According to Carolina Maria De Jesus, “We are slaves to the cost of living.” If you do not have enough resources to provide yourself and your family essential needs like food, shelter, clothing, and education, then you are in the state of poverty. Extreme poverty can cause different misfortunes like hunger, illnesses and death.
Facts about poverty
Did you know that 18 million people die a year or 50 thousand people die each day because of poverty? That is 270 million since 1990.
11 million children die before their fifth birthday.
And in the year 2001, 1.1 billion had consumption levels below 1 dollar and 2.7 billion lived with less than 2 dollars a day.
Contributing Factors of Poverty
- The politics of poverty – government decisions typically reflect the interests of the well-to-do rather than the poor. Instead of giving more benefits to the needy, the government’s decisions seem to give more to the rich. They treat the poor people as expendables individuals. Instead of helping them with their programs and decisions, they seem to aggravate the situation.
For example, in the Philippines during the Yolanda typhoon, millions of goods were imported from different countries all around the world for the victims. However, it didn’t seem that the victims benefited from the goods. They were replaced by lower quality merchandises, and the whereabouts of the imported goods remain unknown.
Another example is corruption. The Philippines might have overcome poverty if only the government officials are not corrupt. During the early 2000s, the Philippines had a higher income rate than that of Malaysia and Singapore. However, the Philippines stayed at the bottom while the two other countries developed.
- Poverty and the Economy – the economy seem to work for the rich than for the poor. In other words, the poor people work for the rich to earn money. However, sometimes they are not given what is due to them. They don’t have the audacity to complain because they are scared of being fired. So instead of prospering, they remain poor because they depend on the capitalists who hold them as slaves.
For example, in the Philippines, there are so many farms and plantations called haciendas. The owners sometimes treat the farmers as slaves but the latter don’t have a choice but to conform. For them, they can no longer afford to lose their job to sustain for their family.
- Patterns of Family Life – education is crucial to the success of an individual. If you want to succeed, apply for a better-paying job. However, companies would rather hire people of good descent, good family background and good educational attainment. Their requirements are too far up for poor people to reach.
This is the reason why people experiencing poverty have no jobs or has low-paying jobs. They are categorized as incompetent because they do not have a good educational attainment.
For example, in hiring operatives, they only consider the people from credited schools with a good transcript of records. The rest are rejected and most of them are under the poverty line.
Social or Psychological Factors: these are the values that are held by the poor which affect how they perceive things.
- The culture of poverty – Oscar Lewis said that the economic, social and psychological values of poor people are likely to perpetuate poverty instead of alleviating it.
Most of the poor people in the Philippines conduct bad decisions in managing their resources. Instead of buying necessary things for themselves and their family, they use their money to buy drugs, alcohol or cigarettes.
In addition to that, they value their sense of belongingness rather than prioritizing. They still want to spend on occasions such as birthdays, and things they don’t even need even when they don’t have money. This is the reason why they obtain debts from other people which aggravates their poor condition.
They also have this thinking that when they are born poor, they die poor. So instead of looking for a way to progress, they slack off, do nothing, and depend on others.
- Disparagement and Discrimination – the poor are considered by some people as stupid or disreputable because most of them are uneducated. This is the reason why, these poor people lack self-respect and self-confidence. They are being judged and labeled as incompetent and disgraceful because they come from low-class families.
Because of this, poor people don’t have the courage to stand out in a crowd because they are likely to be criticized. This is also one of the reasons why they are ashamed to apply for jobs in the central business district.
How to Get out of Poverty
- Depend on yourself. If you think you are able enough to look for a job, do so. Don’t let other people’s judgment stop you from alleviating your situation. In the long run, they won’t be the ones to suffer more, you are. Our world is full of criticisms anyway. The rich gets judged and the poor gets discriminated. What is there to lose?
There are people who are deaf, blind and lame who are able to land for a job. However, you yourself are free from disabilities. If they can be hired, so can you. Keep your hopes up and do not lose confidence in your abilities.
- Prove yourself. If people see you as incompetent, prove them wrong. Start applying on different realistic jobs, and when opportunity knocks, take it. You can start with low-paying jobs. At least you get something rather than nothing. Set aside your fear, and anxiety and let your pride help you stand up against the world.
- Think positive. Being born poor does not mean you have to die poor. It is all on your decisions. If there is a will, there is a way. God is not that heartless to not give you opportunities at all. Believe, and you will see that there are many different chances that you can take in improving your situation.