Short Review Peter Saunders Book - The Poverty Wars


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A short resume of Peter Saunders book, The Poverty Wars. A research about poverty in Australia and how to tackle it.

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Short Review Peter Saunders Book - The Poverty Wars

  1. 1. THE POVERTY WARS A Book Review by Peter Saunders RECONNECTING RESEARCH WITH REALITY Magister of Social Welfare University of Indonesia
  2. 2. Poverty/ˈpävərtē/ noun The inability of getting choices and opportunities, a violation of human dignity. “ “ - United Nations
  3. 3. WHY POVERTY? • Before we can tackle the problem of poverty we need a clear idea of what poverty means in a conceptual and definitional sense • We need a clear understanding of the nature and causes of poverty before we can know what kinds of actions are needed to combat it • We need measures that can communicate concern to the public and serve as a rallying call for action
  4. 4. PRINCIPAL ASPECTS OF THE MODERN DEBATE OVER POVERTY • Examines the statistical evidence to see what it implies for the broad parameters of the problem: what exactly are we trying to deal with? • Examines how the concept, measurement and meaning of poverty relate to other notions such as deprivation, social exclusion and capability failure that have emerged in recent writings • Explores what is known about the causes of poverty, including the role of external factors and those that follow from specific events or individual choices • How the causes of poverty become concealed in statistical studies that confuse the measurement of poverty with its underlying causes
  5. 5. poverty is bad, not only because it restricts people’s choices and their ability to participate in society, but also because, over time, it produces other bad effects on them, on their children and on society as a whole. -Peter Saunders
  6. 6. MAPPING POVERTY PROFILE Family Characteristics Gender Young and Old Work and Family Place and Time
  7. 7. Family Characteristics • Whether people are married or not • Whether or not they have children • How many children they have • Whether or not they own their own home • Whether they are above or below pension age The adequacy of social security payments for different groups
  8. 8. Family Characteristics Poverty can also arise from factors that are not attributable to individuals or families, including the nature of the local area or neighborhood in terms of the quality of its infrastructure and availability of services
  9. 9. Gender Poverty is more prevalent among women than men, since women outnumber men in two of the groups most susceptible to poverty (the single aged and sole parents) (Cass, 1985) Despite the trend towards increased female labour force participation, there are still fewer women than men in paid work, implying that joblessness is a more important determinant of poverty for women
  10. 10. Gender Poverty acquires its gendered character in the nexus of employment with the family, and in particular through a gender division of labour in which women have relatively greater involvement in the unpaid work of the household and child rearing, while men have relatively greater engagement in paid work. Although the force of this gender division of labour has steadily weakened over the last two decades, its underlying asymmetry remains as matters of both social expectations and practical labour market realities. (Shaver notes, 1998, p. 279)
  11. 11. Young and Old People in the early and later stages of their lives are generally unable to earn income in the labour market and are thus dependent on other people (or other incomes) for the resources that protect them from poverty. The age boundaries that define these categories are not set biologically but are conditioned by attitudes about people’s economic and social roles and what these imply for behaviour
  12. 12. Young and Old Three features stand out from the available studies of poverty in old age. 1. Home ownership plays an important role in protecting older people from poverty by reducing their housing costs, freeing up resources for other needs 2. Statistical estimates of poverty are very sensitive to where the pension sits relative to the poverty line: many of those who rely on the pension for their main source of income fall close to the poverty line 3. the fact that poverty is much lower among aged couples than among the single aged suggests that the loss of a partner is a very stressful event for older people – in financial as well as emotional terms.
  13. 13. Work and Family Access to a job has always been the best protection against poverty, while getting a job is the best way out of poverty for those who are in it. Increased competition between families for a relatively fixed number of available jobs can thus contribute to increased job-related inequality, as well as to higher poverty among those who have most difficulty finding a job Market forces have little respect for the poverty or family circum- stances of those who are looking for work.
  14. 14. Work and Family Having any job is not an automatic guarantee against poverty Not having a job does not automatically imply poverty.
  15. 15. Work and Family Having any job is not an automatic guarantee against poverty Not having a job does not automatically imply poverty. Together, these results indicate that employment growth alone will not guarantee a reduction in poverty unless two conditions are satisfied 1. the trend decline in the proportion of full- time jobs must be arrested and reversed, since only a full-time job can generate enough income to avoid poverty in the vast majority of cases 2. greater effort must be directed at ensuring that overall employment growth translates more effectively into reduced unemployment
  16. 16. Place and Time Where you live can have important direct and indirect effects on the probability that you will face the threat of, or actually experience, poverty. Unemployment and poverty are closely related and because unemployment is geographically concentrated, there is an obvious spatial dimension to poverty. High unemployment in an area can trigger a series of adjust- ments that can entrench communities in a downward cycle of poverty and deprivation. Local businesses find it increas- ingly difficult to survive and local branches of national and international corporations (and government agencies) are closed down by the merciless logic of profitability and value for money.
  17. 17. THANK YOU Magister of Social Welfare University of Indonesia