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Poverty Is A State Of Mind Essay

Poverty still occurs across the modern world which we live in nowadays. While the majority of people would relate the word poverty with less developed countries the truth is that poverty is to be found everywhere you look. Yet the term, poverty, is brought up to discussion. Because would you consider yourself poor even though you didn’t know the better scenario existed? And isn’t it sometimes enough just to have a bed to sleep in, food to eat and people around who love you? Some might say that whether or not you consider yourself poor are simply up to your mindset. Because sometimes just being grateful for what you have and not trying to search for the unattainable are more than enough. Having all the riches in the world is not necessarily the key to happiness and …show more content…

”You can take the boy out of poverty , but you can never take poverty out of the boy.”(ll.163-164). Hare uses a metaphor which makes poverty seem like a human trait. Using this metaphor clarifies the point that even if you manage to get out from a certain context, usually to a “higher” social position, some qualities will always remain in you. This trope does at the same time change the figure of speech as the noun poverty is used as a way to describe a person after the comma in the quote, and in that way it makes the word poverty seem more like an adjective. By making this metaphor and at the same time using poverty in different contexts, Hare raises the question, whether or not it is possible to escape from poverty or will the environment which you grew up in always leave traces. The reader clearly understands his point and Hare has created a foundation for further reflection upon the

Homelessness In The Glass Castle By Jeanette Walls

I believe it also means lacking the ability to live comfortably or having pretty much nothing to make it day by day. Some people in the U.S. say they are poor, but have a house, car and all of their bills are paid. They may not have any extra money to spend, but they are richer than they think compared to some people who don’t have that life at all. The difference with Jeanette and her family is that their parents chose to live this lifestyle. It may seem pretty selfish of the parents being they have young children and didn’t think twice about a steady upbringing.

Analysis Of Steinberg's The Ethnic Myth

On page 107, Oscar Lewis mentions how the culture-of-poverty is one which arises from existing situations and becomes a “design for living”.

Poverty In Canadian Youth Thesis

Poverty is a social problem that affects a significant amount of individuals across all cultures. However, the youth growing up in these conditions are becoming susceptible to falling into deviance provided by their peers. Young individuals born into poverty have little opportunities to advance because they unfortunately didn 't win the genetic lottery of being higher class citizens. In the song “Institutionalized” by Kendrick Lamar (Kendrick 2015), suggests that poverty has become an institution where individuals are held hostage to their social class for being born into poverty. Kendrick uses the phrase “master take the chains off me” (Kendrick 2015 line 15) to emphasize the strength of poverty and how it is so closely related to slavery.

The Poverty Cycle In The Glass Castle By Jeannette Walls

The poverty cycle affects many American families, it is the phenomenon in which poor families are poverty-stricken for at least three generations. In Jeannette Walls’ memoir, The Glass Castle, Jeannette and her siblings break that cycle. It is a story of triumph over adversity as Jeannette did not let the label of “poor” create an obstacle in her path. It did not come easy, as her parents obscured her view of what life out of poverty could look like. Although the weight of poverty strayed her relationship with her parents, it was all she knew, due to hard work and determination she defied the odds stacked against her and broke loose.

It Is Expensive To Be Poor By Barbara Ehrenreich Essay

The Truth About Poverty “Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit” this quote was said by Mahatma Gandhi and it relates so well with this article “It is Expensive To Be Poor”, answer the question yourself, Is it expensive to be poor? This article is titled like that to get the audience's attention early and have them thinking ahead of reading. The author Barbara Ehrenreich is building a pre thought when she does this which helps support her claim. “It is Expensive To Be Poor” by Barbara Ehrenreich is an article posted on “The atlantic” “which is where you can find your current news and analysis on politics, business, culture, and technology”. Knowing what “The Atlantic” offers for readers this gives Ehrenreich a detailed look at who she is writing to.

Bell Hooks Seeing And Making Culture Representing The Poor Summary

People in poverty are generally portrayed as worthless and this is because culture today illustrates a man’s worth from how materially successful they are. Hooks explains how this kind of representation of the poor can mentally and emotionally handicap and entire society of people in poverty. She goes into an example of how a

Examples Of Poverty In Frankenstein

Much has been said about poverty over the years. The consistency of poverty in history and its repercussions is disconcerting. The lack of appropriate education can be considered to be the foundation of poverty which often times corresponds with the rise of criminal activity. It is recognized as an insatiable quandary. However, the way that Mary Shelley incorporates poverty into Frankenstein is unheard of and infrequently thought of.

