The Economics of Poverty and the Poverty of Economics: A Christian Perspective
Barrett, Christopher B.
In this world of plenty, almost half of the world's six billion people live on two dollars a day or less and the number living on less than one dollar a day has increased over the past fifteen years (World Bank 2000). Between one third and one half suffer under nutrition due to insufficient intake of calories, protein or critical micronutrients such as vitamin A, iodine and iron. More than one child in five lives in acute poverty. Why does such unnecessary injustice continue to disfigure a rich, technologically advanced world and what can be done to care for the poor and thereby to care for and honor God, as the Gospels instruct us? In attempting to answer those questions, at least partly, this paper offers some insights from recent research in economics, as well as my concerns about the limits to economic understanding of these humanitarian, intellectual and spiritual challenges.
WP 2003-15 April 2003
Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University