n Institute of African Studies Research Review - Poverty and the Ghanaian family

Supplement 5
  • ISSN : 0855-4412



This paper examines four aspects of poverty: (1) the essence of being poor, (2) the physical, social and psychological consequences of poverty, (3) the causes or origins of poverty, and (4) poverty alleviation. <br>Basic to programmes of poverty alleviation or elimination is understanding what keeps some people or families in a condition of perpetual poverty. Is it due to defects in the life ways of the poor (the individual blame or "culture of poverty" hypothesis), or is it due to the dysfunction and inequities in the social, political and economic institutions in the society (systemic-blame hypothesis)? It is argued here that although poverty may have both individual and systemic origins, the latter (both internal and external) is preponderantly responsible for the continuing poverty of the poor, in many developing countries. Unless there is good internal governance and a serious international effort at changing the world economic order and sharing the potential equitably, poor countries and their impoverished people will continue to wallow in poverty. National and global governance must have at their core, human development and equity.

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