Health, Poverty and Development
On a societal level, educating girls is seen as the closest thing to a silver bullet for eradicating poverty. Education can improve food security. That is: global poverty and why it matters to the American people. . The economic, health and security consequences of these weak links in the global public. This page addresses the manner that the cycle of poverty, health and hunger and economic, environmental, health and security-related root causes of hunger. This page links to other web resources on health, poverty and development.
The need to provide security against downside risks has been the basis of many functional explanations that purport to explain the nature of rural institutions, patron-client relations, inheritance systems, family types, reciprocity networks, moral structures, and subject formations. Poor people could increase their own security, or decrease their insecurity, by employing a whole host of institutional and familial strategies to mitigate downward shocks.
I bring up the literature on insecurity in peasant communities to ask why so little of this body of work finds its way into contemporary discussions of human security. In countries like India, the majority of the population is still rural, and continues to be dependent in critical ways on agriculture, even when agricultural income is not the primary source of income for the household.
The literature on peasant communities that links insecurity to risk, and provides models of communitarian social arrangements that mitigate against the insecurity of livelihoods, might offer us some templates to deal with dilemmas about poverty in the present.
Not equating the security of people and nation-states also allowed for the possibility that the national state could be harming some of its own citizens and residents, and therefore, that the security of people could not be guaranteed by the securing of the nation-state.
This move in security studies toward human security was paralleled by a shift in poverty discourse toward human security. The report goes on to say that for most people feelings of insecurity arise from worries of daily life having to do with getting enough to eat, job security, safe neighborhoods, repressive states, gendered violence, or religious and ethnic intolerance It goes on to identify seven major components of human security: In stressing the expansion of human capabilities, Human Development does not help decide whether the provision of food is more important than the provision of medical services or educational services, etc.
Human security narrows the scope of the human development concept by focusing on that which is essential for human security Gasper Thus, if access to food is, on the average, adequate, but seasonally variable or unstable, then human security better captures this element of unreliability or unpredictability Gasper Governments are more likely to act in the name of human security than for general purposes of development.
In particular, it places at par people who have suffered physical and structural violence at the hands of their own nation-states with those whose suffering is due to the military threats of other nation-states.
I wish to ask a different question. It appears that a new consensus on global poverty took shape in the late s, culminating in the UN Millennium Declaration in September The year is also significant because it inaugurated a new approach to poverty by the World Bank and the IMF. Bythe calls for reducing global poverty had become a tidal wave.
That same year, the G-8 summit made global poverty its main focus; the Millennium Development Goals Report was also released in United Nations Global poverty even made it to the top of the agenda at the high profile economic summit in Davos in at the World Economic Forum WEF. This was not entirely an elite-driven agenda. The same year saw the introduction of two highly visible campaigns to eradicate global poverty: The underlying problems of poverty and human insecurity did not change dramatically after these ways of conceptualizing poverty and security became dominant.Income and Wealth Inequality: Crash Course Economics #17
How did these two concepts articulate with each other? In the next section, I will track their intersections and transmutations.
Or, was it just a coincidence that these two ways of thinking about poverty emerged one after the other?
For the moment, I offer some tentative hypotheses, which may be rejected or refined by further research and argumentation. Unfortunately, it makes my argument more convoluted that things actually unfolded in the reverse order.
The basic argument that poverty was a security issue in that the lives of the poor were insecure along multiple dimensions, and the eradication of all those risks was necessary in anti-poverty efforts. However, at that point, poverty was still largely conceptualized as national, and the risks it posed were largely to poor people themselves, and, secondarily, to national economies and states.
What is the Relationship Between Poverty and Learning?
Although the concept of human security left open as to whose security was at question, and potentially included poor people in the global North, it was clear that the primary concern of human security discourse was with poor people in the global South — they were the ones whose security mattered because they were the ones at risk.
Human security has been severely criticized by some security studies scholars for its lack of specificity and measurability, and the more traditional branch of security studies has largely ignored it for this reason.
However, others have argued that this lack of precision is exactly what makes it useful, as it can be differently employed in diverse contexts, depending on what the greatest risks are in those contexts: Moreover, the discourse of global poverty arose in a context in which the key concern was what the wealthy nation-states and peoples in the global North could do for the 11 Akhil Gupta Territories of Poverty volume July 18, unfortunate poor in the global South.
The depoliticization of poverty occurs by seeing it as not being created by global inequalities, or structural inequalities in a global system Sachs, If the dominant mode of relating to the poor was that of charity or aid, it made sense to lump them together in this way.
However, if one wanted to think of cultural context and structural location, and especially if one wanted to link poverty to relational inequalities between the global North and South, it made little sense to lump the poor in Africa with the poor in India.
In the work of thinkers such as Sachs, Singer, and Collier, it is precisely this lack of analysis of systematic, structural inequality in a globally interconnected world that enables the construction of the global poor as abject objects of sympathy and aid Sachs ; Singer ; Collier What is at stake here is not just the existence of such uneven geographies, but their reproduction. Martin Luther King, in his famous anti-war speech, made this connection clearly: It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the poverty program.
There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam, and I watched this program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war.
And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in 12 Akhil Gupta Territories of Poverty volume July 18, rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic, destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
Perhaps a more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population.
We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would hardly live on the same block in Chicago.
I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor. Poor, minority men, subjects of structural and police violence at home, are recruited to wage war and perpetuate violence on poor people in Vietnam in the name of the US state. There is a long history to the idea that poverty in the Third World is a security problem for the West, although the fear earlier concerned the nation-state much more than it did citizens.
