Sample Sociology Essays on The Poverty Cycle

How do the production, trade, and consumption of coffee contribute to global inequality and poverty?

Coffee is a perennial cash crop mostly produced in the highland regions of Africa, Asia, and South America. In these areas, it forms part of the major foreign exchange earners. Europe, America, and the Far East include the key markets targeted for the exportation of coffee. Coffee farmers and producers are, however, disempowered in the value chain. They are exploited and hardly ever earn value for their produce. Dues paid for their products do not reflect a commensurate return on processed products. Laborers in the fields do not receive value for their input. Instead, they are subjected to long hours, dehumanizing working conditions, and poor pay. The Multinational processing companies add value to the coffee and sell it at over 25 times the price paid to the producer. As such, a farm laborer in a coffee farm is paid about $1 for a kilogram of unprocessed coffee produced while it is sold at $27 after processing. The discrepancy creates subservience of the farmer as the laborers work at the farm despite the riches it generates for other sectors of the economy. Farm laborers in peripheral and semi-peripheral countries are further hoodwinked and lured back into subservience using annual and bi-annual bonuses (Giddens 36). Core countries become richer at the expense of of developing and third world economies that are further disenfranchised.

As consumers, in what ways do we ourselves gain from – and thus contribute to – this global pattern of inequality and poverty?

Consumers willfully and/or passively reinforce the poverty cycle inherent in agriculture. Residents in urban centers make up the highest population utilizing consumer goods. Most of the urban residents constitute those directly involved in rural to urban migration motivated by the search for jobs, access, and economic emancipation, among other factors.  The youthful migrant population leaves the rural areas void of knowledge that is vital for best practice in production, hence retardation in production (Giddens 5). The use of traditional methods in farming results in poor yields as well as losses due to diseases and inadequate storage space; hence, perpetuating the poverty cycle additionally, migrants into urban areas provide skilled labor and market for the products that exploit the farmers. Wealth resultant of such exploits is repatriated to a few individuals that own these companies, further widening the economic gap between the rich and the poor. Consumers fail to hold retailers accountable for the value of product they consume ( Public Broadcasting Company 00:20:33-00:22:45). As such, farm laborers continue being shortchanged in the value chain. They, therefore, perpetuate the near slavery machinations commensurate of the inequality.

In what ways do we lose with regard to the wider consequences?

Mass economic disempowerment and the enrichment of few individuals lead to facadical economic growth. In such a scenario, the middle-income earners or working-class brackets that mostly generate revenues through the service industries and manufacturing industries, among other industries, thins, which results in general economic retardation due to the poor circulation of currency in the economy. A wide gap between the rich and the poor would also be realized in terms of availability and the utilization of social amenities.

What can we do to mitigate these problems?

Education has been vouched for as an emancipatory tool towards the realization of economic, social, and political autonomy. Ensuring a proper education to the populace equips the children with useful skills and knowledge towards breaking the cycle of poverty in society.


Governments all over the world have to formulate policies aligned with industrialization and the active use of technology. Technology has been used to create employment in a broad spectrum of fields. It has been employed in agriculture towards the realization of better crop yields, disaster preparedness, as well as mitigation of disaster upon their occurrence (Giddens 19). It has also been used in healthcare, monitoring, and survey of different phenomena. Policies also have to address such factors that perpetuate the poverty cycle, including early marriages, illiteracy, and access (Giddens 25).

Addressing the inequalities is achievable if their origins are targeted. Policy shoulld be formulated to compel retailers and end consumers to have an extra dime for the farm laborers. Such would not only enrich the farm laborer, but also reinforce the notion of free being superior compared to coerced and constrained labor.


Works Cited

Giddens, Antony. “Global Inequality.”P. P 1-53

Public Broadcasting Company. “Studio Socal: Ethical Food, From Farm to Table. “2019