As the name suggests, economic development was originally thought of as economic growth, but in recent years it has increasingly come to be thought of as poverty reduction. The World Bank proclaims that Our dream is a world free of poverty and increasingly works to direct all of its activities towards poverty reduction. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted in 2000 a set of Millennium Development Goals the first of which is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, more specifically to reduce by half, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day. How do we know who is poor and who is not? Is poverty the same as hunger? What is the relationship between economic growth and poverty reduction? How will we know whether the Millennium Development Goal has been met, or whether world poverty is falling at all? These are some of the questions that I address in this essay.
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