Poverty Hi I need help, what is poverty, and what is a conflict perspective of poverty?

Expert Answers
boblawrence eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poverty is the lack of the usual or socially acceptable quantity of money or material possessions.  Poor people possess insufficient resources to subsist and participate normally in day to day activities.  They may lack adequate food or shelter.  The current U.S. poverty threshold for a family of 4 is an annual income of $22,350.00.

The Conflict Theory of Poverty is that outside forces prevent an individual from attaining a desired goal.  Because of social status, neighborhood, upbringing, background, education, and many other factors, the individual is not afforded an equal opportunity to thrive.

There are many examples of outstanding achievers who came from vastly underprivileged beginnings.  However, it is generally accepted that there are unfortunately many factors beyond his control that can prevent an individual from escaping poverty.

belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am FAR under the poverty level... but I am not a family of four either, so it's enough to pay my bills. In my mind, poverty today is more about the unwillingness to work, or to actively seek work, than it is about elite suppression or wealthy people taking all the money. My job is a dead-end, and I am leaving it at the end of the year... but I have student loans and bills to pay, so I work. I don't have the option of giving up and going on government support. Now, whole books have been written on the subject, so I can't hope to address all the people who are sick, or disabled, or mentally ill, but there are significant numbers of perfectly healthy people who receive massive amounts of government assistance, and live far above their means. We all have equal opportunity, but we do not all have equal skill, drive, and ambition.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict theory says that things in society are caused by conflict and specifically by the elites oppressing those under them.  So poverty in that view is caused by elites who set up a school system where well-off kids have better schools, who set up a governmental system where banks get bailed out and poor people don't, etc.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Poverty is the state of living without means, in hunger and economic stress. Uusally, it involves squalor of some kind. Conflict perspective suggests that people live in poverty because it is beneficial for another group to have them impoverished.