Poverty and Social Exclusion in Developed and Developing Countries: Causes, Consequences, Challenges, and Policy Options

Poverty and Social Exclusion in Developed and Developing Countries: Causes, Consequences, Challenges, and Policy Options

Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 34
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0969-2.ch004
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The chapter examines the causes and consequences of poverty and social exclusion in developed and developing countries and suggests a new social policy option. The chapter, therefore, seeks to examine concept clarification and poverty measures, causes of poverty, consequences of poverty, poverty in developed countries, poverty in developing countries, challenges of combating poverty, extreme poverty in developed and developing countries, and new social policy options.
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Poverty has been a concern in societies since before the beginning of recorded history. According to sociologist and anthropologists, social stratification – the division of a society into a hierarchy of wealth, power and status, was used to define class in earliest civilized world such as: ancient Egypt, Sumer in the Middle East and India (Okonofua, 2003). In very early culture, particularly in the desert people who had more resources could not survive without the help of group members. So, people were tied together through “status relationships” (Chapin, 2007, p. 28) such as family member, lord, or serf. Powerful people such as tribal leaders, lords and family heads had greater status and thus could develop systems that favored and maintained their positions (Chapin, 2007). Maintenance of social control by powerful elites as well as mutual and motivated social welfare in these societies.

Religious institutions also played a major role in providing social welfare. Religious and faith – based approaches to poverty have influenced social policy. The support for social justice and aid to people in poverty, differentiation between the “worthy and unworthy poor” (Chapin, 2007, p. 27). Religious affiliated organizations care for members of their faith community, especially the “worthy poor”. Unworthy poor were regarded as unwilling to work. This short exploration of how earlier cultures and religious organizations influenced the social welfare policies today.

The feudal system of the Early Middle ages was based on a hierarchy in which the lord owned the land and the serfs farmed the land and received the protection of the Lord. This agrarian economy produced very little surplus and famine was common. In return, the serfs owned their labor and portions of their agricultural product to the Lord. This agrarian economy produced very little surplus, and famine was common.

In fact, canon law – law directing church activities – demanded that each parish provide for the poor. Anyone who had extra resources was exhorted to share with the poor. However, the “unworthy poor – the willingly idle” were to be assisted (Quigley, 1996a). During the Middle Ages, guilds foundations, and hospitals contributed to the welfare infrastructure. Guilds were associations of merchants and artisans that provided mutual aid and disaster insurance for their members. Private foundations and churches played a major role in the society (Chapin 2007).

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