Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

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Social inequality is the existence of unequal opportunities and outcomes for individuals in different social positions or statuses in society. Social inequality is a multi-dimensional issue meaning there are different levels of inequality. There is inequality between individuals (gender, race, ethnicity, regions), Inequality within countries and Global inequality between countries. (UN Capital Development Fund, 2013. When looking to define poverty it is important to note that poverty can be separated into two categories, absolute poverty and relative poverty. Absolute poverty can be defined as, “a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter or education” (United Nations, 1995). Whereas Relative poverty is viewing poverty in comparison to the physical possession of others (Townsend, 1979). According to Townsend, when an individual lacks the resources to obtain the types of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are widely encouraged or approved, in the societies to which they belong, they are living in poverty (Townsend, 1979). This definition helps to measure the gap between the rich and the poor. Social exclusion can be defined as, processes that block basic individual or community rights, gags opportunities and basic resources that are often readily available to habitats of a society and vital to the well-being and social integration of a people. (Butler and Watt 2007). In other words, social exclusion deprives individuals of their rights and freedoms to fully engage on social aspects of the society i.e. in matters politics, social and economic. Inequality, poverty and social exclusion are all connected as they have a knock-on effect on one another. Inequality causes poverty and as a result, poverty causes social excision, this is known as the cycle of poverty. This essay will explain how these social issues are connected and interlink with one another.Inequality, poverty and social exclusion are topics that have previously been explored by social theorist such as Marxist. According to Marxist, the major cause of poverty is inequality or uneven distribution of wealth and income he says this a main consequence of capitalism. Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country’s industry is controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. Marxist argues that capitalism produces inegalitarian social structures and that inequality is transferred from one generation to another through the opportunities and environmental services that surround each individual. He believes that inequality, poverty, and social exclusion are interlinked but however cannot be eradicated without fundamental changes being made in the mode of production.Inequality is one of the leading causes of poverty in the UK. Inequality between individuals in society is known as social inequality, this refers to gender, race and ethnicity inequality. One form of social inequality which occurs in the U.K. is the gender gap. The gender gap prefers to inequality between men and women. The gender gap shows how unequal access to opportunities maintains inequality between the sexes. One aspect of the gender gap is the pay gap, which refers to the difference in wages and salaries between men and women. The gender pay gap for full-time employees in 2016 was 9.4%, meaning the average pay for full-time female employees was 9.4% lower than for full-time male employees. (Office for National Statistics, 2016). Due to this pay difference between men and women, women are more susceptible to relative poverty as they may not be able to afford the items that their male counterpart can as they get paid less. This shows how inequality can lead to poverty, in this case, relative poverty. However, on a bigger scale, inequality can lead to absolute poverty. Inequality in the distribution of money can cause absolute poverty as if money is not distributed equally, this creates a divide between the rich and the poor. Meaning the rich getting richer and the poor struggle to maintain survival and meet their basic human needs which could lead to starvation and homelessness i.e absolute poverty. Both forms of poverty, absolute and relative, could potentially lead to social exclusion. Levitas (1998) analyses the literature around the subject and provides three key social policies relating to the causes and solutions of social exclusion. She calls these; Redistribution Discourse (RED), Social Integration Discourse (SID) and Moral ‘Underclass’ Discourse (MUD). The first RED is firmly linked to poverty, it sees social exclusion as both a consequence and cause of poverty, its aims are to tackle poverty and redistribute the wealth, and more recently power. Its solution is mainly focused creating an inclusive society, which is what Lister states, is the antonym of social exclusion. SID, a social integrationist discourse, again sees social exclusion as a cause of poverty, but this time through the means of unemployment. Their solution is to support the unemployed whilst encouraging them to find work, effectively making sure everyone is economically active. Finally, MUD (right wing version), which places an increased emphasis on moral and cultural causes of poverty, and the ‘dangerous class’, the solution to social exclusion as Levitas states is full employment, with a reduction in benefits and return to traditional family values, in particular reducing the number of lone parents, and never married mothers). From Levitas’ analyse it is very clear to see there is a clear connection between poverty and social exclusion. The Urban Ecology is a visible example of how poverty leads to social exclusion. Urban ecology is the study of ecological processes in urban environments, this includes the study of ghettos. A ghetto is a part of a city that is occupied by the poor and minority groups, these areas are usually considered slum areas and often have high levels of crime and deviance. Individuals who live in ghettos are often marginalised and socially excluded from the rest of society and this all comes down to the fact that they are poor. They are usually trapped in the cycle of poverty and therefore have limited opportunities, therefore elucidating the impression that poverty leads to social exclusion which then leads to inequality. Relative poverty can also lead to social exclusion but on a smaller scale, for instance, if an individual was in relative poverty this would result in them unable to afford leisure activities that their peers can. Therefore limiting the opportunities they have to socialise with their peers which could result in them becoming socially excluded from their companions simply because they cannot afford to socialise. In conclusion, poverty, inequality and social exclusion are all connected and as a result, have a knock-on effect on one another. When looking into the causes of poverty, social exclusion and inequality must be considered in order to gain a clearer picture of the issue. Similarly, when looking into the causes of social exclusion, poverty and inequality must be considered as these social issues are all interlinked. These three social issues all play a part in contributing to an individual’s standard of life. These issues have previously been explored by several social theorists, one of which include Marxists who blamed these social issues on capitalism. Levitas also explored these social issues however her focused was in the literature surrounding these issues. 

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