The History of Poverty

In this article for GEEZ magazine titled “The History of Poverty”, Vandana Shiva counters Jeffery Sachs’ approach to the causes of and solutions to poverty, claiming that the history of poverty involves the rich as much as it does the poor. If this is the case, affluence comes at a heavy price. Shiva proposes that the answer to poverty cannot simply be to make poor people richer, but change our affluent lifestyle.

She describes one of the problems in how the Global North views poverty:

“People are perceived as poor if they eat millets (grown by women) rather than commercially produced and distributed processed junk foods sold by global agri-business. They are seen as poor if they live in self-built housing made form ecologically adapted natural material like bamboo and mud rather than in cement houses. They are seen as poor if they wear handmade garments of natural fibre rather than synthetics.”

Read the full article online here.

Dr Vandana Shiva is an Indian physicist, eco-feminist, environmental activist and recipient of the 2010 Sydney Peace Prize. Her first book, “Staying Alive” (1988) helped redefine perceptions of third world women.