No one wants to live in poverty. Few people would want others to do so. Yet, millions of people worldwide live in poverty. According to the World Bank, over 700 million people lived on less than US $2 a day in 2013. Why is that? What has been done about it in the past? And what is being done about it now?
In this Very Short Introduction Philip N. Jefferson explores how the answers to these questions lie in the social, political, economic, educational, and technological processes that impact all of us throughout our lives. The degree of vulnerability is all that differentiates us. He shows how a person's level of vulnerability to adverse changes in their life is very much dependent on the circumstances of their birth, including where their family lived, the schools they attended,
whether it was peacetime or wartime, whether they had access to clean water, and whether they are male or female. Arguing that whilst poverty is ancient and enduring, the conversation about it is always new and evolving, Jefferson looks at the history of poverty, and the practical and analytical efforts we have
made to eradicate it, and the prospects for further poverty alleviation in the future.
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Philip N. Jefferson is Centennial Professor of Economics at Swarthmore College, and a Faculty Affiliate of the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. He was president of the National Economic Association, and is the editor of the Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty (2012).
CODA: POLITICAL ECONOMY; REFERENCES; FURTHER READING; INDEX