Social drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter or education”

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 habitants
of a society and vital to the wellbeing 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


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 surrounds
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.

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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
ccurs 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 ther basic human needs which could lead to starvation and
homelesness 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 with 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 increases 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 on the literature surrounding these