June 19, 2008

Power vs. Poverty

This is an interesting piece in the New Statesman by Duncan Green.  This portion in particular left me reflecting again upon the role of religious and faith-based organizations in development work:
If you define development merely as rising GDP per capita, then the story almost ends there - effective states create the basis for rapid growth. But development, parti cularly tackling poverty, is about far more than that. When the World Bank, in an unprecedented exercise, asked 64,000 poor people around the world about their lives, what emerged was a complex and human account of poverty, encompassing issues that are often ignored in the academic literature: the importance of being able to give one's children a good start in life, the mental anguish that poverty brings. The overall conclusion was that, "again and again, powerlessness seems to be at the core of the bad life".
Tackling such powerlessness is not just about election campaigns and government. Building "power within" - for example, women's assertiveness to insist on their right not to be beaten in the home - and "power with" - in the form of collective organisation - is essential to achieving the wider empowerment that transforms politics and societies.
Issues of powerlessness and "power within" - now we're talking faith.


a conversationalist said...

Well said. I am sad that when dealing with the worlds' poor, we often view them as complete unknowns in the sense of "how can we help these people?" Instead of, if I was in this situation, what would it take to make me feel and be safe secure happy etc. This is what troubles me alot about the politicians in this country and their usual fiscal status (read rich). How can we expect people who have led largely insular lives to know how to help the people in our communities that need the most help if the only connection to people of lesser financial/social well-offness than themselves is.....what? Any at all? (Is it just me or all of my comments completely without useful punctuation &^!)

j said...

Hmmmm, you sound like a closet Ron Paul supporter . . .

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