your 1st custom essay order

15discount is your discount code
Order now

Self-reliance refers to the condition of one’s own capabilities, resources, judgment and independence. These factors must all be present if we are to say that an individual is self-reliant. Being self-reliant is one thing that every single person on earth strives towards, since it is not their intention to remain poor and begging for the rest of their lives. The reason why we talk of capabilities is because this is what defines if a person can be able to do certain things for himself without having to rely on other persons. At the same time there are certain factors that count here, as the paper discusses.

A person must be self-reliant in terms of his judgment. This is where it is expected that an individual makes decisions relying on his/her judgment, and not relying on other people to make the decisions for him or her. An individual must be independent with the resources. These include economic resources. A person who survives by borrowing money is not self-reliant. A person, who does not have such resources to help lead a comfortable life, is also not self-reliant. He or she will certainly have problems in the course of his or her existence (Kassin 124).

Self-reliance must also come with independence. This is where one does not have to rely on other people for survival and existence. Such a person can effectively survive, make major decisions, and lead a comfortable life without many problems, and overreliance on other persons. Various groups of people have stood out to defend, and talk about the value and act of self-reliance. It is important that this is done, especially with the prevailing hard economic times currently, in the epoch of global crisis. There have been contributions by conservative and liberal groups, concerning the issue with conservatives arguing that in history, families have always been self-reliant. This, indeed, is reality, in my opinion. The historical type of family certainly had greater level of self-reliance, than the modern type of family do. The reasons for this assertion are diverse, and range from physiological to social, and economical.

The traditional type of family had a lot of self-reliance in terms of capabilities. In most societies, roles were well specified, and as such very clear. It was the function of most family heads, for example, to ensure that the family was well taken care of, and that it eventually succeeded in all that it did. It was important that this be carried forward from one generation to another. The actions, such as keeping the house in order, in terms of day-to-day house chores were performed by females; wives and daughters. This leads to the popular believe by conservatives that this society was self-reliant (Choi 56).

The society then had a lot of resources. Survival was not difficult. Most families survived on such activities as agriculture. Some of the agricultural products were also used in the course of trade, where they were exchanged for other goods and services. Barter trade was the basis of the then trade (Stein 75). The kind of society then was also independent in judgment and actions. There was peace and tranquility prevailing in the traditional societies. People felt more secure then they do now.

The current society is, however, not so much self-reliant today. This causes the difference in opinion between conservative groups and the liberal groups. Conservatives believe that poverty cannot be controlled. The liberal politicians, on the other hand, say that poverty is a state of mind, and can be alleviated through over thinking the situation. Conservatives argue that poverty is not something that one has control over. It is not one’s choice to be born in a poor family, and as such, one might not have control for his or her current state.

On the other hand, liberal thinkers believe that by working hard, as well as identifying the talents that are given to everyone, one is likely to have a great extent of self-reliance. To some extent, the 21st century can explain that the traditional way of life was better than what the liberal thinkers have for an argument. The 20th century was characterized by high levels of overreliance on each other. This was the period when there was a lot of colonization going on. Most states were not independent, and as such, were relying on the colonizing power for a majority of things. The colonizing power was also supposed to make major decisions for them (Huckstep 61).

There has also been looming poverty in the 20th century. This means that a majority of people are not self-reliant economically. They have to rely on help from other persons. Liberal thinkers, however, argue that this is under one’s control, and that the world, where no one is poor, can be achieved.

Conservatives tend to adopt a cultural explanation of poverty as opposed to structural one. They think of the traditional society, the culture and norms of that society, and use this to explain why people are poor. The liberal political spectrum, on the other hand, explains poverty in terms of structure (Nation 52). Conservatives tend to be racists, however. They dwell more on the different social classes that exist in America, and compare their standards of life. The liberal thinker, on the other hand, uses logics to explain the existence of poverty, and study its structure deep within.

The causes of poverty in real sense include political instability. This is where there is no stable government to control distribution of wealth. Under such circumstances, wealth goes only to a few people.

Poverty may also be caused by rural urban migration. People leave the rural areas where there is plenty of land for farming and construction, and go to towns looking for jobs to survive.

Poor management of funds is another reason of poverty. A lot of people spend more than they can save. Majority of them are left in a looming debt crisis that they are supposed to sort.

In terms of countries, poverty may also be caused by overreliance on foreign aid. This is where governments do not want to exploit their resources, and be independent. They continuously take loans that they will service for a long time (Dietz 169).

It is advisable that families try to save as much as possible. This will reduce borrowings. Saving also helps families to build a certain investment in future. Without saving, it would be difficult for families to earn money for investing in their activities, as well as educating the children.

Families should also work hard enough to alleviate poverty, as opposed to sit and wait for the government to make policies that will help them. They should engage in such economic activities as agriculture to be able to earn some extra amount of money.


It is important that families unite to avoid rifts today. These are a major cause of poverty since every individual goes ahead to pursue his/her own interests in the family, at the expense of the interests of family activities (Townsend 209). Management of funds is also very important. This has to be done with the greatest level of skill possible. It is because of mismanagement that poverty continues to loom. Money should be used for the right purpose. This is where planning steps now in. Improper planning makes people suffer the crisis of poverty. If not checked on, there might not be any positive change.

Need more Sociology Essay Examples?

Related essays

  1. Sociology as a Science
  2. Poverty in Africa
  3. Social Support during Injury
  4. Social Networking