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Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

2. Poverty and Inequality  

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'.

Book

Cover Poverty and Development

Edited by Tim Allen and Alan Thomas

Poverty & Development in the 21st Century provides an updated, interdisciplinary overview of one of the world's most complex and pressing social problems. The book analyses and assesses key questions faced by practitioners and policy makers, ranging from what potential solutions to world poverty are open to us to what form development should take and whether it is compatible with environmental sustainability. This third edition considers the complex causes of global poverty and inequality, introducing major development issues that include hunger, disease, the threat of authoritarian populism, the refugee crisis, and environmental degradation. Three new chapters illustrate the impact of climate, refugee and health crises on development by drawing on accounts of lived experience to explore the real-world implications of theory.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

27. Poverty and Development: Prospects for the Future  

Ikenna Acholonu, Charlotte Brown, and Ingrina Shieh

This concluding chapter brings together reflections from practitioners, thinkers, and academics. They comment on achievements and challenges for social progress in the world over the past 30 years, and outline possible futures for poverty and development. Economist and historian María del Pilar López-Uribe speaks about the experiences of South American countries. She is an authority on the long-term effects of climate change and geography on institutional drivers of economic development, and on the history of land conflicts and property rights in Colombia. Meanwhile, Leonard Wantchekon highlights the role of technology in shaping the future of development. Affan Cheema also offers a practitioner's perspective on the need to approach humanitarianism from a more holistic perspective in relation to development. The chapter then looks at how warnings of the effects of climate change have galvanized international movements calling for governments to declare a climate emergency and prioritize policies that promote sustainability and mitigate the environmental impact of the global economy. Since forming in spring of 2018, the environmental pressure group Extinction Rebellion has organized protests that have reached international scale.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

1. Why Poverty and Development?  

Alan Thomas and Tim Allen

This chapter discusses some of the ways in which the two concepts of poverty and development are related by considering a number of dimensions in which they appear to be opposed. It looks at the 'era of development', describing how the emphasis has shifted from theoretical debate between alternative models of development to acceptance of globalized liberal capitalism. The fusion of liberal democracy and industrial capitalism came to represent the only viable basis for modern human society — an approach that was commonly linked to the concept of globalization. The chapter then assesses the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and how they have been succeeded by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), both of which frameworks exemplify development seen in terms of policy interventions to ameliorate poverty and other global problems — including climate change. Finally, it identifies some major dilemmas for development as the twenty-first century progresses.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

6. Inequality  

Jenny Pearce

This chapter examines the key conceptual debates on inequality that were common until the end of World War II and the birth of the field of ‘development’. Two inequality-related questions have dominated development debates for decades. Firstly, does growth inevitably lead to inequality? And if so, does it matter, as long as poverty declines? The debates around these questions began in the 1950s with Simon Kuznets’ introduction of the ‘inverted-U hypothesis’, which posited that relative inequality increases, but only temporarily, in the early stages of economic growth, improving once countries reach middle-income levels. The chapter considers the politics and economics of inequality in the developing world as well as inequalities in the age of globalization. It concludes with an assessment of the World Bank’s incorporation of the goal of ‘shared prosperity’ in its discourse alongside its ongoing concern to reduce poverty.