In comparison of the poverty level in the US with other countries, Macionis indicates that the people in the US who live below the poverty line are in a far better position than majority of people around the globe. People in the world are classified under three major categories. There is the first world which is a group of industrialized and rich nations. There is the second world which are mainly socialists and les industrialized and finally the third worlds which are countries rated as poor and non industrialized. The low income countries are those countries which follow cultural radiations; they comprise of agrarian societies and are severely impoverished. These countries also have limited industrial technology. The people who live in low income countries live in unsafe housings, hunger and disease. Therefore poverty highly characterizes the people living in poor countries.  The aspects of poverty are mainly seen in African countries which are characterized by high malnutrition rate among the people and high child mortality rate (Macionis, 2009, pp 200).

 In explaining the causes of poverty around the world, sociologists have come up with various approaches and theories in the study of poverty.  The culture of poverty is a concept that was introduced by Oscar Lewis, an American anthropologist.  He aimed to study   the poor people living in the urban areas of Puerto Rico and Mexico.  This approach of culture of poverty entails a living design which is passed from the old generation to the younger generation. People who have lived in poverty in poverty for generation have the mentality that they are helpless, marginalized and inferior. The young generations adopts this attitude and just live the present life instead of investing for the generations to come which makes them fatalistic.

 Families in this condition are characterized high rates of divorce, abandonment of children and mothers living the families to be headed by the women.  Such people who have adopted the poverty culture make little use of hospitals and banks, therefore making poverty to be highly perpetuated from one generation to another. According to  Lewis  he  finds  the  approach  of  the  poverty  culture applicable  in third world countries.  This explains that the poor are responsible for their own poverty who has adopted the   orientation of the present –time (Macionis, 2009, pp 243).

 The responsible society approach is mainly based on ethical values to be practiced by the richer world countries to help the less fortunate countries.  The poor nations have limited possession of economic goods. The rich countries on the other hand are fully endowed with natural resources and material goods.  These countries are responsible for providing foreign aid to poor societies in terms of investment capital which a raise agricultural productivity in a developing country.  The aid can also be in terms   of technical assistance or financial also as to build power factories and plants. The poor countries being over dependent on the develop nation causes poverty.  Individuals will always be reluctant waiting to be given from the developed nations. Such poor countries may even feel that the developed nations are responsible to their poverty and therefore are supposed to be aided in all ways.

 The responsible society approach explains the social conflict between the developed and the developing nations. There is the belief that the wealthy nations who are powerful   exploit the less powerful groups as explained in Karl Max theory. This exploitation is in terms of economic and money which brings about social disorder.    


Macionis, John J. 2009. Society: The Basics (10th edition). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.