n South African Medical Journal - The poverty of the concept of 'poverty eradication' : editorial

Volume 106, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Much has been written about 'poverty eradication' in recent years. The extent of poverty is of great concern in South Africa (SA) and globally, given the social implications of so many people living under atrocious conditions. Three Carnegie conferences over several decades have addressed poverty in SA. The most recent attracted a large audience, and most of the presentations were on micro-economic approaches to poverty alleviation. Macroeconomic problems and tentative solutions received minimal attention. Despite the complexity and magnitude of the macroeconomic task, there is evidence that 'alleviation of extreme poverty' can be achieved both locally and globally if the goal of doing so is limited to the current parsimonious World Bank (WB) definitions of poverty and economic groups. The swing towards optimism that extreme poverty can be significantly reduced has been boosted by what are (dubiously) deemed by some to be signs of 'global convergence' in wealth and health outcomes. Such optimism was also expressed at the recent Davos meeting, where the goals of 'action 2015' to 'end poverty in all its forms' was discussed.

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