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Paper 1 rought draft - 1 Megan Michels Perpetuation of...

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1 Megan Michels 10/20/10 Perpetuation of Poverty As children, we learn how to survive in the world based on the people who raise us. Often times our families act as our main influencers, and we mimic their behaviors and use their values as a framing for our own. Those families who live in poverty pass down their own system of behaviors and values to each other as well. There are several economic theories to explain why poverty exists in our country. Two theories that are particularly compelling are the culture of poverty, and the big brother theory, because the big brother theory perpetuates the culture of poverty. The excessive welfare systems provided by the government enable poor families to become dependent on them. As the subculture of poverty passes down strategies for survival, including the use of welfare, the reliance on these programs is perpetuated, creating a group of people who are complacent with their low socioeconomic status with little incentive to change. The culture of poverty is a group of people who live in poor areas, such as ghettos, housing projects, and other poor regions, where they end up developing a set of “beliefs, values, and norms” that differ from those in the main society (Bradshaw 2006). These differing beliefs that this culture shares perpetuate their poverty from generation to generation (Bradshaw 2006). The culture of poverty theory examines how one’s behaviors are linked directly to their family’s behaviors and values, thus predicting that one’s offspring will end up having similar lifestyles to their parents/grandparents. The big brother theory picks up right where the culture of poverty theory leaves off, in that the big brother theory suggests that the government does too much for the poor, so much so that the government actually discourages people from working because they feel overly comfortable with the benefits provided to them (Schiller 2008). Kevin Lang, author of “The Evolution of Poverty Policy,” and “Welfare Reform,” writes about the different types and evolution of the various forms of welfare assistance.
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