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Inequality and Poverty Relationship Research Paper


The link between inequality and poverty has long been neglected. However, there are many arguments proving that handling the problem of inequality can help in overcoming the issue of poverty. What should be kept in mind is the fact that not only inequality in access to wealth distribution matters when speaking of the effect it has on poverty but also on power and education services. This paper aims at drawing the connection between inequality and poverty and finding possible solutions to both challenges.


To begin with, it is necessary to define the concepts of poverty and inequality. Poverty is the lack of financial resources that results in an individual’s inability to live a decent life. It is very often determined by a relation to a particular numerical figure, i.e. establishing the acceptable level of income, to make it easier to define what is meant under decent living and analyze the poverty rate in a country or region (Jonsson, Mood & Bihagen 2013). As of inequality, it is the difference in access to income, power, education, and whatever (Conerly 2014).

There are two possible ways of linking inequality to poverty – direct and indirect. The direct connection between inequality and poverty centers on the difference in access to wealth distribution. The simplest way to trace it is to view employment conditions and the level of salaries. This issue was brought up and became acute because of the tendency towards globalization of international economic relations, liberalization of trade, and technological revolution that requires higher skills and more knowledge for finding well-paid jobs (Yasmeen, Begum & Mujtaba 2011). The consequences of these developments are evident: if an individual does not correspond with the modern requirements, he or she is excluded from the wealth distribution system. Another aggravating factor is the openness of the global economic system and the operation of multinational corporations. It became easier to run a company in a country with sufficient resources but involve foreign workers who have the necessary skills instead of local. It as well leads to the exclusion mentioned above and the increase in poverty rates.

The indirect effect of inequality on poverty can be investigated in two dimensions – access to power and educational services. In the first case, accessibility of authority or power is seen as the source of making decisions advantaging one group of the population, and disadvantaging another. It means that some social groups cannot influence the local authorities that are free to develop the policies benefiting them. Think, for example, of the caste stratification in India or establishing employment equity targets in South Africa (Mosse 2010; Department of Labour of Republic of South Africa 2015). These systems are created to justify discrimination that, as a result, leads to the impossibility to promote changes in society and combat inequality and poverty.

Another channel of interaction is inequality in access to educational services. It gains momentum in the long run because those who have lower educational backgrounds have fewer chances of occupying well-paid positions and, as the result, it adds to the problem of poverty (Tarabini & Jacovkis 2012). What is significant here is the fact that children from poor families do not have an opportunity to obtain an education because, for example, the state does not guarantee free schooling for its citizens. So, they are forced to work since childhood and, in most cases, are destined to living in need because of their illiteracy. It results in the establishment of some vicious cycle of poverty in society.

Nevertheless, there are some possible solutions to the problems of inequality and poverty. First of all, it is necessary to promote structural changes in the economy. That said if a country, for example, has fertile soil and a prolific climate, it is recommended to boost the development of agriculture. It would create workplaces, attract foreign investments, increase the level of production, enhance economic growth, and, as a result, decrease the level of poverty. If a country is rich in natural recourses, it is vital to develop industries (Alhaji, Rusmavati & Shaufique 2013). What is significant in this case is finding the strengths of a country’s economy and maximizing its benefits.

The second potential solution to both problems is to correct political imbalances. This step will help in setting up an environment of equality and uniformity where every member of society would have equal access to power and influence on ruling authorities (Grant & Dutta-Gupta 2015). Moreover, it is crucial to overcome the issue of racial segregation within managing political imperfections (Powell 2014). Finally, it is necessary to increase investment in the educational system and access to educational services (Boteach & Vallas 2015). It was shown that there is a robust connection between the level of education and poverty. That is why it is vital to guarantee that every child has an opportunity to attend school and obtain a minimally acceptable theoretical and practical background.


In conclusion, it can be said that the link existing between poverty and inequality is significant. However, these challenges can be overcome by implementing reforms aimed at boosting the economic and social development of a country’s citizens.


Alhaji, B M, Rusmavati, S & Shaufique, F S 2015, ‘Urban poverty, inequality and industry in Nigeria,’ International Journal of Development Issues, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 249-263.

Boteach, M & Vallas, R 2015, , Web.

Conerly, B 2014, Forbes, Web.

Department of Labour of Republic of South Africa 2015, Commission for Employment Equity annual report 2014-2015, Web.

Grant, K & Dutta-Gupta, I 2015, , Web.

Jonsson, J O, Mood, C & Bihagen, E 2013, ‘Income inequality and poverty during economic recession and growth: Sweden 1997-2007,’ AIAS, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Mosse, D 2010, ‘A relational approach to durable poverty, inequality and power,’ Journal of Development Studies, vol. 46, no. 7, pp. 1156-1178.

Powell, J A 2014, Six policies to reduce economic inequality, Web.

Tarabini, A & Jacovkis, J 2012, ‘The poverty reduction strategy papers: an analysis of hegemonic link between education and poverty,’ International Journal of Educational Development, vol. 32, no. 4, pp. 507-516.

Yasmeen, G, Begum, R, & Mujtaba, B G 2011, ‘Human development challenges and opportunities in Pakistan: defying income inequality and poverty,’ Journal of business Studies Quarterly, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 1-12.

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