Nickel And Dimed Rhetorical Strategies

Jack Nguyen AP English 3 30, July 2015 Nickel and Dimed Rhetorical Strategies and Notes Thesis: Ehrenreich’s personal use of varied rhetorical strategies allowed her to divulge the working conditions and struggles of the poverty-stricken class to the readers in order to provoke them to realize that something has to be done about poverty.. First Body: What: Allusion Pg. 2, Logos Pg. 37. How & Effect: Ehrenreich uses these personal, rhetorical strategies based on her experiences as a low-wage worker in the poor working class. The effect is that Ehrenreich is able to show the readers the conditions in which the impoverished work in and the daily obstacles that they face in life; also there is an appeal to logic and a reference of a poverty idiom. Why: Ehrenreich is deliberately using these rhetorical strategies to incite the readers about the fact that changes need to be done to poverty because it is a detrimental thing to society.

Intolerance Of Poverty In Gary Soto's The Jacket

One example of this is when Gary takes off the coat, because he would rather be cold than look poor and be made fun of. “Even though it was cold, I took off the jacket during lunch and played kickball in a thin shirt, my arms feeling like braille from goose bumps,” (Soto 5). The fact that Gary preferred to freeze shows just how strong his resentment towards his own poverty really is. Things do not improve for Gary as time goes on. His classmates start to avoid him, rather than be associated with his poverty.

Rhetorical Analysis Of What Is Poverty Jo Goodwin Parker

The author wants the reader to continously think about what poverty means to her, such as “Poverty is being tired” in paragraph 3, “Poverty is dirt” in paragraph 4, and “Poverty is looking into a black future.” in paragraph 10. This reminds the audience that not everyone suffers from poverty in the same way. For the author, poverty is having to take care of family when all the odds are against you, and this is what gives the reader a perfect understanding of it. As stated in the passage, “Listen to me.

Examples Of Poverty In 1984

1984 Synthesis Essay Poverty negatively influences how the minds of people work in the world. The fact that poverty exists itself, obstructs people from changing their circumstances in what is known as “the cycle of poverty.” The lower class is incredibly disadvantaged in that it lacks the necessary social and economic resources needed to increase chances of social mobility. In return, the absence of these resources may increase poverty. Therefore, the lower class is unable to change its situation because the majority believes that any efforts to climb the social ladder is highly inefficient.

Poverty In Chris Gardner's The Pursuit Of Happyness

Why are people still poor to this day? That is a very broad question but we do know that poverty is still a crucial problem to achieving overall world happiness even in 2018. Poverty has been around for millennia but it 's even more of a problem now in 2018. This is because it is becoming more extreme. For example, in Afghanistan 36% of the population, lives in absolute, extreme poverty and 37% lives just above the determined poverty line.

What Is Poverty In America Essay

Poverty in America is a difficult topic to speak on; everyone has their own views and experiences on poverty. Certain social trends have impacted the society such as Family Dynamics; The way families are now are a lot different than families of the 1950’s-1960’s, In many cases both adult members of the family are working instead of the traditional husband working to support the family. Even with both members working full time it is still hard to support an average family due to working class wages not adjusting to inflation. Poverty has been increasing at a dramatic rate and the government is supporting more and more people with perverse incentives.

Essay On Poverty And Crime

Poverty is defined as the state of being unable to fulfill basic needs of human beings. Poverty is the lack of resources leading to physical deprivation. Poor people are unable to fulfill basic survival needs such as food, clothing, shelter. These are the needs of lowest order and assume top priority. Poor people are unknown of their lack of voice, power, and rights, which leads them to exploitation.

Poor Countries Essay

Why are there poor countries? According to “The School of Life” there are 196 countries in the world and 25 of these countries are very rich, which means that the average wealth per person is over $100,000 a year. These countries are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, and USA. Also there are the 20 poorest countries in the world which are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Burundi, Mozambique, Chad, Liberia, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Central African Republic, Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau Mali, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Malawi, Cote D’ivoire, Sudan and Gambia.

More about Poverty Is A State Of Mind Essay

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  • Poverty in the United States
  • Poverty threshold
  • Cycle of poverty
  • United States

Why poverty is not a personal choice, but a reflection of society

poverty is a state of mind essay

Research Investigator of Psychiatry, Public Health, and Poverty Solutions, University of Michigan

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poverty is a state of mind essay

As the Senate prepares to modify its version of the health care bill, now is a good time to back up and examine why we as a nation are so divided about providing health care, especially to the poor.

I believe one reason the United States is cutting spending on health insurance and safety nets that protect poor and marginalized people is because of American culture, which overemphasizes individual responsibility. Our culture does this to the point that it ignores the effect of root causes shaped by society and beyond the control of the individual. How laypeople define and attribute poverty may not be that much different from the way U.S. policymakers in the Senate see poverty.

As someone who studies poverty solutions and social and health inequalities, I am convinced by the academic literature that the biggest reason for poverty is how a society is structured. Without structural changes, it may be very difficult if not impossible to eliminate disparities and poverty.

Social structure

About 13.5 percent of Americans are living in poverty. Many of these people do not have insurance, and efforts to help them gain insurance, be it through Medicaid or private insurance, have been stymied. Medicaid provides insurance for the disabled, people in nursing homes and the poor.