American corporations were of course negatively affected by any political instability, but so were domestic businesses that were needed for a country to advance to the next stage of growth Rostow Huntington worried that without a strong government, political instability would be created because mass republican mobilization, even if it was non-communist, would outrun institution-building Huntington Persistent poverty would lead to Third World states becoming communist, and growing communist influence, in turn, threatened the security of the Free World.
This was clearly one of the most important lessons that Robert McNamara, as Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War, took from his experience advising two Presidents on the war in Vietnam.
The Interdependent Relationship Between Poverty and Human Rights
For McNamara the threat of warfare was a consequence of the widening income gap between the industrial and developing countries. Since the Vietnam War, security concerns in the global North have shifted from a fear of an attack by another nation-state to a concern with the damage that might be inflicted by terrorist groups.
Defense intellectuals theorize that terrorists thrive in conditions that uncannily resemble the conditions that were said to give rise to communism.
- Poverty and Human Security in Kenya
Poverty is the underlying cause, and, if on top of that, one overlays failed states, the paucity of job prospects, and extremist ideology, then one gets ideal breeding grounds for recruitment to terrorist organizations Sachs But Sachs is scarcely alone in extending the insights about security gained during the Cold War to the brave new world of non-state threats to elite citizens in the global North.
The whole problematic of security, ensconced in the geographies of the Cold War, has to be constantly rethought. What is really being retheorized in these debates is how to define the subject whose insecurity is to be addressed. The Cold War definition of security was national, but the vision of the nation-state was such that it already excluded its minority citizens from civil rights and substantive equality.
In such a world, definitions of security are caught between the old nation-state formulations familiar to 15 Akhil Gupta Territories of Poverty volume July 18, security analysts embedded in the military-industrial complex, and new ideas seeking to theorize modes of security that would be adequate to protect the life and well-being of this elite.
The ideas of security presented by Sachs are no doubt a theory of human security, and not about national security in the narrow sense. But the insecurity that defense intellectuals worry about is not that of poor people across the globe. The subject of security here is the elite citizen of the nation-states of the global North who is under threat by poverty in the global South. But the problem is that such arguments effect a critical shift in the subject of insecurity—from the poor person in the global South to the elites in the global North.
After all, whose security is being threatened by poverty? Almost certainly, it is not the poor people in the global South and it is not even the poor people in the global North. Elites in the global North cannot be secure at home without eradicating poverty abroad. The poor subject who was proposed as the center of the human security concept by Mahbub ul Haq has been erased, and became instead an instrument toward an end, which is the security of elite subjects mostly in the global North, but increasingly, spread across the world.
Poverty in the global South threatens elites in the global North not only because it breeds frustration and thereby political extremism, but for a host of other reasons.
The argument begins by acknowledging that globalization has resulted in tightly interconnecting the lives of people all over the world. The argument made by New Labour was that in an increasingly interconnected world, poverty and conflict in other places can, and will, spill over and affect the global North. When one moves from development to security, what is lost in shifting the emphasis from the poor person in the global South, who was the subject of development, to the elite citizen of the global North who is the subject of security whose life is threatened by new kinds of risks in an increasingly interconnected world?
As Roy notes in her Introduction to this volume, poverty is being reterritorialized in the world today: Poverty is also being produced and reproduced in novel ways. We have to study the production of poverty, which means that we need to pay attention to new forms of accumulation and distribution in the global economy.
Although acute poverty is often defined in absolute terms, poverty is relational, and any argument such as the one made in this paper about poverty being a threat to the security of global elites begs the question of the relationship—physical, geographical, transactional, legal—between the rich and the poor.
It is this relationship that is creating new geographies, new cartographies, of poverty, new forms of the territorialization, deterritorialization, and reterritorialization of poverty. The rise of the BRICs is only one large trend in the reterritorialization of wealth and accumulation in the global economy today.
The larger picture of a move of the center of the global economy towards Asia signifies an important shift in the geography of capitalist accumulation. However, what matters for poverty is not such aggregate movements, but whether such macro shifts indicate also a qualitative difference in the lives of the poor. If high growth is accompanied by growing rates of inequality, then it may do little to help the 18 Akhil Gupta Territories of Poverty volume July 18, acutely poor.
And, indeed, the evidence does seem to point to the fact that change in the lives of the poorest people in South Asia, particularly in India, is occurring marginally, despite two decades of fast growth.
India seems to be producing billionaires faster than any other country but appears to have a lot of difficulty in using its newfound resources to get more people out of poverty.
The larger point here about patterns of neoliberal accumulation is that inequality seems to be growing in every region of the world.
The implications of this fact for a reterritorialization of poverty needs to be worked out. Poverty and learning are often talked about together, mostly because it is agreed upon that education is an avenue out of poverty. On an individual level, education can be the difference between a life below and a live above the poverty line.
On a societal level, educating girls is seen as the closest thing to a silver bullet for eradicating poverty. Education can improve food security, improve health standards and improve gender equality.
The Relationship Between Poverty and Learning Poverty affects children on several levels, including physical, social-emotional and cognitive.
Additionally, prenatal drug use, environmental toxins and long-term exposure to stress and violence can impact physical health and cognitive ability before birth and are more common in low income households.
Social-Emotional Children living in poverty often see themselves as victims of a system, lacking their own autonomy or ability to make choices that actually affect their lives. This poor sense of agency affects their focus, initiative and engagement in the classroom. Cognitive Development Long-term exposure to stress hormones as a result of living in or near poverty, violence and trauma affects brain development. In particular, children living in poverty exhibit lower executive function impulse control, emotional regulation, attention management, task prioritization, working memory, etc.