Who do you believe is more responsible for poverty; the poor of society?Please explain, in deeper thought

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, it is society that is more responsible for poverty than the poor people themselves.  That is not to say that the poor have no responsibility for their problems.  However, I do believe that society has more of a responsibility.

I believe that some people are more hard-working and/or more talented than others.  If everything were fair, the people with the best combinations of talent and drive would get to be the richest and most successful.  But I do not think it works out that way.

If a poor person had as much talent and drive as I do, that poor person would probably still be poor.  I was born to a middle class family so I could start from much higher up the socioeconomic ladder that a poor person would.  This shows that it is not to my credit that I am where I am today (it should be credited to my family).  Similarly, not all poor people are to blame for their problems.

Our society makes it so that the people with the same drive and talent have different levels of success.  That is not fair and that is why I think poverty is mroe of a societal problem.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's interesting to see how these answers play themselves out.  Part of the interest is the very idea about how people hold fundamental philosophies regarding personal accountability in light of social conditions.  For my bet, I believe that poverty is caused through a variety of circumstances that converge.  Part of this is due to an economic order that is predicated upon those who are successful and those who are deemed "unsuccessful."  Capitalism functions with a distinct "winner" and "loser" mentality and paradigm.  Poverty is associated with the latter.  I would say that there are existing social conditions that help to facilitate this, as well.  It is inconceivable to believe that every individual starts off on equal footing, with equal access to opportunity.  Such an institutional makeup leads me to believe that there is a sense of social inequity and inequality that helps to cause poverty.  I feel that while individuals do possess autonomy and power, it is placed within a context of social conditions.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I tend to agree with the first post in that poverty is a societal problem.  The way in which a society develops in terms of its economy, its educational institutions, and its social programs often creates the environment that can cause or prevent poverty.  This is, of course, when you're talking about poverty in general, on a large or national scale as opposed to just individual cases and examples of poverty.

There are individuals who live in poverty because they have made poor choices, or lack the personal characteristics or resolve to find and take advantage of opportunities to lift themselves out of poverty.  But society is responsible for making sure those opportunities exist and are accessible to the poor.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think it really depends on why the person is poor. If they are poor because they are lazy and do not want to work or better themselves then I believe it is their own fault.

I believe that it also depends on what we were born into. If we were born into poverty then that is all we may know. Our parents may not have been able to get themselves out. It is like a cycle. This could be due to numerous reasons, but not relating to laziness or lack of desire. Maybe education was not a reality. In this sense I think the fault lies in society.


litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Some people are definitely poor because of bad choices. Even the wealthiest people can make choices that cause them to be poor. However as widespread as poverty is, it is clearly a societal problem. As a society, we have not yet found a way for all of our members to be provided for.
jess1999 | Student

For me , it can go either way but I am leaning towards society affecting poverty . For example , usually only the wealthiest offsprings remains the wealthiest . It is actually very hard to go up the social ladder . For example , if you come from a wealthy family , then you would be able to gain the chance to have an education . With a good education you'll be able to get a successful job later in the future . Someone from a poor family would usually not have a better education , and it would be hard for them to concentrate at school because they're always focusing on financial issues .