mobilmeny

Poverty as a wicked problem

Poverty as a wicked problem

CROP POVERTY BRIEF by Paul Spicker (Robert Gordon University, UK), CROP Fellow

November 2016

This brief argues for a pragmatic approach to poverty, rather than an analytical one:

Poverty is a wicked issue - complex, multidimensional, unclear and changeable. There is not one problem to be addressed. If we are not dealing with a set, specific problem, or even a defined process, there is little point in chasing after definitive, mechanistic answers.

There are some common misunderstandings about anti-poverty policy. The first is the belief that we can prevent poverty by identifying and dealing with its causes, or the 'generative mechanisms' that lead to people being poor; this has led to a long series of bad policies. The second misconception is to suppose that if we know what causes the problems, we will know how to stop them; the way into a problem is not usually the way out of it. Neither position is tenable, and too often they have led policy astray.

The problems are not going to sit there waiting for someone to solve them, so that they can be picked off one by one; new problems and issues are arising all the time. Poverty is dynamic - constantly shifting and changing, as an enormous range of processes coincide and collide.

One of the central insights offered by the emphasis on poverty as a multidimensional issue has been to emphasise the importance of the perceptions, experience and voice of people who suffer it, as a way of clarifying issues and developing priorities.

POVERTY BRIEF 35: Poverty as a wicked problem

Overview of CROP Poverty Briefs

06.09.2017
Share:         
UiB ISSC

CROP News and Events

Poverty, Inequality Dynamics, and Economic Development

6-7 September 2018 | King's College London, UK

CALL FOR PAPERS - WORKSHOP co-organised by CROP and hosted by King's College, London. DEADLINE: 31 January 2018

Perspectives on the Democratic Developmental State

27-28 February 2018 | Cape Town, South Africa

CALL FOR PAPERS: WORKSHOP and BOOK LAUNCH organised by CROP, UIB Global and the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape. Deadline for papers: 5 December 2017

Power, Conflict and Development in Contemporary South Africa

7 November 2017 (08:30-09:30) | Bergen Resource Centre for International Development

SEMINAR organised by CROP/UiB with visiting professor Sithembiso Myeni from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

News from CROPNET

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty 2017

17 October 2017

United Nations Call to Action to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies

ISSC General Assembly 2017

24-26 October 2017 | Taipei

The General Assembly will take place within the context of the 32nd ICSU General Assembly, hosted by the Academy of Sciences, Taipei.

World Social Science Forum 2018

25-28 September 2018 | Fukuoka, Japan

CALL FOR SESSION PROPOSALS: Security and Equality for Sustainable Futures: Deadline 30 September 2017

Menu