Predeterminism in Socioeconomic Disparities In America
BY ANUSHA SENAPATI '24
America puts in all her effort to ensure your life is predetermined, with no exemptions. Currently, the United States is considered a capitalist country, which means that the political and economic industries are run on profit, generated from our individual paychecks. Throughout the many years the country has been implementing this system, the destiny of Americans, especially for our immigrants and minorities, has been set in stone. However, this predeterminism inserts a new problem: the cycle of generational poverty. As minority populations are unable to achieve socioeconomic stability, they become stuck in a never ending pattern of inescapable poverty, making it evermore important for us to understand how to break this cycle.
Capitalism has a structure that creates winners and losers, with the wealthy accumulating vast sums of wealth and power while the poor struggle to make ends meet. Additionally, capitalism incentivizes businesses to pay their workers as little as possible in order to maximize profits, which can result in poverty and income inequality. According to a report by the Economic Policy Institute, the top 1% of households in the US holds more wealth than the bottom 90% combined. This extreme concentration of wealth and power means that those at the top can often use their resources for personal benefit. For instance, the wealthy can influence the political system and shape policies that exploit those with less resources. Access to basic needs such as healthcare and education are often tied to an individual's ability to pay, further perpetuating poverty in families with a low income background. Unfortunately, capitalism in America seems to be here to stay, with its origins stemming from the early 1600s. So if the system cannot change, then our next step should be to turn to ourselves.
It is important to recognize the significant impact that our mindset and economic system can have on the destiny of immigrants who come to America in search of a better future. Many immigrants are more likely to live in poverty than their native-born counterparts, with a poverty rate of 12.1% compared to 7.8% for non-immigrant Americans, according to a 2020 report by the Migration Policy Institute. This issue needs to be addressed, which requires a commitment to creating policies and initiatives that promote equity and access for marginalized groups, including expanding education and training programs, providing affordable housing and healthcare, and creating more job opportunities that pay a living wage. We must be cognizant of the ways in which capitalism impacts marginalized communities, and work towards creating a more just and equitable society for all.
Breaking the cycle of generational poverty and providing hope for a brighter future for immigrants requires a focus on delivering equitable education and resources. For example, students from low-income families may face additional barriers to academic success, such as lack of access to technology or tutoring services. Additionally, providing access to resources such as affordable housing, healthcare, and job training programs can alleviate the financial stressors that often contribute to the perpetuation of poverty. However, we should note that equitable does not mean equal, as different individuals and communities have unique needs and challenges that must be addressed in order to provide truly meaningful support. That is why we need to provide targeted resources and support to these students, and therefore attempt to level the playing field and create a more equitable educational environment.
I urge you to take a step back, and look through the perspective of your fellow Americans, especially in your own community, here at AB. Changing our destiny is possible if we take the time to internalize the severity of the system meant to help us. Some ways we can combat this are encouraging accessibility to resources, and simply being able to acknowledge the faults of our system more openly. Destiny is fickle, so let’s do our best to untangle ourselves from the grasp of Capitalist America.