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 ISC

CROP News and Events

The Politics of Social Inclusion: From Knowledge to Action

15 November 2019 | UN Library, GENEVA

BOOK LAUNCH for forthcoming CROP/UNESCO publication (as part of UNRISD Seminar Series)

Putting Children First: New Frontiers in the Fight Against Child Poverty in Africa

18 October 2019 | Brighton, UK

BOOK LAUNCH and workshop at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) in Brighton, UK

New Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP)

15 October 2019

The University of Bergen (UiB) and the International Science Council have signed a new agreement for a Global Research Programme on Inequality (GRIP).

News from CROPNET

RCT: The Gold Standard for Poverty Eradication?

6 November 2019 | Bergen Global CMI/UiB

OPEN SEMINAR organised by Bergen Global CMI/UiB with Howard White (Campbell), Sarah A Tobin (CMI), Georg Picot (UiB) and Espen Villanger (CMI)

International Science Council (ISC) inaugural Action Plan 2019-2021

October 2019

The ISC's inaugural Action Plan, Advancing Science as a Global Public Good, was recently shared with ISC members.

Launch and Workshop Event: CALL FOR PROPOSALS (Deadline 15 July)

Friday 18 October 2019

‘Putting Children First: New Frontiers in the Fight Against Child Poverty in Africa’ Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Brighton, UK

Menu