Four states recently asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for permission to require Medicaid recipients in their states who are not disabled or elderly to work.

This request is reflective of the fact that many Americans believe that poverty is, by and large, the result of laziness , immorality and irresponsibility.

In fact, poverty and other social miseries are in large part due to social structure , which is how society functions at a macro level. Some societal issues, such as racism, sexism and segregation, constantly cause disparities in education, employment and income for marginalized groups. The majority group naturally has a head start, relative to groups that deal with a wide range of societal barriers on a daily basis. This is what I mean by structural causes of poverty and inequality.

Poverty: Not just a state of mind

We have all heard that the poor and minorities need only make better choices – work hard, stay in school, get married, do not have children before they can afford them. If they did all this, they wouldn’t be poor.

Just a few weeks ago, Housing Secretary Ben Carson called poverty “ a state of mind .” At the same time, his budget to help low-income households could be cut by more than US$6 billion next year.

This is an example of a simplistic view toward the complex social phenomenon. It is minimizing the impact of a societal issue caused by structure – macro‐level labor market and societal conditions – on individuals’ behavior. Such claims also ignore a large body of sociological science.

American independence

poverty is a state of mind essay

Americans have one of the most independent cultures on Earth. A majority of Americans define people in terms of internal attributes such as choices , abilities, values, preferences, decisions and traits.

This is very different from interdependent cultures , such as eastern Asian countries where people are seen mainly in terms of their environment, context and relationships with others.

A direct consequence of independent mindsets and cognitive models is that one may ignore all the historical and environmental conditions, such as slavery, segregation and discrimination against women, that contribute to certain outcomes. When we ignore the historical context, it is easier to instead attribute an unfavorable outcome, such as poverty, to the person.

Views shaped by politics

Many Americans view poverty as an individual phenomenon and say that it’s primarily their own fault that people are poor. The alternative view is that poverty is a structural phenomenon. From this viewpoint, people are in poverty because they find themselves in holes in the economic system that deliver them inadequate income.

The fact is that people move in and out of poverty. Research has shown that 45 percent of poverty spells last no more than a year, 70 percent last no more than three years and only 12 percent stretch beyond a decade.

The Panel Study of Income Dynamics ( PSID ), a 50-year longitudinal study of 18,000 Americans, has shown that around four in 10 adults experience an entire year of poverty from the ages of 25 to 60. The last Survey of Income and Program Participation ( SIPP ), a longitudinal survey conducted by the U.S. Census, had about one-third of Americans in episodic poverty at some point in a three-year period, but just 3.5 percent in episodic poverty for all three years.

Why calling the poor ‘lazy’ is victim blaming

If one believes that poverty is related to historical and environmental events and not just to an individual, we should be careful about blaming the poor for their fates.

Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially responsible for the harm that befell them. It is a common psychological and societal phenomenon. Victimology has shown that humans have a tendency to perceive victims at least partially responsible . This is true even in rape cases, where there is a considerable tendency to blame victims and is true particularly if the victim and perpetrator know each other.

I believe all our lives could be improved if we considered the structural influences as root causes of social problems such as poverty and inequality. Perhaps then, we could more easily agree on solutions.

  • Social mobility
  • Homelessness
  • Health disparities
  • Health gaps
  • US Senate health care bill
  • US health care reform

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APS

How Poverty Affects the Brain and Behavior

  • Cognitive Development
  • Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Immigration
  • Socioeconomic Status

Poverty holds a seemingly unbreakable grip on families, neighborhoods, cities, and entire countries. It stretches from one generation to the next, trapping individuals in a socioeconomic pit that is nearly impossible to ascend. Part of the fuel for poverty’s unending cycle is its suppressing effects on individuals’ cognitive development, executive functioning, and attention, as four scientists demonstrated during the inaugural International Convention of Psychological Science, held March 12–14 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In an Integrative Science Symposium on cognition, behavior, and development in socioeconomic contexts, the researchers shared findings on the psychological effects of living with scarce resources and low socioeconomic status (SES) versus abundance and security. But speakers also emphasized that evidence on causes and effects of poverty already is sufficient to inform policies designed to alleviate economic disparities.

“We know a lot,” said psychological scientist Cynthia García Coll, a child development researcher who is provost at Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “There’s a moral issue here. How much more do we have to talk about the fact that poverty is not good for human beings?”

The bulk of the symposium centered on the effects that money, in scarcity and often even in abundance, can have on the mind. And researchers opined that studies at the crossroads of psychology and economics exemplify true integrative science.

“If we keep this interaction between child development scientists, economists, neuroscientists, [and] cognitive scientists going,” said APS William James Fellow Martha J. Farah, “I think it’s very likely that we will develop a better grasp of how poverty impacts brain development and people’s life chances and what kind of intervention tools might be effective.”

