. The middle class on the other hand slip through unnoticed and remain untouched until they incur or cause great damage.

The state of undeservingness results from poverty. The lack of fit between individuals in society is not a willed eventuality but rather a consequence of poverty. Stratification of class related to poverty in both value and sense.

Unmarried middle class mothers fail to marry the fathers of their children due to the obvious consequences of financial and social undeservingness. A more conservative stand emphasizes the responsibilities of the poor leaving aside the responsibilities of the rich. The poor o their end find no obligation to be responsible to society until society treats them responsibly.

Class stereotyping forms a class under the undeserving poor whose everyday labeling turns into a form of discrimination and self-fulfilling prophesies. It is common among children from single parents who suffer the lack of parenthood and end up confronting everyday life from a partisan stand. They suffer the discrimination for their lack of mentoring, one which they had no choice but to bear with.


Blaming the poor for their sate does nothing to deter poverty related neither character nor poverty in its self. Waging a war against the poor only agitates them to look for alternative escape route to survival. It explains why most of the news on poverty is influenced by crime. The true objective of the reporting of the poverty situation loses its momentum and becomes a blame game. The general population now feels threatened by the poor all because of the relationship that has been established between them and crime.

It is common ground among social scientists philosophers and societal enthusiasts that the circle of poverty is motivated by inequality in opportunities. The more imbalanced the access to opportunity is the greater the magnitude of poverty. On the other hand, in a society of equal opportunity, the focus of poverty migrates to individual attitude alongside class stratification.


Babb, Sarah. Behind the Development Banks: Washington Politics, World Poverty, and the Wealth of Nations. University of Chicago Press. (2009): Pp 233-312

Banerjee, Abhijit & Esther, Duflo . Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty .New York: Public Affairs, (2011): pp 319- 475

Lynch, Kennedy and William, Kennedy .Writing in the Disciplines New York & London: Pearson Prentice Hall. (2008): pp. 502-503

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