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Flows, funds and the complexity of deprivation: Using concepts from ecological economics for the study of poverty

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  • Scheidel, Arnim
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    Abstract

    Poverty has been increasingly conceptualized as being multidimensional, involving deprivation in many dimensions of life. This paper discusses issues and implications of multidimensional poverty by adopting concepts commonly used in ecological economics. In particular, poverty is approached as an irreducible, complex phenomenon for which many legitimate, but non-equivalent descriptions exist. Issues of social and technical incommensurability are illustrated for different meanings and measurement types of poverty. Georgescu-Roegen's flow/fund framework is interpreted, informed by the capability approach of Amartya Sen. The paper argues that a predominant focus on flows as a proxy to analyze poverty represents rather a short-term perspective on access to satisfiers to fulfill particular needs. Contrary to that, focusing on valued funds may provide useful information for the analysis of capabilities that persons and societies might pursue in the long term. Furthermore, it is argued that strong poverty alleviation needs to adopt analytical tools that can deal with non-trade-off cases: improvements in one poverty dimension cannot always compensate for the deterioration of other poverties. This implies to rethink the usefulness of aggregate multidimensional poverty indices, as well as the predominant use of income measures.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 86 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 28-36

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:86:y:2013:i:c:p:28-36

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Multidimensional poverty; Complexity; Incommensurability; Flow-fund framework; Capability approach;

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    Cited by:
    1. Demals, Thierry & Hyard, Alexandra, 2014. "Is Amartya Sen's sustainable freedom a broader vision of sustainability?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 33-38.
    2. Arnim Scheidel & Katharine Farrell & Jesús Ramos-Martin & Mario Giampietro & Kozo Mayumi, 2014. "Land poverty and emerging ruralities in Cambodia: insights from Kampot province," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 823-840, August.
    3. Camilo Martínez-Iglesias & Alevgül H. Sorman & Mario Giampietro & Jesus Ramos-Martin, 2014. "Assessing biophysical limits to the economic development of remote islands: the case of Isabela in the Galapagos Archipelago," Documentos de Trabajo CEPROEC 2014_01, Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales, Centro de Prospectiva Estratégica.
    4. Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2014. "Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 30-39.
    5. Sara Mingorría & Gonzalo Gamboa & Berta Martín-López & Esteve Corbera, 2014. "The oil palm boom: socio-economic implications for Q’eqchi’ households in the Polochic valley, Guatemala," Environment, Development and Sustainability, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 841-871, August.

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