Brain Development

Indeed, decades of research have already documented that people who deal with stressors such as low family income, discrimination, limited access to health care, exposure to crime, and other conditions of low SES are highly susceptible to physical and mental disorders, low educational attainment, and low IQ scores, noted Farah, a University of Pennsylvania professor. But studying the effects of childhood poverty on brain development, Farah has investigated whether growing up in disadvantaged environments depresses cognitive processes equally or whether certain abilities are more compromised than others. She and her colleagues have found that memory is particularly vulnerable to life in low SES settings. And one of the specific factors impacting memory is parents’ ability to be responsive and supportive under the stressful circumstances of poverty.

In her lab, Farah and her colleagues examined data from a developmental study that had been tracking a cohort of children for more than 20 years. When the children were age 4 and age 8, research assistants made home visits to record various details about their upbringings. They looked, for example, at cognitive stimulation in the home, such as the presence of books or educational toys. They interviewed mothers and caregivers and observed their interactions with their children. They paid particular attention to how much warmth and care each child received from a mother or caregiver.

Farah’s team then examined results of cognitive tests given to the children when they were in middle school, and found that large amounts of cognitive stimulation at earlier ages enhanced the children’s language development. They also found that high levels of parental nurturing at ages 4 and 8 promoted better memory performance by middle school.

Farah cited more recent research showing a link between SES and hippocampal volume — an indicator of memory performance. A 2012 interdisciplinary study led by Columbia University cognitive neuroscientist Kimberly Noble, for example, identified smaller hippocampal volume among low SES children and adolescents compared with their high SES peers.

A major implication of the cognitive neuroscience research on development, Farah said, is that it challenges the widely held notion that the poor have only themselves to blame for their circumstances.

“Surveys have shown that a very common view about why poor people are poor is that they don’t try hard enough, they’re irresponsible, they make poor decisions, they don’t stay in school, et cetera,” she said. “But … neurons don’t deserve blame or credit. They don’t expend effort. They don’t have good or bad behaviors. They just behave according to the laws of the natural world.”

Studies also show that poverty in the earliest years of childhood may be more harmful than poverty later in childhood, García Coll said. She cited studies from scientists like developmental researchers Greg Duncan (University of California, Irvine) and Katherine Magnuson (University of Wisconsin–Madison), who have found the first 5 years of life to be the most sensitive period for the damaging influences of economic deprivation. Duncan’s longitudinal research, for example, has shown that low family income is more associated with difficult circumstances in adulthood when it occurs before age 5 as opposed to later in childhood.

Examining the other end of the spectrum, some researchers have found that adolescents from highly affluent families show particular vulnerabilities to psychological problems across multiple domains. APS Fellow Suniya S. Luthar of Arizona State University, for example, has found that economically privileged youth are more distressed — with high rates of substance abuse, mood disorders, and rule-breaking behaviors — than their peers.

Some of these findings were demonstrated in a project called the New England Study of Suburban Youth, an ongoing longitudinal assessment of about 350 suburban middle school students. Luthar and her colleagues began studying this population in 1990 and have found that health and behavior issues, popularly nicknamed “affluenza,” emerge around 7th grade and can get worse over time.

García Coll has focused much of her research on the children of immigrants and has found in some samples that first-generation immigrant adolescents had lower levels of juvenile delinquency, better test scores and academic performance, and more positive attitudes compared with their American-born peers.

“There’s something about acculturating to a society,” she said, “where they consider you poor, minority, and/or deficient, and they’re not giving you any support for who you are or whom you should become — a bicultural individual. But at home you’re getting some hope, at least. There’s an immigrant dream.”

But, she added, these advantages steadily decline in subsequent generations, a pattern called the immigrant paradox. This means children and grandchildren of immigrants will have increasing rates of health and behavior problems if we do not intervene.

“It’s something I call, ‘becoming American might be hazardous to your health,’” she said.

This generational trend emerges even in sexual behavior. Using longitudinal data on Latino individuals in the United States, García Coll and her colleagues measured adolescent sexual risk behavior by asking participants questions about their sexual behaviors, including use of condoms and birth control, age of first intercourse, and number of sexual partners. They found that risky behavior among third-generation teens, particularly girls, was higher than that of first- and second-generation adolescents, even when controlling for variables such as family income, parents’ education, and age of onset of puberty.

Scarcity and Bandwidth

APS Fellow Eldar Shafir of Princeton University takes a different perspective on poverty, looking at its impact on behavior and decision-making. And the data show that poor people make far more astute decisions than popularly believed; they weigh tradeoffs, pay special attention to prices, and juggle resources carefully, he said. But their intense focus on stretching their scarce resources can absorb all their mental capacity, leaving them with little or no “cognitive bandwidth” to pursue job training, education, and other opportunities that could lead them out of poverty.

In a series of experiments, the results of which were published in 2013 in Science , Shafir and his colleagues found that an individual preoccupied with money problems showed a decline in cognitive function akin to a 13-point drop in IQ (similar to losing an entire night’s sleep).

