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Poverty is the greatest social problem in the world. The word “poverty” itself has a meaning, which is the ‘condition of having income and/or wealth so low, resulting in a minimum standard of living condition. In its most extreme form, poverty can be defined as lack of basic human needs, insufficient resources – both material and nonmaterial – low income, poor housing, lack of health services, education, knowledge and culture. Poverty in Indonesia can sadly been found in both urban and rural settings. It is also shocking to realise that 16.7 percent of our population fall below the national poverty line. Furthermore, 38 percent of poor households in 2004 were not declared poor in the previous year. So why are our citizens becoming poor?There are many causes of the social phenomenon which is poverty. The primary factors which have been proven to lead to poverty include overpopulation, the unequal distribution of resources in the world economy, inability to meet a standard of living, the costs of living,  inadequate education and employment opportunities, environmental degradation, certain economic and welfare incentives. There are many examples of these issues within Indonesian, and it is true to say that our government are not doing enough to bridge the gap between the wealthy and the poor. Economic trends such as advertising and western products are also the cause of poverty within developing countries such as our own,(western products need to be imported from a foreign country, this causes a deficit in job opportunities in the home country. Thus, causes the living standards to further decrease and poverty rates to increase). Some countries might experience strong income growth within any period. This is not true for our country, we have experienced low income growth over a period of years now. Furthermore, Indonesia is trying to climb out of a recession. It is no wonder that many of our citizens are living in such conditions when the government can not pull us out of a recession. Such periods of economic recession affects young and less-educated people, who may have difficulty finding occupations. Furthermore, changes in the labour markets also contributed to the increase in our poverty levels.The Indonesian government can only provide a limited amount of help to prevent poverty. Our own resources are thin on the ground. It has been seen that this assistance does not fully help to reduce poverty. We have a minimal social security programme, which provides benefits during periods of difficulty. Especially in helping someone in poverty find work, accommodation and support. Programs like the ‘Anti-Poverty Programme’ is working hard to reduce the impact and effect of poverty, but is it really doing enough?The nature of poverty in the developed countries is completely different compared to the issues which face the developing countries. In developed countries, the majority of people commonly earn over two hundred times the income of the poorest developing countries. For this reason, developed nations usually measure the income level of poverty as a portion of average income or as an amount below which a person or family that does not have capability to supply basic needs. For people with low or no income, they will usually become homeless. Those in less extreme poverty often live in substandard and sometimes dangerous housing. Many of the poor in the developed countries have high rate of crime and violence. Surprisingly, the United States, although known for its wealth, surprisingly has a higher rate of poverty than most other developed countries. In conclusion, poverty can not be solve easily or quickly. But if governments begin to realise the true extent of the problem, then it can change. Education should become free, health care should become available and housing should be for all, not just the wealthy.Word count: 628

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