Poverty Case Study

1900 Words 8 Pages
Poverty reduction has been, since the late 1990s, at the forefront of the mainstream development agenda. The interest in poverty knew its momentum with the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and with the pledge of the main development organisations including the World Bank to “a world free of poverty”. Nevertheless, poverty eradication- even narrowly defined as income poverty- has failed and “remains one of the greatest challenges facing humanity” (UNDP, 2014) not only in low income countries but also in middle and high income countries. This essay will argue that poverty is persistent in high, middle and low income countries because the efforts to reduce it focus merely on poverty symptoms that mitigate it while ignoring its structural causes that stay unchallenged. It will emphasise the importance of a relational view of poverty that moves away from describing poverty to explaining it. The relational approach opposes the view of poverty as a condition that can be changed through a set of interventions, “or a ‘trap’ into which people fall or from which ‘exit routes’ can be designed” (Mosse, 2007: 5). It turns attention to poverty as a consequences of historical and contemporary processes of capitalism and the social and power relations in which they are embedded and that reproduce poverty over time (Harriss-White, 2006; Harriss, 2007; Mosse, 2007).
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It is thus important to examine the social and political relations at the local level within which capitalist dynamics are embedded and that contribute to the stable reproduction of exploitation and accumulation (du Toit, 2005). As highlighted by Hickey and Bracking (2005), “the persistence of poverty reflects its institutionalization within social and political norms and institutions, and its legitimation within political

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