The researchers began their study in a New Jersey mall, randomly recruiting 400 participants of various income levels. They asked subjects to ponder how they would solve hypothetical financial problems, such as paying for a car repair. Some participants were assigned an “easy” scenario, such as the mechanic’s bill running just $150, while others were assigned a “hard” scenario, like the repair costing $1,500. The participants mulled over these scenarios as they performed some tests designed to measure fluid intelligence and cognition. Subjects were divided into “poor” and “rich” groups based on their income.

The researchers found that in financially manageable scenarios both groups performed equally well on the tests. But when faced with difficult scenarios, participants in the poor group performed significantly worse on the tests compared with those in the rich group.

To confirm these results and explore poverty’s influence in natural settings, the researchers then tested more than 460 sugarcane farmers in India, who typically find themselves poor before the annual harvest but wealthy afterward. Each farmer performed better on cognitive tests postharvest compared to preharvest, Shafir said.

“Basically, when these guys with the same education, the same health, had plenty, they functioned about 10 IQ points higher than when they had scarcity,” he said.

This type of problem clearly shows up in major financial decisions, Shafir’s research shows. In a 2012 study, he and a team of behavioral economists attempted to explore the reasons that cash-strapped borrowers frequently are attracted to and besieged by predatory lending practices (e.g., payday loans). The experimenters randomly assigned student volunteers to either a rich or poor role. Those in the poor group had less of a resource — time — available in a money-making game. The participants played multiple rounds of the game, and in some conditions could borrow time from future rounds, but with interest. (For example, for some participants, a borrowed second of time would actually cost 2 seconds from the next round.)

The researchers found that rich participants tended to avoid high-cost borrowing, but poor participants were quick to take a loan, overborrowed, ran out of time faster, and ultimately left the lab with less money when the game was completed. Behavior like this often is attributed to the poor being myopic and exhibiting less control, except that here the “poor” participants were Princeton students. Scarcity can affect even the privileged.

Shafir suggested that policies and services aimed at helping the poor should factor in the weight that poverty has on a person’s cognitive function. This could include simplifying the typically complicated job applications and other forms that are especially challenging to fill out for people with overly taxed mental resources. Without those accommodations, society is actually hampering a person’s ability to succeed, he argued.

“And if you look at it that way,” Shafir said, “we are constantly violating the International Bill of Human Rights, which obligates us to do what we know can lead to improvement in the life conditions of the less fortunate and [the] disenfranchised.”

A Data Hub to Measure Well-Being

Despite the dramatic economic growth, immense technological progress, and substantial increases in average disposable income seen in numerous countries over the last 50 years, doubts have been raised, both in the social sciences and in society at large, as to whether people in those nations really are better off.

Social scientists in Europe have built an empirical way to “map out” societal trends, giving psychological scientists, economists, and other researchers data that they can use to better understand the causes and consequences of social transformation, says sociologist Jürgen Schupp of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin).

Schupp, who spoke in the Integrative Science Symposium on cognition, behavior, and development in socioeconomic contexts during the International Convention of Psychological Science in March, directs the research unit of DIW Berlin’s Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) Study. That project began in 1984 as a longitudinal, multiple-cohort study of private households. Among the data captured in the SOEP are living standards, availability and quality of work, societal distribution of prosperity, educational opportunities, health and life expectancy, and subject experiences of life satisfaction.

The results, which present longitudinal indicators of such trends as household income growth and the length of time individuals live in poverty, have become major parts of government economic reports.

References and Further Reading

Farah, M. J., Betancourt, L., Shera, D. M., Savage, J. H., Giannetta, J. M., Brodsky, N. L., … Hurt, H. (2008). Environmental stimulation, parental nurturance and cognitive development in humans. Developmental Science, 11 , 793–801. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00688.x

García Coll, C. T., & Szalacha, L. A. (2004). The multiple contexts of middle childhood. Future of Children, 14 , 80–97.

Guarini, T. E., Marks, A. K., Patton, F., & Garcia Coll, C. T. (2011). The immigrant paradox in sexual risk behavior among Latino adolescents: Impact of immigrant generation and gender. Applied Developmental Science, 15 , 201–209. doi: 10.1080/10888691.2011.618100

Hackman, D. A., Betancourt, L. M., Brodsky, N. L., Kobrin, L., Hurt, H., & Farah, M. J. (2013). Selective impact of early parental responsivity on adolescent stress reactivity. PLoS ONE, 8 . doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0058250

Mani, A., Mullainathan, S., Shafir, E., & Zhao, J. (2013). Poverty impedes cognitive function. Science, 341 , 976–980. doi: 10.1126/science.1238041

Noble, K. G., Houston, S. M., Kan, E., & Sowell, E. R. (2012). Neural correlates of socioeconomic status in the developing human brain. Developmental Science, 15 , 516–527. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2012.01147.x

Racz, S. J., McMahon, R. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2011). Risky behavior in affluent youth: Examining the co-occurrence and consequences of multiple problem behaviors. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 20 , 120–128. doi: 10.1007/s10826-010-9385-4

Shah, A. K., Mullainathan, S., & Shafir, E. (2012). Some consequences of having too little. Science, 338 , 682–685. doi: 10.1126/science.1222426

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WE SHOULD ALL STANDUP FOR POVERTY REDUCTION ESPECIALLY IN LESS DEVELOPED COUNTRIES

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My granddaughter and are wonder if involving peer groups within school can help pull some students into new perspectives on themselves and family. Can organized groups within school help? Has this been studied and where?

