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Investigación económica

versión impresa ISSN 0185-1667


MACEWAN, Arthur. The meaning of poverty: cuestions of distribution and power. Inv. Econ [online]. 2010, vol.69, n.272, pp.15-56. ISSN 0185-1667.

Standard conceptions of poverty are misleading and generate inadequate policy because they fail to take sufficient account of income distribution. Economic well-being is largely socially contingent, and poverty is therefore a phenomenon of inequality as well as a phenomenon of absolute lack of income. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGS), focusing on absolute income, lead to technical approaches to policy that leave the basic social origins of poverty unexamined. To a great extent, the poor are poor because they lack power, and they lack power because they are poor. When power is brought into consideration, policy shifts towards such issues as land reform and effective control of state actions. One implication of this approach is that instead of doing things for the poor, policy should create conditions where the poor can gain power and change their own situation. Several aspects of the MDGS strategy are critiqued from this perspective.

Palabras llave : poverty; income distribution; growth.

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