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Showing posts from October, 2012

Beyond MDGs 2015: The search for new objectives, new goals and new measures.

Recently on the Humanosphere blog there was a call for comment on a paper, titled ‘How can a post-2015 agreement drive real change’, written by Duncan Green, Stephen Hale and Matthew Lockwood of Oxfam. So I took up the challenge to read the paper and I am offering up this feedback.
Defining Poverty
First, its time to stop with the global strategies, initiatives, imperatives, goals, objectives etc. Poverty, though common across the goals in its experience of inadequate resources for daily living, is by its complexity and locale-specific nature, not amenable to ‘global targets’. Any global target means that variations across locales disappear and the outcomes seems somewhat meaningless. Furthermore, and most importantly, the people setting these targets are usually not the ones who have to meet them, nor are they the ones who will be among the counted when these targets get evaluated.
Authoring Poverty
Second, it would be beyond wonderful if more of these papers get written by people in …

Good intentions, exploitation and studying 'the poor'

I am an academic and thus I am required to do research and to write. As someone who studied sociology, social welfare, public health, international health, and economics I am plenty equipped to study poverty and the lives of poor people. And in my areas of study, these are the people of whom we ask questions, whether here or abroad.Were I to do a search of any library database using poverty as a keyword, I will get hundreds of hits for journal articles published in the past month alone. But I have decided that I will no longer study 'poverty' or 'the poor' because I find it exploitative in its convenience, somewhat useless in its findings and creates a conundrum in its recommendations: how to change poverty by changing the poor.

We study how the poor shop, what they eat, what they drink, how fat they are, how (un)educated they are, how much health care they (don't) get, how they parent, and how a wide range of social, political and economic factors interact to infl…