Social development is a term that is used in reference to that process which translates into social structures transformation, in such a way as to enhance a society’s capacity to attain its objectives. Consciousness enables a society to develop. Conversely, it is through organizations that social consciousness is able to develop. A subconscious process within a given society comes out as conscious knowledge, thanks to the presence of pioneering persons within such a society. This way, a society may be said to experience development (Tures 281).
That is why we talk of development as a process, as opposed to a program. The powers of development more often emanates from its subtle elements, as opposed to material objects. On the other hand, it is important to note here that not all forms of social change haves the potential to realize development. When we are in a position to quantitatively expand the activities that may be in existence within a given society, then we may be best placed to realize growth and development.
Development is implications of a qualitative change with respect to the manner in which a given society is able to undertake its activities. This may be in the form of progressive behavior or even attitudes of the members of the population (So 146). In addition, it could also come in the form of individual in such a society embracing social organizations that are more effective.
There is also the issue of adopting technology that is more advanced, and which may very well have been developed from a different society, implying that development often entails borrowing of technology. Causes of development and underdevelopment Both the political as well as the social institutions are charged with the responsibility of ensuring that they establish a context through which group and individual behavior are supposed to give the necessary resources for the survival of individuals.
The manner in which individuals live or act shall be dependent on the social structure that supports them (Grancelli 1995). In line with this, social justice seeks to ensure that the social structures that have been established along with the available social institutions are able to fulfill the basic needs of human beings. Often times however, the social institutions within a society shall experience political exclusions, exploitation or worse still, uneven access to the available resources.
One of the questions that we need to be asking ourselves at this point is why we tend to have such a large economic disparity between on the one hand, the third world countries and on the other hand. , the developed countries. An explanation has been provided to the effect that poor nations often lack institutions that are in a position to support growth (Andersen & Taylor 2005). Since both the good as well as the bad institutions developing still persists, it is very likely then that we can expect underdevelopment to take place.
Another argument that tries to explain the causes of underdevelopment is that poor educations fir the individuals of poor economies is another causes. However, one would be tempted to questions the level of satisfaction that the tow explanation provides. If we were to explore the first explanation, nowhere does it attempt to offer an explanation as to why those economies that are characterized by poor institutions tend to go on despite the presence of societies that though being poor are nevertheless quite democratic.
The other explanation could also be taken to task, since it fails to offer an explanation as to why we have poor levels of education in such a society. It is however quite possible to attempt reconciliation at these two explanations through an argument that the root cause of underdevelopment could; be traced to “the initial distribution of factor endowments” (Andersen & Taylor 2005). On the other hand, there are instances whereby poor policies on education may very well be regarded as the immediate cause of underdevelopment.
All the same, a deeper insight into this issue reveals that there are other underlying initial conditions that are worth of exploration first, such as the initial education distribution, which plays a role in political constituencies that may be found in a given economic set up, the powers that they hold, and also the incentives at their disposal. As a general term, social change is used in reference to the changes in the nature of social structure, social behavior, social institutions, or even a change with respect to a society’s social relations.
At a time when the pattern of behavior of a majority of the people within a society change, then a social change may be said to be taking place (Maiese 2003). However, it is important to note her that such a change in the pattern of behavior has to be both sustainable and visible, in order for it to qualify as a form of social change. At a time when members of a given society are in deviance of cultural values that they may have inherited over the years from past generations, we may then expect a rebellion to occur against a system that could have already been established in such a society.
Again, this action seeks to result in an alteration of the social order within that particular society. Another way of looking at social change is from the point of view that is may be an action or event that impacts on individual members of a certain group whose shares similar characteristics and values. In addition, it may also be an advocacy act that may in the long-run cause change to occur within a society in a formative way. Poverty as a social issue in the Dominican Republic Social issues have been defined as those matters that impact on the majority of the individuals within a society either directly or indirectly.
In addition, social issues are often treated as problems to such members of the society, if not controversial, from the moral perceptive of a society (Maiese 2003). As such, violence, poverty, crime injustice, gun control, discrimination and abortion as just but some of the social issues that we may identify. In addition, social issues also tend to bear a correlation to a community’s fabric, and this also takes into account the conflict that may ensue from the various members of a community, and which often times appears to be beyond the control of a single member of a society.
Following the definition of a social issue, it is therefore the intention of this research paper to address poverty as a social issue affecting the members of the society in the Dominican Republic. In line with this, the research question for this research paper is, how has poverty as a social issues, affected the social structures and institutions that serves the members of society at the Dominican Republic? Close to one third of all the young people whose age is between 15 and 24 and living in the Dominican republic have been identified as being unemployed.
This is almost twice the number of adults who are unemployed. A report that was recently released by the World Bank indicates that currently, employers within the Dominican Republic are finding it hard to locate employees, and specifically, those who have administrative, language and management skills (World Bank 2006). In 2003, the Dominican Republic underwent a banking crisis that led to the collapse of the biggest bank in the nation. As a result of this development, the country’s currency-the Dominican peso- experienced a depreciation rate of 100 percent.
Consequently, this had to affect the poverty rate of the nations, and it rose by 15 percent. Moreover, the number of individuals living below the poverty line was also seen to increase by as much as 31 percent (Encyclopedia of the nations 2008). Consequently, this had to affect the poverty rate of the nations, and it rose by 15 percent. Moreover, the number of individuals living below the poverty line was also seen to increase by as much as 31percent amongst the urban dwellers.
On the other hand, those living in the rural areas were hit the hardest, because the poverty rate rose by a massive 45 percent. Based on the statistics that have been released buy the World Bank, there was also a 13 percent rise in the numbers of Dominicans that are living under extreme conditions of poverty (Encyclopedia of the nations 2008). Poverty in the Dominican Republic has also led to an increase in the number of young people who often suffer from malnutrition.
