SWRK 423 Lecture Notes - Savings Account, Krahn People, Progressive Tax

14 views2 pages
29 Jan 2013
Explaining Poverty:
-at one level, poverty is a social constructiondepends on the definition
-individual-level explanations focus on the attributes of people who are poor
-focuses on causes that lie “within the person” ex. Someone is poor due to low intelligence
-some evidence suggests that personal attributes do explain a small amount of poverty ex. If someone
has a physical disability then they have a higher risk of living in poverty
-but not all people w/ disabilities live in poverty and majority of those who do, don’t have
-thus, poverty for the most part is not a consequence of individuals attributes
-another explanation focuses on the attitudes of individuals (attributes that are acquired not inherited)
-ex. Low self-esteem, lack of achievement motivation, inability to delay gratification
-poverty is perpetuated b/c poor families employ inadequate child-rearing practices that
enhance bad attitudes
-stresses “culture of poverty” as a way of thinking and acting shared by poor families
-this reasoning dismissed by sociologists as “blaming the victim
-cause-and effect: people who are poor may develop “bad attitudes” because of poverty and
not be the causes for it
-many people who are poor do work, are religious, don’t smoke or drink etc
-another explanation stresses the social organization of society, or subsystems in society, as
explanations for poverty
-ex. Capitalist economies (Canada) feature cyclical booms and busts, periods of low
unemployment and high profits followed by high unemployment and low profits
-high rates of unemployment mean more families are forced to live on reduced income and for
many mean living in poverty
Krahn and Lowe: “a weak work ethic and a lack of effort” are seldom the explanation for individual
poverty; “more often the problem is on if not enough good jobs
-other analysts stress social policy as a factor affecting poverty levels
-minimum-wage legislation is a social policy that creates a group of working poor
-system of tax collection and tax allocation illustrates another way that social policies affect poverty
-progressive taxation system is one in which a greater proportion of income is paid in tax as
incomes rise
-in Canada is progressive but fairly neutral
-b/c GST and fuel taxes are flat or neutral
-those who earn more are able to shelter their income from taxation ex. In registered
education savings plans or retirement savings plans
-thus net effect does little to redistribute income and little to erode poverty
-lastly, other sociologists would stress ways of thinking or ideological perspectives as explanations for
-negative images of various groups lead to an undervaluing of the ways of life of some people
ex. First Nations or the disabled
Unlock document

This preview shows half of the first page of the document.
Unlock all 2 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Get access

$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class