The idea of eradicating poverty has been haunting people since the dawn of civilization. Certainly, at some points in history, certain social categories switched positions, and those that had been at the helm became the lowest of the low; however, the very phenomenon of poverty persisted. Despite the attempts of modern economists to reconsider the financial options for the poor, the latter will always exist unless the very structure of economy is replaced with an entirely new principle of distributive justice.
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With all due respect to the endeavors of humanists in resolving the issue of poverty, one must admit that tackling the issue on a global scale is hardly possible. More to the point, the very idea of eradicating the phenomenon of poverty seems hardly realistic. Since the factors that induce poverty depend not only on economic and financial factors, but also on political, cultural and even personal, the issues to be addressed are hardly embraceable. One could make a very slim argument, though, that the problem of poverty should be dealt with on a statewide or even a citywide level instead of a global one to make the process plausible.
However, at the given point, one must ask a question regarding the effects of the measures that will supposedly be undertaken. As Paul McHenry explains, as long as the so-called “high class,” i.e., the people possessing large amounts of money, exists, there will be no opportunity to eliminate poverty, since there will always be the lack of finances for a particular social group: “Indeed, it is impossible to eradicate poverty with the left-overs from those who are better off” (McHenry, 2012, p. 190).
One could make a very slim argument that, with a more careful distribution of finances, there is a chance for turning the population classified as “poor” and “extremely poor” into the people that can afford a basic minimum of bare necessities. Though doubtlessly noble, the given suggestion is not quite applicable to the present-day society, though, mostly because the very phenomenon of poverty is often triggered by the imperfect structure of the society.
The question regarding the possibility of eliminating extreme poverty, however, remains open. According to a number of researches, there are means to provide people with enough resources or, at the very least, with the means to survive. Needless to say, the idea of distributing money equally among every citizen seems absurd, seeing how it presupposes that the entire economic and cultural basis of the society must be reinvented completely. Still, providing those less fortunate with an additional chance for earning for their living and paying the bills is quite possible. As the study conducted by Watt shows, “while the target of eradicating extreme poverty is ambitious, it is far from impossible” (Watt, 2000, p. 11).
Still, it must be acknowledged that economically, the idea of eliminating the chances for people to become poor is unattainable. While it seems legitimate that poor people should be provided with a chance to become financially successful, the threat of losing money and becoming poor will always be there at least because of a human factor and people’s aptitude to make bad choices that affect their career and financial status. No matter how hard the humankind might try, unless the existing economic structure is replaced with an alternative, there will always be the poor, the rich and the middle class.
McHenry, P. (2012). Poverty, progress, and development. New York, NY: Routledge.
Watt, P. (2000). Social investment and economic growth: A strategy to eradicate poverty. Herndon, VA: Oxfam GB.