Sociology Essay Example: Poverty Eradication According to John Galbraith

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Boston College
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John Galbraith was an American lecturer at Harvard teaching law. He has also served as an Ambassador of US to India. Apart from working as a professor, he has worked as the economic advisor to the president and wrote speeches for John F Kennedy. In his book the affluent society, he pointed out that the community should not concentrate on overproduction. By focusing on production, the country ends up products that people dont need and is not beneficial. The concentration on production creates an artificial need which according to him is a wasteful and destructive endeavor. He argues that the US should concentrate on genuine needs and solve them as soon as possible. According to him, clean air is important than industries, and the government should strive to ensure there is no pollution (Galbraith, 2010, 401)

Some people need housing, and the government should, therefore, make it a priority to improve the housing. Galbraith says that poverty is as a result of unequal distribution of resources. According to him, poverty can be classified into insular and case poverty. The way to eliminate poverty, the society should ensure everyone has an income that will give him or her decency. Case poverty is caused by the inability of an individual to participate in economic activities. The person can have some personal disability or other factors that have kept them away from being involved in the economy. Insular poverty affects a group of individuals who have been disadvantaged by a particular factor. He claims that there are ways to eliminate poverty put the country needs to have the will to act. He also says that he is afraid the will might not be there since the poor people are the minority. The politicians may therefore not put poverty eradication as their priority.

An affluent society does not have any justification for not feeding its people and ensuring a decent life. If a country is poor, they can use the rule of "let those that dont work not eat." But a prosperous society should ensure the least fortunate get a decent living. When an individual cannot afford the minimum income to make him worthy, he feels degraded. Since they dont live a decent life as the society around them, they live in categories that are unacceptable. A child of a low-income family might have some difficulties but if he is given a good education and a chance to progress he will come out of poverty. The society should ensure such kids have proper food; they attend school, they have health care and recreation facility. A child who can access this services is sure to mature without been afflicted by poverty. In urban areas, the government should have decent houses and clean streets for the poor people. The investment in children is, therefore, important if the society wants to eliminate poverty. Getting an education is important as it will enable the children to break away from the constraints that are in their environment. Apart from education, the other environmental factors need to be solved to eliminate the constraints. They should be given a proper housing, an efficient transport system and ensuring the environment is safe to live. The health problems that affect the poor people should also be tackled and eliminated. With the availability of resources, case poverty can, therefore, be solved. Individuals who are handicapped and be given artificial legs, individual with mental illness can seek medical help, and this will enable people to live decent and acceptable lives

Breaking the social structure that keeps people in the ghettos is necessary to eradicate poverty. Investing in the removal of individuals from the slums will ensure future generations have a bright future. There has been a lot of talk on how to improve the ghettos and make them safe. However little has been done apart from increasing the police presence in the slums. Increasing the number of police will not solve the problem. The people who are in the ghettos should be given an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the economy. Developing countries can be excused for having poor people, but America does not have any excuse. People tend to see what they want to see and avoid what they dont want to see. A wealthy man will, therefore, be able to enjoy his meal will remaining ignorant of the beggars. The same oblivion is used by people who pass through ghettos while going to their posh estates. Although we can ignore the poverty, we can not whisk it away. One day we will have to deal with the problem. According to the Author, poverty in the United States is a disgrace to the nation, and no citizen should be living under such dilapidated housing (Galbraith, 2010, 412)



Galbraith, J. K. (1998). The affluent society. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin


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