Intellectual Poverty as a Cause of Material Poverty





Intellectual Poverty as a Cause of Material Poverty

In the modern world, most people usually interpret the deficiency of wealth to indicate poverty. This aspect of poverty exemplifies further the concepts of joblessness, poor nutrition, and the general poor living conditions. These concepts are directed towards financial issues that contribute towards material poverty that deny an individual the opportunity to lead a healthy life. However, apart from this type of poverty, other forms of poverty exist. The least discussed of these forms is intellectual poverty. While material poverty focuses its attention on finances, intellectual poverty is mainly concerned with the individual knowledge. Intellectual poverty can be understood to be ignorance or lack of knowledge (Ingwe 309-310). It can also be defined as the lack of ideas or possessing indistinct ideas. Intellectual poverty can endanger people’s lives bearing in mind that knowledge is highly importance especially in the field of technological innovation. The contemporary society is highly competitive and knowledge plays a crucial role in such societies. In such a highly aggressive setting, an individual must be cultured in a way that enables them to cope with modern development. In conclusion, intellectual poverty can be said to be one of the major causes of material poverty in most societies.

Currently, most of the executive job opportunities require an individual to have relevant and sufficient information on technology and the workings of innovations in technological equipment. For example, the Internet and the computer have become almost compulsory and a basic component in the modern community. Having knowledge in dealing with most of the technologically advanced equipment enables most people, as well as companies, to take advantage of available opportunities. Therefore, it can be concluded that knowledge greatly contributes towards overcoming material poverty by opening up avenues for wealth creation. Lack of this knowledge reduces the individual capability of individuals to compete with each other in a progressive environment. It can also lead to inferiority complex, as well as powerlessness, since the contemporary worldviews information and knowledge as power. Since creativity depends on knowledge, “the presence of intellectual poverty or having distorted ideas limits the ability to be creative and provide solutions to modern problems through creativity” (Ingwe 309). In the end of it all, individuals having intellectual poverty remain trapped in material poverty since the only way to overcome financial problems is through education and being informed. Studies have indicated that intellectual poverty is the greatest challenge towards development in African countries. This is why levels of material poverty in this region are very high. Scholars claim that this form of poverty can be identified through assessment of vision, value system, as well as veracity. When vision is integrated in leadership, it is easy to overcome the age long challenges resulting from ignorance or lack of knowledge. Many African nations have high levels of shortsightedness and poor visions leading to the high levels of poverty on this continent. To be successful, an individual must know where they are and where they want to be in a specific period. This applies to countries, as well. Since some of the African states do not have a clear vision, they have caused the existence of extensive material poverty (Ingwe 312). Development in any content is an issue that transcends around traditional education and exposure with intellectual dimensions that embed truth, honesty and integrity. Having African leaders make a substantial contribution towards the increase of poverty in the region through failure to encourage education in their countries means that they themselves have intellectual poverty. African leaders contribute towards this through corruption and other factors such as greed. “Communication from the context of mass communication has lagged behind in African states” (M’bayo 140). Intellectual poverty within the African context represents the lack of intellectual resources and deficiency in quality academic resources. Allan Ingwe also supported these claims by stating that within Africa, the low levels of academic motivation combined with the effects of material poverty bar most of the inhabitants from realizing their true intellectual potential (Ingwe 187). As such, M’bayo concluded that institutional decay was a key characteristic of most educational institutions that were responsible for imparting this kind of knowledge (M’bayo 332).

Most of the instances, people with intellectual poverty inflict this kind of problem on themselves. This is because of the concepts they present when confronted with the question concerning education. These individuals mostly claim that they are too old to learn; the information they have is enough, and a good portion of them abandon education before completing (Emerson 34). Simply, a good number of African individuals believe they cannot keep up with the pace of the rapid transformations taking place (Emerson 176). Although inventions began in an extensive way at the beginning of the 20th century, most third world societies have remained uninformed with regard to technology having some of the communities living in traditional clothing. Such communities make little contribution to the country’s economy because of intellectual poverty. The result of having most people, in this region, believe that they cannot keep up with the pace of the modern world is not only material poverty, but also other negative occurrences. These can be exemplified by low self-esteem, being undervalued, discouragement, hopelessness, resentment, mediocrity, and persistent poverty cycles among generations. Evidently, these are the daily occurrences in most of the third world communities (Kom 291). Communities that embrace technology and advancement abandon certain practices such as wearing traditional clothes. As a result, this brings communal development. Therefore, a new mindset and an advanced way of thinking are required for the African communities that still embrace the traditional ways of living. Intellectual poverty is also the major cause of the increased cost of living in the African context. This is because iron, which is excavated in Africa, is usually exported to Europe for manufacturing and then exported back to Africa as the finished product at high prices. To reduce the effects of poverty, in this region, Africa must embrace creativity, as well as intellectual abilities that will enable the continent to increase the value of its raw materials and help the African population in breaking the cycle of poverty. Lack of knowledge is the major cause of developmental setback on this continent.