The result of this is that such individuals have a tendency to drop from school, thereby engaging in crime and violence. Given that development is directly associated with the level of education that the members of the society receives, it can only be expected that the rate of development in the Dominican Republic may not be impressive, if the school drop out rate of the young people is anything to go by. Following the 2003 economic slump in the Dominican Republic, the unemployment rate amongst the youth was seen to rise to about 35 percent.
In unison, the nation’s system of schooling has been identified by a World Bank report to be the least effective both within the Caribbean, and also in the whole of the Latin America (World Blank 2006). Close to 8 percent of the entire nation’s young people whose age is between 15 and 24 years have been identified as being illiterate. According to some 2002 census data, about 762,000 young Dominicans, whose age is from 15 to 29 years, and who constitute approximately 33 percent of the country’s entire population, were found to lack in basic education.
In addition, about 913,000 young Dominicans of the age between 20 and 29 years were found by the report to lack a secondary education certificate. Andrea Vermehren, a social protection specialist with the World Bank has noted that a majority of the youths in the Dominican Republic usually drop out of school at the age of 13 or 14 years (World Bank 2006), so as to seek for jobs and help their families financially. A lack of opportunities has been cited as the cause behind the youths embracing such risky behaviors as crime and violence, and this has in effect impacted on the Dominican Republic from a number of fronts.
Just like all the other countries to be found in the Caribbean and Latin America it is necessary that the Dominican Republic identify the urgent need to address the issue of inequality that has especially hit the young and poor members of the society. This can only be realized through the crating of opportunities that would reverse the prevailing level of inequality. Another problem that may act to suppress such a move may be the educational system in the country.
According to Caroline Anstery, the World Bank country director in the Dominican Republic, the nation’s education system has failed to respond to both the needs of the labor market, as well as those of the employers (World Bank 2006), and this has therefore led to the high levels of unemployment that is being witnessed today in the country. Despite the fact that the Dominican Republic has been blessed with a buoyant tourism industry amongst other successful industries, there lacks a human capital that would take care of such possibilities that the nation has sought to offer investors.
The fact that a majority of the potential labor force are lacking in basic education, in addition to being deficient in technical training has acted to hurt young individuals all the more, not just within the Dominican Republic, but also in the larger Latin American region (Encyclopedia of the nations 2008). There is a dire need therefore for the countries located within the Latin American region to have in place a labor force that is both sufficient and qualified.
In the absence of a sound education system though, it will be quite hard to expect that these young individuals shall be able to readily integrate into the high positions s that they are expected to occupy. With respect to globalization, what is increasingly becoming a reality today is that when individuals are lacking both in an experience of the labor market as well as in a good education, they are not likely to do much with their lives (Andersen & Taylor 2005) , and the vicious cycle of poverty shall forever be hovering over their heads.
In the pats years, it may have been possible for a persona to secure one form of employment or another in the rural areas. However, with the economies of the various countries being now characterized by sophistications both in terms of technology and job demands, most of the youths are finding themselves out of tune with the demands of the job market, and this could therefore offer an explanation as to why a majority of them are without any jobs, not just in the Dominica Republic, but also in the various nations of the world.
The Dominican Republic boast of an economy that has been touted to be the fastest-growing within the care bean region yet, the country is not at all fascinated by this assertion for a number of reasons. To start with, approximately 30 percent of the entire population in the Dominican Republic has been reported to be afflicted with abject poverty (Encyclopedia of the nations 2008). The matter is further complicated by the fact that the nation neighbor Haiti, a country that has been identified as being the least stable, poorest and least developed in the whole of the America.
In addition, illegal immigrants from Haiti are said to cross the border into the Dominican Republic (USAID 2002), and this further complicates the poverty burden of a country already in turmoil. The biggest risk to development for the Dominican Republic has been seen to emanate from a large part of its population that has been left out of recent economic prosperity. In addition, the democratic institutions in the Dominican Republic are said to be somewhat fragile, if unfinished electoral reforms and justice sector are anything to go by.
Then there is the issue of gross human rights abuse (specifically from an incompetent and corrupt police force which has led to the emergence of public security that is weak) , high potential for conflict, a massive gap in education investment, basic services, health pensions, rural productive infrastructure, and housing (Hall 2000). Moreover, the population is also faced with a dire need to learn quickly how they shall be ale to compete within the global economy.
The country’s environmental resources have continued to feel the strain of a rise in the population, increase competition for dwindling resources, a rise in the number of economic activities (Encyclopedia of the nations 2008). A lack of adequate protection policies for the environment have also acted to put strain on environmental resources, impacting on a sector that has in the past offered to provide employment to the poor members of the Dominican Republic.
These include the agricultural and tourism sector. The social stratification of the Dominican society is so high such that we have in place a wealthy upper class that constitutes a very small part of the entire population. On the other hand, the middle call may at best be described as being medium,-sized. On the other extreme, the working class is extremely large, and a majority of the members of this social stratum have been identified as living below the poverty line (Hall 2000).
Such professionals as hospital workers and teachers make up the middle class, while factory and agricultural laborers constitutes the poor, together with those employed in the informal sector, as well as the unemployed members of the society. Both economic and racial issues influence social stratification in the Dominican Republic. Historically, the upper class is often light skinned, and of European descent.
On the other hand, the lower class often tends to be black and its descendants are either the Haitians or the descendants of the slaves from Africa that found their way into the Caribbean and the America. Upward social mobility at the Dominican Republic may be said to be very little (World Bank 2006), if any, save for professionals as basketball stars, or artists like the musicians. These have a chance to break away from the poverty cycle.