Abstract – Sontor Sanja and Kohut Ola - EPPC 2013

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28 Οκτ 2013 (πριν από 4 χρόνια και 12 μέρες)

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RECONFIGURING

POVERTY



POVERTY

AS

A

CATALYST

OF

SOCIAL

MARGINALIZATION

&

EXCLUSION

FROM

THE

SOCIETY



Ola Kohut and Sanja Sontor

Hertie School of Governance

Berlin, Germany


R
econfiguring Poverty


Poverty a
s

a C
atalyst

of

Social Marginalizati
on &
Exclusion From t
he Society

2


R
ECONFIGURING
P
OVERTY


P
OVERTY
A
S
A

C
ATALYST
O
F
S
OCIAL
M
ARGINALIZATION
&

E
XCLUSION
F
ROM
T
HE
S
OCIETY


The elimination of poverty is a mission that underpins

the

work of all of those interested in
development of poor countries.
The central objective of the

Millennium

Development

Goals
(MDG)
is the halving of poverty by 2015.

In the World Bank’s official discourse, as well as
in
the discourse
of other major donors, almost every policy is assessed in relation to its impact on poverty, whether the
aim of it is

debt relief or macro
-
economic stabilization. The objective of poverty reduction enjoys
great support of the donor community. Ironically, however, there is an increasing debate about
what
this
objective actually means.
Sociologists and economists have trou
ble with the definition of poverty,
which leads to a rather messy approach to current policy formulation.


When estimating poverty worldwide, the World Bank uses the same poverty line

reference
, which is
expressed in a common unit across countries

and ent
ails USD 1.25 (PPP) per day. This, rather simple
criterion is, however, a flawed criterion.
In many African or

Southeast Asian countries
USD 1.25 does
go quite a long way.
What
is one dollar in New York or London?
In a big city one can earn it in a few
min
utes


just by standing on the crossroads, reach
ing out to people.

The more

pressing

question

for
us is different:

E
ven if an income of a beggar exceeds the minimum subsistence arbitrarily defined by
professionals, is he
/she

able to participate in the normal social life?


The

monetary approach

to defining poverty

is

dominant

in descriptions and analysis, both nationally
and internationally. Clarification of how poverty is defined is extremely important as different
definitio
ns of poverty
may
imply

and lead to 1)
the use of differe
nt indicators for measurement, and 2)
the identification of different

individuals and groups as poor, which in both cases would

require
different policy solutions for poverty reduction.


In our opini
on, it is the s
ocial exclusion
that

deprives people of choices and opportunities to escape
from poverty and denies them a voice to claim their rights.
Social exclusion
also
perpetuates

po
verty,
conflict and insecurity, additionally trapping the excluded in

a vicious circle. If we are to tackle
poverty

effectively
, we need to recognize
the layers and complexities of

the
problem, and, where
appropriate, find different ways of working with partner governments, international community
,

and
civil society organiz
ations to overcome it.

The

poor are not a homogenous, single age or ethnic group.
They do not form a single class. They are not members of a single occupation. The poor are a
heterogeneous collection of individuals who have only one thing in common, their

poverty. Their
poverty, however, often results in social isolation and marginalization.


In
our presentation we will
argue

for the
redefinition of poverty
, which should also

include

aspects of
social
inclusion a
nd participation in the society.
The World Bank’s definition, which
denotes

poverty
in monetary terms, or the European Commission definition, which defines poverty not by incom
e but
by material resources, do

not capture the problem of lack of inclusion of poor people in the society.
Secon
dly, w
e will argue that the current indicator systems of poverty used by international
organizations should
study the many other dimensions of p
overty relating to

social
exclusion
.


Finally, we will
advocate

for strengthening of the “social capital”

aspec
t
, explaining
how the
community setting
can
affe
ct

poverty levels of a region, and

how
improving

of
the

local socio
-
economic ties

can improve the situation of the poor. We will illustrate our thesis by bringing up
examples from

the former socialists countries
and presently developed European countries
. In one of
R
econfiguring Poverty


Poverty a
s

a C
atalyst

of

Social Marginalizati
on &
Exclusion From t
he Society

3


our cases we will focus on Polish regions and analyze the reasons behind their different scores on
poverty rankings
.


--------------------------

Our methodology will include
research and
list
ing

of indicators according to our, more inclusive
,

definition of poverty. We will rank these indicators.

Depending on the result of our research, we
might come up with specific iss
ues to be i
ncluded while mea
suring poverty, in case they do not

appear in the existing
poverty indicator systems.