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MaisyS's avatar

What are some strengths and limitations of defining poverty as social exclusion? And what were the reasons for the introduction of welfare state in the UK?

Asked by MaisyS (543points) September 10th, 2019

What is social exclusion and are there any strengths and limitations to defining poverty in such terms? And what is the welfare state form of government and why was it introduced in the UK?

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4 Answers

janbb's avatar

Is this a homework essay? We’re not allowed to help with those but a good research librarian should be able to point you to some good resources.

MaisyS's avatar

No this is some extra curricular research for some social work I’m carrying out. I’ve been researching through books mainly but these were some points I couldn’t find satisfactory answers to, in the books or online.

SmashTheState's avatar

I helped to facilitate a homeless encampment which sprung up on the lawn of city hall in Ottawa in response to growing unaffordability of housing and openly lawless brutalization and abuse of the homeless by the police department. We were there for two months before the city gave in to our demands. Those demands were two-fold: first, that the city find housing for every person in the encampment who wanted and needed housing, and second, that the city fund a formal study on homelessness in Ottawa with particular attention to treatment by police, to be acted upon by a committee of stake-holders.

As part of satisfying the latter part of our demands, the city funded a study comprised of a series of questions drawn up by researchers from the University of Ottawa designed to dig into the causes and experiences of the homeless, and paying homeless people an honorarium to take part in order to reach segments which wouldn’t otherwise be interested in participating.

The result of that study was interesting to say the least. We knew from anecdotal experience that a disproportionate number of people on the street came from government care and foster homes, but when we discovered that the number was actually between 70% and 80% we were astounded. That is a crazy number considering that people with those backgrounds make up less than 1% of the population.

What it shows is that poverty isn’t just about money, it’s about access to a network of resources which most people take for granted. Without friends and family to act as a safety net, the first time you have any kind of cash flow problem caused by illness, job loss, or just plain bad luck, you end up homeless, lose all your belongings, and become regarded as “damaged goods,” which prevents you from escaping. At this point you end up drawn into a perpetual cycle of petty crime, substance abuse, and police persecution which eliminates any possibility of changing the situation.

I remember seeing an interview with a billionaire who had gone bankrupt, and the journalist asked him what it was like to be poor. He laughed delightedly at her naivete and had to explain to her that he wasn’t poor and there was no difference in his lifestyle; he could only eat so much food, drive so many cars, and wear so much clothes. His friends would loan him a few million to tide him over until he got back on his feet. He would never be poor. This same situation works in reverse for poverty; even if you hand someone a chunk of money, a job, and a home, their ability to keep them is going to depend on having a safety net capable of smoothing over the rough patches during ineviitable emergencies or they’re going to lose it all again at some point.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^Reminds me of that saying…something about “we are our brother’s keeper”....

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