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Poverty and Development

Poverty and Development (3rd edn)

Tim Allen and Alan Thomas
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date: 07 February 2023

p. 272. Poverty and Inequalitylocked

p. 272. Poverty and Inequalitylocked

  • Naila Kabeer
  •  and Alan Thomas


This chapter examines a range of different ways of determining whether or not someone is 'poor' in an absolute sense, before discussing poverty in relative and cultural terms and the related idea of inequality. Income poverty has many limitations as a measure of poverty. Other ways of conceiving and measuring the poverty of individuals include: taking gender and other inequalities into account within and between households; relative poverty or social exclusion; poverty as a deprivation of capabilities; and incorporating multiple dimensions of deprivation. Poverty is also applied to whole communities, regions, or countries. Two main contrasting ways of measuring poverty at these levels are gross national income (GNI) per capita and the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Globally, patterns of poverty and inequality are changing so that the majority of poor people no longer live in poor countries as measured by GNI per capita. Global poverty also has to be considered alongside social disintegration and environmental destruction as interrelated issues and parts of a 'global crisis'.

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