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Human Development in the Era of Globalization

Essays in Honor of Keith B. Griffin

Edited by James K. Boyce, Stephen Cullenberg, Prasanta K. Pattanaik and Robert Pollin

Honoring Keith Griffin’s more than 40 years of fundamental contributions to the discipline of economics, the papers in this volume reflect his deep commitment to advancing the well-being of the world’s poor majority and his unflinching willingness to question conventional wisdom as to how this should be done.
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Chapter 15: Poverty as Injustice: Refocusing the Policy Agenda

Rehman Sobhan


Rehman Sobhan The Argument: The Sources of Injustice This chapter argues that structural injustice remains the source of poverty and exclusion. This recognition of structural concerns is yet to be incorporated into the reform agendas of the developing world. This chapter is designed to address the structural sources of poverty and injustice with a view to refocusing the policy agenda which has driven national policy-making as well the programmes of international financial institutions. Its aim is to initiate an exploration for a more relevant agenda of structural reforms where the primary mission will be to correct injustice through incorporating the excluded into the mainstream of development. The Structural Dimensions of Poverty A decade ago the World Bank was arguing that rapid growth was the best solution for eradicating poverty. A commitment to growth-sustaining policy reforms, inspired by the Washington Consensus, backed by temporary safety nets for those who were possible victims of such growth, was expected to reduce the proportion of those living in poverty. Needless to say, the success story of the Asian Tigers, as well as Chile, provided the substantive foundations of this hypothesis. A decade later, in the World Development Report 2000, the World Bank has come to terms with the proposition that policy reforms were not enough to alleviate let alone eradicate poverty. Structural concerns, of a rather more basic nature than the structural adjustments demanded by the Washington Consensus, were recognized as central to the design of policy reforms. It is arguable that this recognition...

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