Poverty In The Caribbean

1985 Words8 Pages
Poverty is a complicated multi-dimensional phenomenon which affects a multitude of people across the globe. Consequently, many theorists of varying schools of thought have sought to understand and explain the complexity of poverty. Though poverty can be seen as a social problem on the global scale, the dynamics of poverty varies across geographical locations. Therefore, this paper will discuss theories on the culture of poverty, and will show that Oscar Lewis’ theory of the culture of poverty does not offer a valid explanation of poverty in the Caribbean. Poverty is viewed through two lenses, absolute poverty; ones’ inability to sustain their basic needs for survival such as food, shelter and water, and relative poverty; the ability to access…show more content…
The culture of poverty is mainly characterised by; low levels of membership in community, political institutions and other major institutions within society, inclusive of marital institutions (Haralambos & Holborn, 2004). There were also features of high levels of family abandonment by men and an influx of female headed households. Additionally, low education attainment, feelings of powerlessness and inferiority and the use of violence to solve issues, in addition to a preference for instant gratification were also seen as characteristics of the culture of poverty (Haralambos &Holborn,…show more content…
This is mainly because the Caribbean landscape bears a different environment and scope on the factors influencing poverty. The issue of poverty began in the colonial era with the institution of slavery, as persons were exposed to, and experienced social and economic inequality due to oppression faced by plantation owners (George, Beckford 1999, 4). Beckford (1999) posits that “the development possibilities in all countries are determined chiefly by institutional factors and this influenced growth factors such as resources, capital accumulation , human capital and technological change and in the Caribbean this is shaped by the plantation system” (p183). In fact, profits were repatriated to the core countries while the economies of the periphery countries declined (Beckford 1999 186
Open Document