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What is the Vicious cycle of poverty?
The Vicious Cycle of Poverty refers to the repetition of unfavorable conditions that occur once you become poor and which do not get better but rather keeps adding more problems that add up to increase more poverty unless there is a break that occurs. This break might be started by the poor individual or by someone who alleviates the poverty. I am explaining this concept purely from real life occurrences that I have seen and may not be based on what other theories of Vicious Cycle of Poverty that you may know.
The problems encountered by the poor will be stated and the parts of the circle drawn would be explained. I would try to give a solution according to my best of knowledge. I believe that in the Vicious Cycle of Poverty, the individual can help himself and not necessarily need an external help.
In a vicious cycle, the cycle never ends and one problem will lead to another one. The vicious cycle of poverty is laden with so many problems. Think of any problem associated with lack of money in your country in you will find in the Vicious Cycle of Poverty.
Explanation of the Vicious Cycle of Poverty
- Let me start from Low income or lack of money or low socioeconomic status.
- Lack of money means you cannot eat food properly, no good food means malnutrition, which then leads to disease and getting sick.
- When you are sick, you cannot afford health care because you have no money to pay for medical bills which means you can easily die. Apart from inability to pay for bills, your sickness makes unable to even work to get the little money you initially get that was not enough.
- At the end of the day, you are sick, cannot pay bills and cannot work to get money and you are left with accumulating bills for house rent or you move and sleep on the streets.
- In the streets, you are exposed to robbery, to abuse especially in girls, and to drug abuse and joining of bad friends.
- With your bad friends you go about stealing and robbing which then gets you into trouble and you get caught and taken to prison or even get killed.
- In the streets with bad friends you get infected easily through sharing of sharps and indecent practices that can get you HIV infections and other sexually transmitted infections or Hepatitis from sharps which then shortens your life.
The above explanation is one sided as it looks at just one angle of the many problems. In the Vicious Cycle of Poverty, any problem will always lead to more problems.
Problems of the poor in the vicious cycle of poverty
- Lack of Money
- Inability to buy adequate food
- Lack of food leads to begging or stealing. Stealing leads to more people hating the person or being caught and taken to prison.
- Unable to buy clothes
- Ill-health due to malnutrition
- Low productivity due to ill health
- Lack of access to medical care
- Low life expectancy
- Dirty Jobs to get little paychecks
- Easy transmission of infections
- Servants to the rich: easy death as they are sent to mingle with other fellow poor people in the market- easy targets to terrorist attacks, stray bullets, infections such as Ebola, etc
- Child abuse during hawking, lack of food leads to prostitution, unwanted pregnancy and more burden of feeding a child even when you cannot feed yourself
- Psychological trauma kills self-esteem: laughed by people around as you cannot afford food, clothing or shelter for your family. Hence you feel inferior that you cannot do anything for yourself. This leads to drunkenness, smoking, drug abuse and social vices. Drunkenness leads to short life expectancy, leads to domestic and gun violence. Smoking leads to low life expectancy due to lung cancer; drug abuse leads to low life expectancy and leads to social vices and being arrested and locked in prison.
- Lack of money for education, hence cannot read and cannot improve skills or improve self towards improving living condition, leading to more scarcity of money
- He is always at home because of lack of Job. His idleness makes him have sex often with his wife whenever they have little to eat as he sees the little he was able to get as a celebration. The wife gets pregnant and gives birth to more children. More children lead to more responsibilities; more problems and more burden of poverty thereby increasing more burdens to the society as the children most likely would steal and cause problems in the society all in the means to survive.
This Vicious Cycle of Poverty can only be broken by an individual when he or she realizes that the problem lies within him/her. No matter the help you offer to an illiterate poor man, he must first learn how to read first before he can improve his condition. You may offer to help him school but he may not be willing to go to school or become educated. In fact, some of them deliberately refused going to school and so when you offer an External aid of going to school, such an individual will unlikely complete school.
Amazing is the fact that even when he cannot write or read, he still feels you should give him money or he still feels he can handle money very well when given to him. It shows they are more concerned with money than with the process of getting and accumulating the money. This type of case is purely caused by Laziness (that is, the person wants the benefits without the hard work). Giving money to such an individual is a waste of time, helping them to go to school is a waste of time. It means they are the ones that will help themselves and unless he realizes it himself that he has to go through the hard work, he will never become rich and can never be helped.
Breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty
The Vicious Cycle of Poverty can be broken but it takes longer than most people think. Sometimes, breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty and completely being free from poverty takes decades or even a generation as a father may start the process of breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty and a child completes it.
Take for instance, your father could not go to school and he is poor and has 5 children of which you are the first born who struggled to go to school. When you complete school and get a Job, some of your siblings might have been married with Children or even none are married, all of them now depend on you for financial help. Can you then feed all the 4 siblings including your parents and yourself? Will you marry? How will you feed your wife and kids? And then feed the wives and kids of all your siblings? If you will put them in school, then how many years will it take for the cycle of poverty to be broken?
Well, the truth is that the Vicious Cycle of Poverty can be broken and when you are determined, you can do that.
I will write more about breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty in another article but in summary, I will explain with listings of the major things you will need to overcome poverty,
Processes of breaking the Vicious Cycle of Poverty
- Be Educated or at least learn how to read and write
- Read vastly from books that will improve your skills such as communication skills, human relationship, business and entrepreneurship and finances
- Be determined, consistent and focused.
- Work together with your entire family as working alone to get out of poverty will bring setbacks from other members of family as they may not align with your ideology
- Change your mind set by providing value in exchange for money instead of expecting others to just help you
- Stay healthy and have sound mind as depression may set in when you allow it
Dr. Brown is the founder of Jotscroll, he is a Medical Doctor, Entrepreneur, and author. Dr. Razi Brown holds a medical degree from the University of San Diego. He has invested in many startups and is currently working on his fifth book to be published in the upcoming year.