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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.

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9. Population, Poverty, and Development  

Valeria Cetorelli and Alan Thomas

This chapter explores the relationship between population growth and poverty. There are differing views as to whether rapid population growth hinders economic growth and poverty reduction and whether there is a limit to the number of people the Earth can sustain. The 'revisionist' view is that on the contrary 'development is the best contraceptive' and it is poverty that keeps fertility high, while economic growth is not necessarily inhibited by rapid population growth. In this view, family planning is not an overriding priority but forms part of a rights-based agenda for providing access to reproductive health. The new consensus amongst analysts accepts that access to reproductive health, together with women's education and general improvements in health and living standards, remains the best route to lower fertility.

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11. War and Armed Conflict  

Tim Allen and Tom Kirk

This chapter illustrates the nature of current wars and armed conflicts and explores contemporary responses to them. Whatever criteria are used for war or armed conflict, it is clear that large numbers of people are impoverished by them, and globally the numbers of those affected is not declining. There are characteristics of contemporary wars and armed conflicts that make non-combatants especially vulnerable. Since the end of the Cold War, there have been important initiatives aimed at controlling wars, and at alleviating their effects, but the effects have been limited, and controversial. Particularly since 2001, there are has been a marked tendency for high levels of insecurity to spread across borders and take on global dynamics. In large parts of the world, enhancing security remains a key challenge in alleviating poverty and is a prerequisite for achieving development goals.

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18. Rethinking Gender Matters in Development  

Charlotte Brown and Ruth Pearson

This chapter evaluates how gender analysis can be applied to development, in both understanding the context in which it takes place and assessing development policies. The twenty-first century marked the rhetorical acceptance and embrace of gender analysis with a continued emphasis on women's rights and practical interests. However, it is important not to see efforts to meet practical gendered interests in opposition to efforts to challenge existing gender roles. A twin-track effort is necessary to meet the challenges of gendered experiences of poverty while also ensuring broader application of gender analysis addressing strategic gender interests and analysing the causes of gender inequality in order to address the uneven nature of progress towards gender equality. Recent years have highlighted a number of new areas of foci for political activism: gender inequality and abuse within organizations and across development practices; resurgence of conservative views on gender roles; and fluid gender roles.

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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.

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7. Poverty and Education  

Peggy Froerer

This chapter addresses the relationship between education and poverty. Education has become a central development plank for the World Bank and other multilateral organizations, partly because of the connection between education, development, and the reduction of poverty. Such organizations continue to sponsor and spearhead different programmes geared towards enhanced educational access and engagement (particular at primary school levels). Owing to such programmes, greater numbers of children have access to schooling across the globe, impacting on poverty levels. However, the benefits and opportunities purportedly associated with education are not accessible to those groups which are governed by their structural positions within systems of social and economic inequality. The promised education-related returns are not always forthcoming, particularly for those lacking important forms of social capital.

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23. The Urban Challenge and Life in the City  

Jo Beall

This chapter describes the challenges posed by the concomitant growth of urban poverty and inequality, sometimes in the absence of economic growth, against a background that traces processes of urbanization, urban growth, and urban development in countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The exact relationship between experiences of poverty and city life remains unclear, and it may be important to redirect the questions being asked in relation to the city. Rather than focusing on 'life in the city', it might be more beneficial to ask what is necessary to ensure 'a city for life'. A key priority will be addressing the capacity of urban institutions and systems to meet the challenges of city management and urban governance in the context of social, economic, and demographic change. There is a need to recognize the physical, structural, and institutional role of 'the city' in shaping the experiences of and the responses to poverty.

Chapter

Cover Poverty and Development

6. Diseases of Poverty  

Melissa Parker and Cristin Fergus

This chapter assesses what the diseases of poverty are. Infectious diseases of poverty are widespread in low-income countries. As a result, under-five child mortality is often higher and life expectancy lower in these countries, compared with middle- and high-income countries. There are long standing disagreements about the most effective way to combat diseases of poverty in low-income countries. In particular, there is an enduring debate about whether selective biomedical interventions (such as deworming for neglected tropical diseases) should be the main focus of public health programmes or whether the most effective way forward is to develop a comprehensive approach which strengthens all levels of the health system, including primary health care units, while simultaneously improving access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Many populations no longer live in abject poverty, and the causes of death and disability have changed from infectious diseases to non communicable diseases. These changes are often described as an epidemiological transition. However, it has also been noted that a transitional period frequently occurs in which populations experience the 'double burden' of long standing infectious diseases alongside chronic, non communicable diseases.

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 Poverty and Development

8. Unemployment and Making a Living  

David Wield

This chapter describes the issue of unemployment and ways of making a living. Rather than simply being characterized by unemployment, in less developed areas work is often characterized by its complexity and diversity. The level of complexity is arguably increasing as all around the world there has been an increase in the diversity of ways of making a living, with more part-time wage work, more self-employed, and informal activities, and more flexible work systems. Often, rather than people being unemployed, a major issue is that many work extremely hard but at levels of low productivity, receiving low financial recompense, and thus remaining in relative poverty. They require opportunities for better quality and better remunerated work. Understanding of policy issues is improved by applying the concepts of commodity and subsistence production, reproduction, and waged and unwaged work, as well as an appreciation of how ways of making a living combine these types of work.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

26. Guatemala  

Enduring Underdevelopment and Insecurity

Rachel Sieder

This chapter examines Guatemala’s underdevelopment in the context of social, economic, cultural, and political rights. It first provides an introduction to poverty and multiple inequalities in Guatemala before discussing patterns of state formation in the country. It then considers the 1996 peace accords, which represented an attempt to reverse historical trends, to ‘engineer development’, and to secure the human rights of all Guatemalans. It also explores human security and development in Guatemala and identifies the main contemporary causes of the country’s persistent underdevelopment: a patrimonialist and predatory state underpinned by a strong, conservative private sector, an extremely weak party system, the continued influence of active and retired members of the armed forces in politics, entrenched counterinsurgency logics, and the increasing presence of transnational organized crime.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

16. Development  

Tony Addison

This chapter examines development policy objectives and their explicit focus on poverty reduction. It first considers different definitions of development policy objectives before discussing the roles that the market mechanism and the state should play in allocating society’s productive resources. In particular, it looks at the economic role of the state as one of the central issues dividing opinion on development strategy and explains how rising inequality led to a backlash against economic liberalization. The chapter proceeds by exploring the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction, along with the political difficulties that arise from economic reform. It also analyses the importance of transforming the structure of economies and the new global development landscape, including changes in development finance.

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.