Although Africans require gaining quality education, they also must “embrace the value of intellectualism since there is a difference between them although they work together” (Ingwe 310-311). Education helps individuals in acquiring knowledge that is useful in intellectualism. Intellectuals are individuals with the ability to not only learn, but also reason and think profoundly and abstractly. An intellectual’s ability is beyond the normal acquisition of knowledge and focuses on problem solving. Most African countries do not have the ability to solve some uncomplicated problems despite having the means to accomplish that. “Taking the largest crude oil producer in Africa, Nigeria, into consideration, this country does not have petro-chemical industries despite being this being its major income earner” (Ingwe 310). If Nigerian leaders had the intellectual abilities and intelligence, they would channel the funds earned through the oil export in setting up the industries. This would improve the country through reducing processing costs, which are done in foreign countries. This pointed towards the idea that most third world countries had the ability to support itself; however, these individuals lack the intellectual knowledge. The amount of resources in the third world is sufficient to transform the countries into highly developed regions. However, their intellectual challenged as well as other limitations make this vision very difficult to achieve (Kom 309). Since intellectual abilities foster development, they should reside among the leaders. “There is the issue of children with disability incorporating children with intellectual disability, or poverty increases the chances of those children living in poverty for lifetime, acquiring additional impairment, remaining socially excluded, and increasing the risks associated with poor health” (Emerson 224-225). Research indicates that individuals brought up by parents with intellectual poverty have higher chances of being exposed to psychosocial and other material hazards that include but not limited to low birth weight, premature births, exposure to toxins, preventable accidents, and poor nutrition. In the African context, researchers claim that the existence of intellectual poverty is more profound among the leaders but lacks among the individuals.

The other factor that demonstrates the existence of intellectual poverty among the third world leaders is there incessant belief that that technology from the West is the most suitable for use in less developed countries. This idea is misleading and highly erroneous as innovations from the West may be efficient but it does not mean that they set the standard globally. A possible explanation for this might be that the leaders of the West could be taking advantage of the African intellectually poor leaders. The continent has the required resources to provide for its people and its developmental projects. However, although the west has been providing the aid, most of it is not accounted for. For instance, “of the 22 billion dollars that the U.S provided to the sub-Saharan Africa including Zaire, Somalia and Sudan between 1957 and 1995, none of it was applied in development as it was lost” (Ingwe 311). The same happened to the Swedish aid to Tanzania and Belgium aid to Zaire. This not only shows the lack of intellectual ability on the side of the African leaders but also indicates incompetence and greed. For such reasons, Africa has been considered the least effective and the least sustainable region on the globe. In most cases, the aid given to the African countries usually accounts for very little development and leads to the accumulation of debts. The solution to such problems depends on the continent’s ability to create intellectual capital (Kom 189). Intellectual capital stands for non-financial concepts such as the reputation that a brand has among target customers and the quality of employees; keeping the financial context in mind. This is because the non-financial concepts are meant to create the wealth to sustain the people. Intellectual capital creates competitiveness and value. From the context of an organization, intellectual capital is the organization’s brain, which incorporates relationships, collective knowledge of the employees and the overall organizational expertise that helps in problem solving and conflict resolution. Managing intellectual capital ensures that intellectual poverty is evaded.

The belief that Africa can only develop through western aid should be refuted, and the continent encouraged catering for itself. However, the aid that has been provided in the past has not yielded the expected results. In the place of depending on western aid and assistance, the continent should exercise the resources it has at its disposal in the form of natural resources such as the oil in Nigeria. Additionally, this can be by allowing the African population to exercise innovation through providing resources and expertise through quality education. It should be acknowledged that Africa has the resources, but intellectual poverty stands in their way with respect to exercising intellectual ability. The mode of mass communication must also be encouraged to improve access to information and exposure. To eliminate poverty in the contexts of material poverty and intellectual poverty, the leaders must embrace quality academic resources and eliminate incompetence.

When competition advances, people look for counter strategies to deal with the change. Since the contemporary world has increasingly become developed, all individuals must embrace this change in order to be able to interact competitively with other persons or organizations in the society. This allows individuals to acquire the much-needed knowledge that helps in the execution of problem solving and innovative mindsets. If individuals do not have the intellectual ability and knowledge, they usually encounter risks such as poor nutrition, poor living conditions, unemployment and being underestimated by others. Besides such risks, the individuals also face another major risk of living in intellectual poverty, which advances material poverty. Simply, resolving problems with intellectual ability helps in the long term through reduction of material poverty. To facilitate poverty elimination, the leaders must also embrace education and eliminate incompetence. This is because the elimination of intellectual poverty, which is lack of knowledge, would serve the purpose of eliminating the persistent poverty in African states.











Work Cited

Emerson, Eric, Shahtahmasebi Said, Lancaster Gillian and Berridge Damon. “Poverty transitions Among families supporting a child with intellectual disability.” Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability. 35.4 (2010): 224-234. Print.

European Conference on Intellectual Capital. Academic Conferences Ltd. Print.

Fielding, Michael (2007). The Human Cost and Intellectual Poverty of High Performance Schooling: Radical Philosophy, John Macmurray and the Remaking of Person-Centred Education. Journal of Education Policy, 22 (4). Pp. 383-409. Print.

Ingwe, Alban. “Intellectual Poverty – the Bane of African Development.” Proceedings of the

Kom, Ambroise. “Writing Under a Monocracy: Intellectual Poverty in Cameroon.” Research in African Literatures : Official Journal of the African Literature Committee of the African Studies Association of America and the African Literatures Seminar of the Modern Language Association. 22.1 (1991): 83-92. Print.

M’bayo, Ritchard T., Sunday Oloruntola and Amobi Ifeoma. “Intellectual poverty and theory Building in African mass communication research.” Journal of African Media Studies. 4.2 (2012): 139-155. Print.

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