What is our responsibility for poverty

Three million children in Germany live in poverty : Who is responsible for the scandalous number?

Poverty is not fate, not a genetic defect, not a force majeure. Poverty is made by people. Poverty in wealthy states only exists because it is tolerated and ignored or even politically wanted, for example because the poor work for lower wages. This leads to the paradoxical phenomenon of an affluent society.

Almost three million children in Germany, one of the richest countries in the world, live in poverty, a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation found. More than a fifth of the youngest grow up in shortages, which the pandemic has exacerbated, where parents work part-time or as mini-jobbers. The crisis clearly reveals where class divides run.

Many teachers stated that they were unable to reach around 20 percent of the children while the school was closed, which corresponds exactly to the calculated poverty rate. When it comes to homeschooling and working from home, families who have a house and a garden, children's rooms with desks, good computers and printers have an advantage. And education.

The study calls for a clearer view of child poverty. Strictly speaking, however, there are no “poor children”. There are poor adults whose status children depend on. Poor adults exist as long as societies accept the basic parameters of poverty.

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In the Corona crisis, the playgrounds were blocked by a red and white flutter tape. But beyond any crisis, an invisible barrier separates families with and those without financial, social and cultural resources. The required basic security can change something about this - but actually only something.

Poverty is not just material. In poor milieus, weighting is often simply different. Money finds its way into video games, tattoos, nail studios or smartphones, into comforting, distracting entertainment. Aha - are the poor themselves to blame? Not at all. Neoliberal contempt for people who are not the winners of their fortune is doubly and triply astray. Statistically, intelligence and potential are evenly distributed across all milieus. But opportunities can only be seized by those who have got to know and recognize them.

The state must ensure good educational facilities

An additional sum in the account is welcome, of course, it will stimulate the economy, yes, and that is also good for the tax authorities. Nonetheless, the state is primarily in demand as the builder of an architecture of opportunities. Their building sites are and will remain the educational institutions, kindergartens and schools.

Only there can be acquired the social and cultural capital that breaks the self-recruiting of poor milieus, such as in Berlin Marzahn-Nord or Wedding, in the Mannheim Benz barracks or the prefabricated buildings in Bitterfeld-Wolfen.

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Every year the Bosch Foundation awards the German School Prize for exemplary models. Great examples of best practice remain as solitaires without these schools making schools nationwide. Knowing politics as well as pedagogy, good school means: nationwide free school lunches, quotas for the proportion of migrants, tutoring and social, cultural and digital support without additional services from parents.

And everyone knows that the billions invested are pure prevention, that they enormously reduce the follow-up costs of poverty in the health and social system. Because poverty, as is well known, has a cheap effect. But poverty is expensive. It is always more expensive than getting rid of it.

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