Poverty as Capability Deprivation

Poverty in today’s society is a very challenging and difficult set of circumstances that are derived from a number of different sources. Poverty is a social problem that impacts individuals and families in many communities and mandates corrective action and further analysis. Capability deprivation is a more powerful approach for finding ways to fight poverty than a focus on raising the incomes of the poor alone; because capability deprivation is not solely related to income, as other factors are relevant. Some of these factors include age, location, gender and social status, all of which contribute to the capability deprivation approach (Sen, p.1).  It is important to acknowledge that there are many variables within individual communities, and that conditions are not universal for all impoverished persons (Sen, p.1).  Direct experience with individuals who face poverty and providing assistance to these individuals is a critical component of their ability to succeed in a given environment, even when income is not changed significantly.  However, income is a significant factor and limitations on capability such as disability, are likely contributors to the level of income that an individual might earn (Sen, p.1.). In this manner, the capability approach is a more powerful sentiment than the income approach because there is significant potential which exists in many individuals that is never fully developed due to lack of opportunity and focus. Therefore, many people do not bring their vision to the world and earn the respect and income that they deserve. Nussbaum’s ten capabilities enhance Sen’s argument in promoting trust in the talents and abilities of individuals from different social classes and income levels.