We are both convinced of, and this essay will take more or less for granted, that the political traditions of libertarianism and feminism are both in the main correct, insightful, and of the first importance in any struggle to build a just, free, and compassionate society.
Sociology as Life, Practice, and Promise, rev. For more information click here. Government programs come and go as political parties swing us back and forth between stock answers whose only effect seems to be who gets elected. But on a deeper level, we tend to think about them in ways that keep us from getting at their complexity in the first place.
It is a basic tenet of sociological practice that to solve a social problem we have to begin by seeing it as social. Without this, we look in the wrong place for explanations and in the wrong direction for visions of change.
Consider, for example, poverty, which is arguably the most far-reaching, long-standing cause of chronic suffering there is. The magnitude of poverty is especially ironic in a country like the United States whose enormous wealth dwarfs that of entire continents.
More than one out of every six people in the United States lives in poverty or near-poverty. For children, the rate is even higher. Even in the middle class there is a great deal of anxiety about the possibility of falling into poverty or something close to it — through divorce, for example, or simply being laid off as companies try to improve their competitive advantage, profit margins, and stock prices by transferring jobs overseas.
How can there be so much misery and insecurity in the midst of such abundance? It is simply one end of an overall distribution of income and wealth in society as a whole.
As such, poverty is both a structural aspect of the system and an ongoing consequence of how the system is organized and the paths of least resistance that shape how people participate in it.
The system we have for producing and distributing wealth is capitalist. It is organized in ways that allow a small elite to control most of the capital — factories, machinery, tools — used to produce wealth. It also leaves a relatively small portion of the total of income and wealth to be divided among the rest of the population.
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In part, then, poverty exists because the economic system is organized in ways that encourage the accumulation of wealth at one end and creates conditions of scarcity that make poverty inevitable at the other.
But the capitalist system generates poverty in other ways as well. In the drive for profit, for example, capitalism places a high value on competition and efficiency.
This motivates companies and their managers to control costs by keeping wages as low as possible and replacing people with machines or replacing full-time workers with part-time workers. It makes it a rational choice to move jobs to regions or countries where labor is cheaper and workers are less likely to complain about poor working conditions, or where laws protecting the natural environment from industrial pollution or workers from injuries on the job are weak or unenforced.
Capitalism also encourages owners to shut down factories and invest money elsewhere in enterprises that offer a higher rate of return.
These kinds of decisions are a normal consequence of how capitalism operates as a system, paths of least resistance that managers and investors are rewarded for following.
But the decisions also have terrible effects on tens of millions of people and their families and communities. Even having a full-time job is no guarantee of a decent living, which is why so many families depend on the earnings of two or more adults just to make ends meet.
All of this is made possible by the simple fact that in a capitalist system most people neither own nor control any means of producing a living without working for someone else.
To these social factors we can add others. A high divorce rate, for example, results in large numbers of single-parent families who have a hard time depending on a single adult for both childcare and a living income. The centuries-old legacy of racism in the United States continues to hobble millions of people through poor education, isolation in urban ghettos, prejudice, discrimination, and the disappearance of industrial jobs that, while requiring relatively little formal education, nonetheless once paid a decent wage.
These were the jobs that enabled many generations of white European immigrants to climb out of poverty, but which are now unavailable to the masses of urban poor.
Clearly, patterns of widespread poverty are inevitable in an economic system that sets the terms for how wealth is produced and distributed. But public debate about poverty and policies to deal with it focus almost entirely on the latter with almost nothing to say about the former.
Murray sees the world as a merry-go-round. Instead, Murray argues, poverty is caused by failures of individual initiative and effort. It would leave the working-aged person with no recourse whatsoever except the job market, family members, friends, and public or private locally funded services.
The confusion lies in how we think about individuals and society, and about poverty as an individual condition and as a social problem.January Since the s, economic inequality in the US has increased dramatically.
And in particular, the rich have gotten a lot richer. Nearly everyone who writes about economic inequality says that it should be decreased. Having a good, clear ending helps you write & revise the rest of your story. 3.
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The key words in the title are practical and lausannecongress2018.com week I ran a “competition” to write an essay on aid and poverty. The essays I received were spectacularly good and I do suggest you check them out in the comments lausannecongress2018.com one worry though was were they really practical essays in an exam.
An examination of the possibilities for libertarian feminism, taking the feminist thought of the 19th century radical individualists as an example and a guide. We find that the radical libertarian critique of statism and the radical feminist critique of patriarchy are complementary, not contradictory, and we discuss some of the confusions that lead .
What Does it Mean to Be Well Educated? And Other Essays on Standards, Grading, and Other Follies [Alfie Kohn] on lausannecongress2018.com *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him'perhaps the country's most .