Chapter 7
Mr. Garcia
Religion 10
1. What is poverty?
The experience of not having the basic things one needs to live a full
and dignified life.
2. Briefly describe each of the following characteristics of poverty: the
nearness of death, marginalization, living on the edge.
Poor people experience the nearness of death as a result of
chronic hunger, health problems, and violence. The average life
span of the world’s poorest people is only forty years.
Poverty brings a sense of marginalization, which is the denial of full
participation in the economic, social, and political life of society and
an inability to influence decisions that affect one’s life.
Poor people live on the edge because it can take only one extra
challenge or misfortune in their life for them to lose a home or a
3. Describe the cycle of poverty.
The lack of basic resources creates barriers that prevent people from
obtaining those and other resources. For instance, having good
transportation and good work often depend on one another, so that
when one of them is no longer available, the other becomes difficult
to obtain as well.
4. What is the basic premise behind Dr. Abraham
Maslow’s theory the hierarchy of needs?
Only when people’s basic needs are met can they move
on to meet higher-level needs.
5. What is the option for the poor and vulnerable?
The choice to make the needs of society’s poorest and
most vulnerable members a top concern.
6. Why does the church say that people deserve fair
access to the resources of the earth and the human
So they can fully develop their own unique ways of
loving God and others.
7.How might the denial of the rights of workers
(discussed in chapter 6) affect the cycle of poverty?
8. Compare and contrast how the two forms of chronic hunger affect people.
Both forms mean that a person does not have enough food to give the body the
nutrients needed to grow and maintain itself properly. A person who is
starving gets so few calories that the body starts feeding on itself, destroying
its ability to function. When a person is malnourished, the person’s diet is
extremely limited and he or she does not receive the vitamins and minerals
needed for proper physical and mental development.
9. Describe four types of hidden homelessness.
• When people’s housing costs consume too much of their income, they are
vulnerable to hunger and other economic stresses, including the loss of
• When people live in inadequate housing, they must contend with housing
that is unsafe and broken down—living conditions that degrade human
• When people do not have their own housing, they sometimes must double
up with other families, leading to unsafe living conditions.
• When people live in unsafe homes because of violence, crime, and
substance abuse, they do not have a safe, nurturing home.
10. Why is education one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty?
Good education opens up good job opportunities, helps us develop our full
potential as human beings, and gives us self-confidence.
11. In your own words, summarize four factors that contribute to poverty.
• When the purchasing power of a person’s wages goes down an the cost of
available housing goes up, people are more likely to be homeless, hungry, or
subject to other economic stress.
• When the government gives only limited aid to people struggling with poverty,
the people are not given the real tools they need to break the cycle of poverty—
decent housing, job training, and so on.
• When people do not have health insurance, the financial strain of a major illness
or injury can lead to the loss of housing. When people who are treated for
mental and physical illness do not have health insurance, they can lose their
housing because of the costs, a condition that leads to more poor health. Those
who are mentally ill often lack the health care and social services necessary to
maintain housing.
• Hopelessness leads to poverty because people do not see a way out, they live
only for the moment, or they escape through substance abuse.
12. Review the five characteristic of poverty listed at the beginning of this chapter.
Choose tree of the them, briefly describing how each is evident in one of the
poverty-related problems discussed in this section.
13. Give two examples of the devastating effects of bad water and poor sanitation.
• Adults contract cholera, typhoid, and diarrhea.
• Young children die of dehydration caused by diarrhea.
• Malaria affects 800 million people annually, killing one million infants in Africa
each year.
14. How does the church say that wealthier nations should treat
Wealthy nations should welcome refugees.
15. List three common myths about hunger and give a summary
of why they are false.
• Myth 1. There is not enough food to feed the world’s growing
population. This is false because enough food is currently
grown worldwide to supply every child, woman, and man with
3,600 calories a day, enough to cause weight gain.
Redistributing food would eliminate hunger.
• Myth 2. Most hunger is caused by droughts and natural
disasters. This is false because for centuries, traditional
cultures have developed strategies for coping with food loss
due to natural disasters. Civil wars contribute to hunger, and
deforestation can contribute to droughts.
• Myth 3. The world’s poor people only need to work harder to
obtain the food they need. This is false because poor people
work hard every day and often cannot support themselves
because they do not have the resources necessary for selfreliance.
16. What are three consequences of colonialism?
• Economies were undermined.
• Export crops replaced crops grown to feed local populations.
• Native populations were forced off their land.
• Powerful elites came to control most economic and political power.
• Violent conflict was fueled by poorly drawn borders.
17. Briefly describe three modern barriers to development for poor nations.
• Export each crop replace crops grown to feed local population, and multinational
corporation extract the resources from developing nations.
• A small elite control most of the natural resources and power.
• Wealthy nations offer only small amounts of aid, and this aid often reinforces the
interests of wealthy nations and the ruling elite in the countries receiving the aid.
• Discrimination based on religion, gender, and ethnicity cause poverty.
• Conflict is fueled by arms sales.
18. Briefly describe how the debt crisis affects the world’s poorest people.
Money that could ease the suffering of poor people through social programs is
spent on debt repayment to banks and wealthy nations. Repaying the debt
stifles economic development, so that the debt will likely never be repaid in full.
19. How would the world’s wealthiest countries and poorest countries relate
differently if they had a power-with relationship rather than a power-over
relationship? Answers will vary.

Chapter 7 Study Questions