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The Financialization of Poverty

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Part of the Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy book series (PEPP)

Abstract

Given this book’s claim that microfinance financializes poverty, a deeper discussion of “poverty” is necessary. The conception of poverty that is employed here draws on Simmel’s The Poor, which analysed the relationship between poor people and society at large to argue that, in any given society, who is “poor” and who isn’t depends less on any specific deprivation than on whether someone is (or should be) the subject of dedicated institutions that help and control them. Simmel observed how societies organized different forms of poor assistance which could be premised either on poor people holding intrinsic rights to receive assistance or on the rich having obligations to provide it. Being poor or being propertied, Simmel (1965: 126) explained, is part of “the role that each concrete individual member of society performs”. The poor are “poor” most fundamentally in this organic relationship with the wealthy, Simmel held, which put them “approximately in the situation of the stranger to the group who finds himself, so to speak, outside the group in which he resides” (Simmel 1965: 124–125). Even among the materially wealthy classes, Simmel observed, there were people who were not poor in terms of an incapacity to meet fundamental needs but in terms of deprivation relative to the expectations of their class.

Keywords

  • Interest Rate
  • Political Economy
  • Capital Accumulation
  • Poor People
  • Loan Portfolio

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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  • DOI: 10.1057/9781137364210_3
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© 2015 Philip Mader

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Mader, P. (2015). The Financialization of Poverty. In: The Political Economy of Microfinance. Studies in the Political Economy of Public Policy. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137364210_3

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