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Olli Varis


Poverty reduction decorates all development agendas, but the complexity of the poverty issue is too often hidden behind simplistic indicators and development goals. Here, a closer look is taken at the concepts of “deprivation” and “vulnerability” as outcomes of poverty. Deprivation leads typically to social exclusion and marginalization; such groups are particularly weak in getting themselves out of poverty by “self-help,” and economic growth does not trickle down to these people. When looking at the connections between poverty reduction and economic growth, special emphasis should be put on the differences between modern and more traditional sectors: development of the modern sector should not marginalize and exclude those dependent on more traditional livelihoods. Two case studies—The Tonle Sap area, Cambodia, and the Mekong Delta, Vietnam—reveal that investment in education, empowerment of small-scale entrepreneurship and other means of microeconomic environment, along with good governance, infrastructure, and income distribution can ensure that economic growth includes the poorer echelons of society.

Source: AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment

Article: pp.225-231