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Thank you- great work!

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Thank you for your service to humanity… I greatly appreciate the knowledge!!

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Great work! Thank you!

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Poverty really is the result of a state of mind — among rich people

poverty is a state of mind essay

Recently, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said that poverty is a state of mind, and having the right mind-set will let people escape poverty. He was both right and wrong. There is a poverty mind-set we should discuss, but it’s not the one Carson lamented. The problem is not that people living in poverty need to have a better attitude to escape poverty. It’s that all of us should have a better attitude when it comes to poor people.

Other researchers have detailed the compelling evidence that Carson conflates cause and effect; to the extent poor people feel hopeless and helpless, it’s the poverty they confront that causes these feelings , and not the other way around.

But Carson’s error runs deeper. Implicit in his understanding of poverty — which many share — is that people are poor because they aren’t working and they made bad choices and decisions that landed them in poverty and keep them there. It might surprise Carson to learn that many poor people agree with him.

Helen, a white woman in her 40s, is an example. When I interviewed her, she lived in a dilapidated house in Philadelphia, with no running water. She did maintenance work sporadically at one of the city’s stadiums; her husband’s work in construction was also inconsistent and low-paying. She was looking for a better job and wishing for longer hours and higher pay, but she nonetheless told me that poor people are lazy and don’t want to work.

I found in my research among Philadelphia’s poorest residents that many believed that other poor people were lazy — but knew they themselves were not. They believed that hard work would guarantee they would get ahead, even as most of them worked very hard but stayed poor. They blamed themselves for not having achieved more in life. Given that most poor people who can work do, yet still live in poverty, it is clear that poor people who think the way Helen does are mistaken, and so is Carson.

Approximately 47 million people in the United States live under the poverty threshold. Poverty doesn’t always mean unemployment or welfare recipient. Only a minority of those under the official poverty line receives cash assistance from welfare . And the official poverty line notoriously underestimates economic struggle and deprivation. The lack of a living wage means that many people who work still live in poverty . In 2014, 12 percent of those in poverty were working full-time jobs, and an additional 27 percent of those in poverty worked less than full time, year-round.

The poverty line is currently $24,600 per year for a family of four, and $16,240 for a family of two. The minimum wage pays just $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, if the worker never misses a day of work. In other words, the minimum wage only puts a family of one above the poverty line.

There are only 12 counties in the entire United States where a worker making minimum wage can afford the rent on a one-bedroom apartment, and zero counties where a full-time minimum wage worker can pay the rent on a two-bedroom apartment . Helen and her husband made less than a full-time minimum wage worker would, and the only place they could afford to live was so substandard it required them to bathe at the home of a relative.

Poverty is not a state of mind; it’s an economic reality. Helen had been trying to get out of poverty for years, but her faith in her own efforts had not made that possible. She had the mind-set the HUD secretary thinks she should, and she believed that it would get her out of poverty. But poor people cannot escape poverty by simply having the right attitude, even though many of them think they can — an attitude that does more to encourage them to blame themselves when things go wrong than it does to help them rise out of poverty.

Jobs that pay a living wage and housing that is affordable for all — not a different mind-set — are the answers to poverty. Cuts to programs that help make medical care, food and housing affordable and accessible to the poor won’t help — they will only worsen the deprivation the poor face. If we want to begin to enact serious solutions that might make a dent in poverty, then it’s up to the financially secure and politically powerful to recognize that blaming poor people for their poverty isn’t going to get us anywhere. The mind-set problem isn’t theirs; it’s ours.

It’s time we realize that people aren’t poor because they don’t work. Too many people work awfully hard to still live in poverty. Carson should be looking out for people like Helen, not stigmatizing them.

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Poverty Is Not a State of Mind

Charles M. Blow

By Charles M. Blow

  • May 18, 2014

Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.

Ryan said: “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love.”

Lovely, Mr. Ryan. Really, I’m touched. But as every poor person in America will tell you, you can’t use friendship tokens to pay the electricity bill, and you can’t simply hug the cashier and walk away with groceries.

Furthermore, the statement makes a basic and demeaning assumption about the poor: that they suffer a deficiency of friendship, accountability and loving relationships. That, sir, has not been my experience. Poverty is demonstrative not of a lack of character, but a lack of cash.

