Michael Harrington's The Other America

Improved Essays
The Other America
The Other America, by Michael Harrington provides the reader with an extremely vivid look inside poverty in America and the issues surrounding it. One of those issues is with the assistance provided, otherwise known as welfare. The assistance provided to those in poverty is not designed to benefit them, but was built by those with little understanding of poverty. Individuals apart of the Other America face barriers to accessing assistance. The type of assistance may not offer them what they need. Programs that appear to be what people need, but are blind to the reality of the Other America.
Harrington makes a significant point when he describes poverty as a vicious cycle, in various aspects. Often, poverty is passed on through generations. Poverty can also be tied to the area one lives, ethnic or racial group one belongs, mental illness, age, or other factors out of one’s control. Then, once they are in “The Other America”, systems within our society are set up keep them in place generation
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Members of the Other America are hidden because they are vulnerable, oppressed, and left without a voice to bring light to their plight. Politically speaking, they have not been represented, which plays a major role in fact that poverty is still a problem in the United States, a full 55 years after Harrington’s book was published.
Harrington brings up socialism and free enterprise to explain the welfare state. He introduces the reader to the “fundamental paradox of the welfare state” [164] in which the systems were not built to help those in poverty, but instead, to benefit others in society that can help themselves. Welfare was built by people that had no experience with poverty and little understanding of the needs poverty creates. The welfare state is sadly deficient when it comes to providing the correct resources, materials, services, and other needs in an effective manner to those entrenched in

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