Absolute and Relative Poverty

November 17, 2011 § 2 Comments


The difference between absolute and relative poverty is explained in the link above and is also touched on by Ashis Nandy in “The Beautiful Expanding Future of Poverty”. Nandy points out that destitution and relative poverty are entirely different, but that most institutions and experts on poverty shy away from explaining it. Destitution, or absolute poverty, is when one is without the basic necessities that sustain one’s life. In comparison, relative poverty is when one is receiving an income that is below the national or international income average. As such, one can live in poverty but still sustain oneself through a low-consuming lifestyle but one that lives in destitution cannot get food, water, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs. Both the article and the reading point out one interesting fact: those that live in developing countries live about just as long as their richer counterparts, who consume ten times more than they do. It brings up the notion that poverty cannot be determined with a single characteristic (money), but it should be determined by multiple characteristics, and that if there is any hope in successful development, we must focus on the destitute (those who are truly suffering) first.


The Tale of Three Worlds and Development

November 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

The second chapter from Arturo Escobar’s Encountering Development is essentially criticizing development in the third world as he provides some of the justifications for eradicating poverty from the first world perspective.  Third world countries and the term development did not really come into fruition until after World War II when poverty was “discovered.”  Countries like the United States and most of Europe witnessed what they believed to be was extreme poverty because they did not have many of the same material possessions as they did.  In other words, they viewed them as underdeveloped and in need of modernization because the third world’s idea of wealth and status did not coincide with the first world.  The World Bank would then provide an “official” definition of being poor in 1948 when it considered countries with “an annual per capita income below $100” as poor.  Thus, the world was immediately divided up into successful and developed countries and countries that still needed much assistance.  This attitude would prevail throughout the first world as they tried to implement many development programs and provided many justifications for doing so.  This “war on poverty” made many promises to help third world countries achieve first world status, such as the implementation of science and technology, which has always been an indicator of development, advancement, and modernization.  These development projects also helped to promote first world policies.  For example, Escobar mentions that there was the belief that development could be used as a strategy to combat communism.

Below is a video of Michael Parenti talking about the myth of underdevelopment and highlighting some of the points described in Escobar’s chapter.

Walden Bello visiting UHM during APEC

November 5, 2011 § 2 Comments

In conjunction with the APEC meetings in November, Center for Philippine Studies at UHM will be hosting Walden Bello, Congressman of the Philippines, Founder of the Focus on the Global South and international activist. He will be giving a lecture on Thursday, Nov. 10, from 5 to 6:30pm, Architecture Auditorium, with reception to follow.

Please invite your colleagues, students and friends to this event.

Cuba = Shifting towards Neoliberalism?

November 4, 2011 § 1 Comment


I just thought this article was relevant since we briefly talked about Cuba and its future in the global economy. Since privatization of assets is a key component of Neoliberalism, does anyone think that this is the first step in them liberalizing their markets and turning their back on Socialism? Or do you think that this is nothing for Cubans to really be concerned about? Do you think it will ignite an “indirect investment race” as they say in the article?

Nimitz Highway Targeted For Homeless Cleanup

November 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Nimitz Highway Targeted For Homeless Cleanup.

Microfinance and Development

November 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

This video is a basic introduction to microfinance.

How would Dambisa Moyo and Amartya Sen understand microfinance?  Explain in two paragraphs, using each author’s argument and conceptual vocabulary, the role microfinance can play in developing countries.

Development as Capabilities Expansion

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Quite unsure if I understood the material correctly but to my understanding Amartya Sen highlighs various areas such as development economics (quality of life, basic needs), the concept of freedom and “unfreedoms”,  human capabilities and human development in terms of gaining and expanding the freedom we have reason to value. Sen also stresses well-being on overcoming deprivation and other forms of freedom, the opportunity of collective action – collaborating with those who share common values, interests, goals  to promote freedom of other sorts. In short, Sen points out how development should focus on freedom and how social institutions plays a role in contributing to social values ( how development, institutions, values, freedom work together). He also shares a distinction in freedom (intrinsic importance and instrumental effectiveness).  Here’s a clip I found on Sen explaining his concept on capabilities:

Where Am I?

You are currently viewing the archives for November, 2011 at POLS306: The History and Politics of Development.