For Bush’s part, he said: “A loving family taking care of their children in a traditional marriage will create the chance to break out of poverty far better, far better than any of the government programs that we can create.”

My qualm with the statement is the insistence on a “traditional marriage.” Loving families, of any formation, can suffice. While it is true that two adults in a home can provide twice the time, attention and income for a family, those adults needn’t necessarily be in a traditional marriage. Yes, marriage can have a sustaining and fortifying effect on a union and a family, but following that argument, we should be rushing headlong to extend it to all who desire it. In some cases, even parents living apart can offer a nurturing environment for children if they prioritize parenting when it comes to their time and money. Not all parents have to reside together to provide together.

There are many ways to be a loving family and to provide what children need. All forms of marriage are valid and valuable, as well as other ways of constructing a family.

The bigger issue here is the constant juxtaposition of traditional values with social safety nets, as if they were mutually exclusive or, worse, had a zero-sum relationship. The logic is that people rely on public benefits because they have turned their backs on traditional values.

This is part and parcel of conservative thinking about the rich and poor in this country: that the poor are so because they lack some basic value — ambition, for example — and the rich are so because they have an abundance of it.

A Pew Research Center/USA Today survey in January found that, unlike Democrats and independents, most Republicans believe that people are poor primarily because of a lack of effort, and that people are rich primarily because they work harder than others.

The roles of privilege, structural inequities and discriminatory policies seem to have little weight, and the herculean efforts of the working poor, who often toil at backbreaking work that the body can’t long endure, seem invisible.

That construct, that the poor are in some way deficient, is a particularly poisonous and unsupportable position. And, by extension, the proposition that people can simply love and marry — traditionally only — their way out of poverty is supremely condescending.

This position, cloaked in an air of benevolence and good will, is in fact lacking in understanding of the lives of poor people and compassion for their plight.

And if the hypocrisy were not glaring enough, poorer people have been shown to be more generous than richer people. As McClatchy reported in 2009:

“Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest survey of consumer expenditure found that the poorest fifth of America’s households contributed an average of 4.3 percent of their incomes to charitable organizations in 2007. The richest fifth gave at less than half that rate, 2.1 percent.”

Yes, those with the least give the most, and yet people like Ryan and Bush find them lacking.

Poverty is a demanding, stressful, depressive and often violent state. No one seeks it; they are born or thrust into it. In poverty, the whole of your life becomes an exercise in coping and correcting, searching for a way up and out, while focusing today on filling the pots and the plates, maintaining a roof and some warmth, and dreading the new challenge tomorrow may bring.

We should extend the conversation about tackling poverty, but that conversation should not be governed by the belief that poverty in resources is synonymous with poverty of values.

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Poverty Is A State Of Mind Essay

Poverty is a State of Mind The mighty Great Britain is not what it used to be. Its glory days are long gone and the financial recession of 2008 struck Britain bad. There’s a gap between the wealthy and the poor, like there’s always been. And it has grown greatly over the years. It is especially visible in the division of the northern and southern parts of England. The southern parts of England have London as its centre, and are doing more than well, but the northern parts of England are suffering. They are unable to sustain themselves. Their employment has risen, and people are facing tougher and bigger challenges. But perhaps those challenges are not only a material challenge, but also an emotional challenge, as Bernard Hare argues in …show more content…

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Psychotherapy, American Culture, and Social Policy pp 41–57 Cite as

Poverty Is Just a State of Mind

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American dominant culture understands poverty as a defect of character, not a result of a structurally unjust economic system. People who are poor are not poor because they lack money. They are poor because, in America’s dominant culture, there is something wrong with them emotionally, morally, subculturally, or behaviorally. People in poverty in the United States are largely viewed as individually responsible for their own economic circumstances, and they must be punished in this view (see Ryan 1976 and Schneider 1999 for representative takes on the issue). This appallingly cruel perspective has a long history in the United States despite its patent falsity, going far beyond the “blaming the victim” nonsense furthered by allegedly liberal social scientists and providers of social services (including social workers, psychotherapists, counselors, and other purveyors of the “helping” professions).

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Throop, E.A. (2009). Poverty Is Just a State of Mind. In: Psychotherapy, American Culture, and Social Policy. Culture, Mind, and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230618350_3

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  1. Poverty Is A State Of Mind

    This essay has been submitted by a student. If you search up the definition of poverty on google, the first answer you will get is "the state of being extremely poor.". This statement alone is a very broad definition and could relate to many other things. Poverty affects so many people globally and goes further than not having a whole lot ...

  2. Poverty Is A State Of Mind Essay

    Poverty is defined as the state of being unable to fulfill basic needs of human beings. Poverty is the lack of resources leading to physical deprivation. Poor people are unable to fulfill basic survival needs such as food, clothing, shelter. These are the needs of lowest order and assume top priority.

