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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

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Scheidel, Arnim, 2013. "Flows, funds and the complexity of deprivation: Using concepts from ecological economics for the study of poverty," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 28-36.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:86:y:2013:i:c:p:28-36
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2012.10.019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pelenc, Jérôme & Ballet, Jérôme, 2015. "Strong sustainability, critical natural capital and the capability approach," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 36-44.
    2. 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.
    3. Raul F. C. Miranda & Carolina Grottera & Mario Giampietro, 2016. "Understanding slums: analysis of the metabolic pattern of the Vidigal favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 1297-1322, October.
    4. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:186-194 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pelenc, Jérôme, 2014. "Développement humain responsable et aménagement du territoire. Réflexions à partir de deux réserves de biosphère périurbaines en France et au Chili
      [Responsible Human Development and Land-Use Plann
      ," MPRA Paper 56094, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. 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: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 841-871, August.
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:166-179 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. Scheidel, Arnim & Farrell, Katharine N., 2015. "Small-scale cooperative banking and the production of capital: Reflecting on the role of institutional agreements in supporting rural livelihood in Kampot, Cambodia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 230-240.
    10. 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: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 16(4), pages 823-840, August.
    11. Griewald, Yuliana & Rauschmayer, Felix, 2014. "Exploring an environmental conflict from a capability perspective," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 30-39.
    12. Raluca Iorgulescu, 2015. "Human Capital, The Digital Divide, And The Possible Connection To The Flow-Fund Analysis Of Socioeconomic Metabolism," Annals - Economy Series, Constantin Brancusi University, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1, pages 5-16, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • I - Health, Education, and Welfare
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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