The world has always been divided into two economic classes- the rich and the poor, or as Marx would like to say, the ‘have’ and the ‘have not’. This inequality is created in a seamless, natural way, and maybe it cannot be really recovered on a structural level.
Poverty usually deprives the people living in such a condition from many advantageous opportunities or conditions which are enjoyed by the people who do not live in poverty (they might not necessarily be rich, even being well off serves the purpose).
This limits the scope for the development of all such individuals who are born and brought up conditions of abject poverty. However, we cannot say that growing up in poverty is essentially a bad or detrimental thing. We cannot say that no good happens out of it or we do not benefit anything from that experience.
We have plenty of real life examples of ‘rags to riches’ stories which show us that many a time, this lack of a smooth, stable lifestyle creates a sense of determination among the deprived which eventually goes a long way to empower them to overcome the same situation.
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Negative consequences of growing up in poverty
Growing up in poverty can restrict what kind of amenities one is subjected to. Such facilities include health, hygiene, sanitation, education, transportation, and many other facilities which can be considered to be very important, especially during the developmental years of any child.
They can hamper the physical and mental growth of any child and therefore create long lasting effects in the sort of the adult they turn out to eventually be. But, in such cases, we cannot directly blame the parents for limiting the exposure of their children as even they are constantly being systematically deprived from the same facilities.
As already mentioned, this a structural system of inequality and no individual action can possibly solve this defect. This can also be seen as a continuous source of exploitation, as the resources which are not being enjoyed by the poor inevitably are drained by the other section of the society.
This constant drain of potential resources- both natural and artificial- is one of the most adverse consequences of growing up in poverty, and it is even more important because it continues to maintain this economic imbalance as it has been existing in our society.
Therefore, living in poverty for generations prevent the poor to rise from their otherwise not so lofty stature and therefore stops their actual growth in both literal and figurative ways. Another problem is that through the lack of proper education, the poor are almost always forced to find menial jobs which go hand in hand with the education they receive, if they in fact receive any of it.
The problem is that, the people growing up in poverty do not get any extensive knowledge about the skills one needs to survive in the cutthroat real life competition out there, and since they are not properly equipped to deal with the real life challenges, they automatically always lag behind, although it is not their fault in any way whatsoever.
Another problem is that the people living in poverty somehow become very vulnerable to any sort of opportunities that might open up for them, and they might easily dive into such opportunities without realizing how right or wrong it might be to do so.
This is how they become susceptible to heinous crimes such as smuggling, terrorism or human trafficking. It is indeed surprising how far some people are willing to go for some financial security and stability, and they are obviously not to be blamed, even if they do not count the probable problems or repercussions their actions might have on them and their close ones in general.
Needless to say, once entangled in such webs of crime, it is really difficult for someone to regain normalcy in their lives.
Positive consequences of growing up in poverty
Not having something can just not make people want it desperately, but can also allow them to work hard towards living a life which would let them enjoy all the things they have not been really able to enjoy in their lives before.
Therefore, lack can be a chief source for one’s motivation and pushes people to achieve things on their own which the system had prevented them for achieving.
We have heard many real life stories of performing artists and sports persons and about how they started off their careers with basically nothing to their favour but later on they went to turn all the tables and be both inspiring and successful.
Another factor which should also be considered is that poverty just might help towards building one’s character. For example, the possibility of being spoils almost gets eliminated when someone is brought up in poverty. Also, poverty has its disadvantages but it also lessens the distractions one might encounter in everyday life.
Growing up in poverty obviously has its ups and downs, like pretty much everything else; but it is not like the grass is absolutely greener on the other side. Being brought up in poverty also has its benefits and when one is undergoing that procedure, it might be their natural tendency to not understand what good it is doing to them but eventually they do.
But we also need to understand and make others understand that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with either the condition of poverty or the people who have grown up in such conditions. Once we all recognize and start to realize these truths, dealing with other such people become somehow more easy and systematic, and also, in some ways, unbiased.
The problem with our society is how they link one person’s abilities to be successful in their lives to their immediate social and economic standing in the society and this misconception can completely destroy one’s chances to improve in life.
Therefore, if we deal with our understanding of the society we live in without any overt prejudices, poverty will no longer be a thing we look down upon instead, and it might turn into a thing we want to overcome as a society.