The poor have not developed strong interest groups

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The poor have not developed strong interest groups that can put pressure on decision makers and result in policies that can benefit them. Interest group activity requires time, money, and organizational skills; all of which the poor do not possess. Compare the elderly in the United States to the poor. The elderly have achieved favorable policies (social security and Medicare) in large part because of their strong organizations (AARP) and voting power. The poor, on the other hand, do not have any equivalent interest group organizations and do not generally vote as a block, if they vote at all. The poor depend primarily on their own informal and fragmented networks. Strong networks and membership-based organizations extending beyond the family and immediate community are essential to help poor people gain access to other assets and resources. 10. Capabilities Lack of information, education, skills, confidence. While it is commonly recognized that information is power, poor people are cut off from information about their rights as workers, pensioners, and citizens, as well as about jobs, resources, and assistance programs. Education also often works against the poor. In the United States, schools in poor neighborhoods are of lower quality – poorly staffed and equipped. The poor often do not learn the value of education or lack the confidence to succeed. Higher education is an obstacle due to cost. Scholarships are not always available. Furthermore, many of the poor do not see the benefit of higher education if they are able to get a job, albeit low paying, without it, especially if there is a more immediate need. The World Bank study showed that faced with harsh realities, many poor parents cannot afford to send their children to school or keep them in school. Almost everywhere, poor people want to educate their children but calculate that the returns to their investment are unrewarding. Conclusions:
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12 ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Poverty The World Bank study concluded that poor people are not the problem. Nor is the culture of poverty. Poor people work hard, are remarkably resourceful, and show grit and determination in providing for their families. All those committed to poverty reduction must ask themselves three questions: How can we build on what already works, design institutions, and change institutional character so that they support poor people's own initiatives to lift themselves out of poverty? How can poor people's connectivity with institutions be increased so that they are heard and represented in programs and policymaking at the local, national, and global levels? How can the knowledge, resources, and power at the local, national, and global levels be used to support poor people's own efforts? Important Terms: Social welfare policies
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13 ISS 225 Power, Authority, Exchange Poverty Poverty line Income distribution Relative deprivation Income Wealth Culture of poverty Progressive tax Proportional tax Regressive tax Transfer payments Social Security Medicare Medicaid Aid to Families with Dependent Children Temporary Assistance to Needy Families New Deal Great Society
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  • Fall '07
  • Williams
  • Poverty, poor people

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