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    Poverty is a state of mind - essay By Lasse Tobberup Poverty is worldwide, and millions of people live in poverty. There are a lot of people who is doing everything in their power to get food on the table. There are a lot of people who everyday go to bed hungry, and a lot of people who can only dream of a life in luxury with vacations and ...

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    It's a state of mind, sometimes it's a state of being, and other times it is just a state. They say education is the only way out of poverty. I say it's the first and the most important step ...

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    Poverty, Mr. Carson is saying, is in part a state of mind. But while that idea holds truth, researchers who study poverty say Mr. Carson has greatly confused cause and effect.

  7. Poverty Is A State Of Mind Free Essay Example

    Hire writer. Poverty is living one day at a time. Always thinking about the future and how you will survive. As I mentioned before, poverty has a face. For instance, Compassionuk.org uses a great example to relate poverty to a face, "it's a girl forced to marry because her family can't support her.

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    Watch on. Poverty holds a seemingly unbreakable grip on families, neighborhoods, cities, and entire countries. It stretches from one generation to the next, trapping individuals in a socioeconomic pit that is nearly impossible to ascend. Part of the fuel for poverty's unending cycle is its suppressing effects on individuals' cognitive ...

  9. Poverty and Lawlessness as a State of Mind

    This essay has been submitted by a student. Poverty is often described as the socioeconomic state of being inferior, lacking in the basic social amenities for one's financial growth or development. While on the other hand lawlessness is seen as the total disregard or lack of social morals as it relates to the upkeep of the laws of society.

  10. Poverty is a state of mind

    The essay "Poverty is a state of mind" is a brief autobiography of the author, Bernard Hare, presenting important moments in his life. Hare grew up in Leeds, in a small community of miners. Both his parents had low-paid jobs. He recalls that he was not aware of his poverty in the first ten years of his life.

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    The poverty line is currently $24,600 per year for a family of four, and $16,240 for a family of two. The minimum wage pays just $7.25 per hour, or $15,080 for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, if ...

  12. Poverty Is A State Of Mind By Bernard Hare

    The essay "Poverty is a state of mind", is written by Bernard Hare in 2012. The story is about living and getting in and out of poverty. Bernard Hare grew up in a mining family in Leeds, where they lived in an environment filled with poverty. At an age of 19, hare escaped the bad environment, which he thought was holding him back.

  13. PDF Poverty Is Just a State of Mind

    Poverty Is Just a State of Mind 43 as the result of personal failure. It is then the poor person who must be "fixed." Welfare reform—in truth, the destruction of the Great Society— aims at that repair. Although lip service is made toward some structural problems—daycare and job training are the primary

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    Thinking about poverty, what comes to mind? Necessarily being poor means you are homeless or does it mean you don't have the funds to provide certain needs.

  15. Poverty Is A State Of Mind

    The essay focuses on Hare's past, from when he grew up poor in Leeds to adult whose angry and bitter, to eventually letting go of his anger and "spirit of poverty". The theme in the text is poverty and Hare is trying to emphasize that poverty is a state of mind, by telling about his own past. The essay is written from the authors point of ...

  16. I once believed that poverty was a state of mind that...

    Poverty is a human services issue that is spread throughout the nation and world. 'The percentage of children who are poor is more than three times as high in the United States as it is in Norway or the Netherlands.' (Porter, 2016) The trend since 2000 is that there is an increasing amount of families, and in turn children, living in poverty.

  17. Opinion

    Poverty Is Not a State of Mind. By Charles M. Blow. May 18, 2014. 655. Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a ...

  18. Poverty Is A State Of Mind Essay

    1047 Words 5 Pages. Poverty is a State of Mind The mighty Great Britain is not what it used to be. Its glory days are long gone and the financial recession of 2008 struck Britain bad. There's a gap between the wealthy and the poor, like there's always been. And it has grown greatly over the years. It is especially visible in the division of ...

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    Poverty itself is typically regarded as a lack of income, which in turn is related to poor housing, inadequate education, insufficient medical care, excessive fertility, unemployment, and many other depressing problems. Some areas, such as Appalachia, appear as massive concentrations of poverty.

  20. Analytical essay

    Here, we will provide you with some ideas and things to consider when you discuss Bernard Hare's "Poverty is a state of mind". We will also point you in the direction of help for writing your actual essay. As we have seen, the text's underlying message is that poverty is a matter of perception.

  21. Poverty Is Just a State of Mind

    Abstract. American dominant culture understands poverty as a defect of character, not a result of a structurally unjust economic system. People who are poor are not poor because they lack money. They are poor because, in America's dominant culture, there is something wrong with them emotionally, morally, subculturally, or behaviorally.

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  23. Poverty is a State of Mind: English Cases Free Essay Example

    In this essay I am going to analyse the radio essay " Poverty is a State of Mind" by Bernard Hare. Get quality help now. RhizMan . Verified writer. Proficient in: English Language. ... The central problem with Hare's essay and his statements, that poverty is only a state of mind, is that it is psychological. Poverty is big part of ...