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Changing Perceptions Of The Poor In Classical Economic Thought

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  • Alain CLÉMENT

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Abstract

This paper reviews the various types of discourse on the poor and on the relationships between poverty and a number of economic and social institutions that were seen alternatively as either solutions to or causes of poverty. At the beginning of the 19th century, the poor were considered autonomous economic agents responsible for their own condition. Progressively environmental explanations for the existence of poverty are discussed in this economic analysis. By the middle of the 19th century, these new arguments, combined with analysis about non specific forms of behaviour, justified new attitudes and new politics towards the poor.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain CLÉMENT, 2005. "Changing Perceptions Of The Poor In Classical Economic Thought," Cahiers d’économie politique / Papers in Political Economy, L'Harmattan, issue 49, pages 65-86.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpo:journl:y:2005:i:49:p:65-86
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    JEL classification:

    • B12 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Classical (includes Adam Smith)

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