Poverty is one of the biggest sticking points in global society today. In fact, poverty has existed in one form or another since the early days of agriculture. At first, the poverty class, or lower class, originally existed as part or the caste system in which a person in a lower class was born into a certain social position and stayed in that class during their lifetime. This was common practice for the better part of human history either for religious purposes (such as the Hindu system) or for political reasons (during the feudal system of the Middle Ages). Not until the capitalist system began to take hold did a slight albeit often slim possibility for moving up the social class system begin to emerge.
Yet as the capitalist system tries to control the cost of modern business, it becomes harder and harder to “climb the social ladder,” so to speak. Even though cultural and educational resources exist in American society (e.g. community colleges, etc.) to move people into higher-level positions, some people born into poverty do not easily understand nor are sometimes even able to afford these programs. To add insult to injury, many jobs in the more traditionally industrialized nations are sometimes move to other countries to keep product research, development and construction prices in check to support today’s market needs, a practice commonly referred to as outsourcing. Moreover, and unfortunately for some American workers, especially blue-collar factory personnel, outsourcing is a trend that is likely co continue in the short term of the world’s economy.
In fact, “the loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs to offshore countries has been under way for the past three decades and will continue into the foreseeable future,” according to University of California-Davis industry scholar Martin Kenney, co-editor of Locating Global Advantage: Industry and Dynamics in the International Economy. Through the examination of “what has happened to U.S. manufacturing jobs industry by industry, Kenney details the transfer of American jobs to other countries in the apparel and textile, vehicle, television, personal computer, semiconductor, and other high-tech industries.” (USA Today, 2004)
Outsourcing has had an effect on American poverty. Before the 1980’s, more Americans were in more financially secure positions than they were after. Since outsourcing began, however, many people have lost their jobs because of the practice and often have to accept lower-paying jobs in other economic sectors. However, it is not just outsourcing that has served as a major problem for Americans as far as poverty goes. The practice of cutthroat politics has played a part as well, in part through the Regan administration and one or both George Bush administrations (George W. Bush for sure, but possible George H. W. Bush as well). In fact, government representatives often are members of higher social class groups, and their policies often follow suit in public support.
Nevertheless, American poverty still pales in comparison to world poverty, where citizens in many countries earn less than the equivalent of $1 USD a day. Africa, for example, ranks among the lowest percentages of financial well-being of any continent on the face of the Earth, according to the World Bank in a report compiled in the late 1990’s. In fact, “while 1.2 billion people lived on less than $1 a day in 1987, this figure had risen to 1.3 billion in 1993.” (New York Times Upfront, 1999) In fact, only North America, Australia, and a few other continental regions of the world fare any better.
However, poverty may well be an unpleasant fact no matter what the world does. Therefore, no matter what society does, poverty, outsourcing, and other inconsistencies may well be an issue we all may have to deal with.