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Analysis and Comment (36)

Pope Francis has urged the world to avoid the greed of unchecked capitalism. Pope Francis has urged the world to avoid the greed of unchecked capitalism. Yonhap/AAP

The ‘dark side’ of capitalism: why the Pope is highlighting inequality

Pope Francis has emerged as one of the most important voices on the global stage about the need for a stronger moral dimension in economic policies. This has caused some upset in business and financial…
Mattresses thrown over a playground at the Gran Familia children’s home, Zamora. Mattresses thrown over a playground at the Gran Familia children’s home, Zamora. EPA

Millions of Mexican minors work to survive or risk lives to escape

The recent rescue of 458 children and 138 adults from the Gran Familia refuge in the city of Zamora in the state of Michoacán is another grim illustration of the plight of many unprotected and vulnerable…
Reason to smile: far fewer children are growing up in poverty in tropical regions of the world than 30 years ago. Reason to smile: far fewer children are growing up in poverty in tropical regions of the world than 30 years ago. Mark Ziembicki

Earth’s generation next will be wealthier, but not always healthier

Our Tropical Future: A new report on the State of the Tropics has revealed rapid changes in human and environmental health in the Earth’s tropical regions. This is the second in a four-part series about…
This Vietnamese school girl is growing up in a new era: by the time she is middle-aged, 60% of the world’s children will be living in a tropical region. This Vietnamese school girl is growing up in a new era: by the time she is middle-aged, 60% of the world’s children will be living in a tropical region. UN Photo/Mark Garten

How the world is turning tropical before our eyes

Our Tropical Future: A new report on the State of the Tropics has revealed rapid changes in human and environmental health in the Earth’s tropical regions. This is the first in a four-part series about…
There is scant evidence that ‘aid for trade’ programs have any impact on lifting the poorest people globally out of poverty. There is scant evidence that ‘aid for trade’ programs have any impact on lifting the poorest people globally out of poverty. EPA/Yahya Arhab

Does ‘aid for trade’ really help reduce poverty?

Even before assuming office, foreign minister Julie Bishop was clear on the Coalition’s approach to foreign aid: “aid for trade” was touted as the primary strategy of the Coalition’s aid program. Last…
If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Stuck for a World Cup team? Shoot for the happiness dividend

Let’s be realistic. Australia is the lowest ranked of the 32 teams in the World Cup, and despite a very creditable performance in its first match against Chile, its chances of making it out of the group…
Even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle to eat well. Even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle to eat well. Alex Proimos/Flickr

Life below the poverty line: lessons from eating on $2 a day

Global poverty statistics are staggering – 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty and about 870 million are undernourished – but even in an affluent country such as Australia, many people struggle…
The Glasgow Red Road flats will not feature in the Commonwealth Games ceremony. The Glasgow Red Road flats will not feature in the Commonwealth Games ceremony. Graeme Maclean

Red Road flats saga is a reminder that attitudes to council housing are vile

Should we be celebrating the Commonwealth Games organisers' decision not to demolish Glasgow’s iconic Red Road Flats as part of the opening ceremony, where the live footage was to be beamed on huge screens…
Science incubator with food. Science incubator with food. EPA

Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

Science has often come to the rescue when it comes to the world’s big problems, be it the Green Revolution that helped avoid mass starvation or the small pox vaccine that eradicated the disease. There…
Child poverty is not going away. Child poverty is not going away. Need Not Greed

Scots more likely to blame parents for child poverty

Evidence about poverty is meant to be troubling. The only crumb of comfort for campaigners is that the harsh realities of everyday life portrayed through statistics, imagery and narratives can be the catalyst…
Poverty and population growth have driven child exploitation in the Philippines for decades. Poverty and population growth have driven child exploitation in the Philippines for decades. Pat Roque/AP

Philippines webcam child abuse arrests come after decades of exploitation and inequality

Long before the advent of the internet, the Philippines was a prime destination for Western child sex tourists. The US military presence in the country during and following the Vietnam War fuelled a demand…
Fetch a bucket. Fetch a bucket. Matluba Mukhamedova/World Bank

Water firms' failure to invest stores up problems

There’s been much debate this past month about Britain’s rising gas and electricity bills. Price hikes have followed utility companies' reports of massive increases in profits, such as Scottish Power which…
The lower down the pecking order you are, the greater the stresses associated with everyday living, and worse your health. The lower down the pecking order you are, the greater the stresses associated with everyday living, and worse your health. Travis/Flickr

It’s good to be king: how social status affects health

The traditional view of health is a biomedical one – stop people from getting ill by preventing infection and treating disease. But a growing body of research showing that health is the result of social…
Women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. Women comprise 43% of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. CGIAR Climate

Feeding the world: addressing gender divides could help reduce malnutrition

Our modern food system is a double-edged sword: delivering chronic under-nutrition due to shortages of nutritious food, and chronic obesity due to overconsumption. In Australia, we’re living among 60…
An innovative approach to mobility in Uganda. An innovative approach to mobility in Uganda. The Advocacy Project

Disabled people in Africa have been marginalised for too long

Disabled people are severely marginalised and among the poorest in developing countries. Having a disability increases the risk of poverty, and being poor also increases the risk of getting a disability…
From the heart: a food bank established last month outside HSBC. From the heart: a food bank established last month outside HSBC. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Michael Gove and the real picture of poverty in Britain

Michael Gove’s recent suggestion that inadequate financial management skills among poor families are to blame for the increasing demand on food banks has, unsurprisingly, sparked an angry response. Critics…
What is the poverty rate, and are more people poor? What is the poverty rate, and are more people poor? AAP Image/Jenny Evans

FactCheck: is poverty on the rise in Australia?

“Politicians will talk a lot about ‘cost of living pressures’ during this election campaign, even though most people are enjoying living standards that are better than ever. However, a growing group of…
Electorally, we are assumed to live in an economy, not a society which protects its most vulnerable members. Electorally, we are assumed to live in an economy, not a society which protects its most vulnerable members. Flickr/Viewminder

Election 2013 Issues: Australians, one and all?

Welcome to the The Conversation’s Election 2013 State of the Nation essays. These articles by leading experts in their field provide an in-depth look at the key policy challenges affecting Australia as…
Raised aspirations can help Indian sex workers escape poverty. Raised aspirations can help Indian sex workers escape poverty. Gates Foundation

Raise aspirations to break the poverty trap

Why do some people get stuck in poverty? Most answers to this question start with the idea that external constraints trap people in poverty. These constraints could take the form of malfunctioning credit…
Life’s fine above the poverty line for Mervyn King. Life’s fine above the poverty line for Mervyn King. PA/Yui Mok

Mervyn King’s rosy recovery prediction means little for a shattered nation

The outgoing Bank of England governor Mervyn King has presided over a huge economic crisis. His parting gift is the claim “a recovery is in sight” that the UK might achieve economic growth of even 1% this…
If your environment is polluted, you’re probably poor. If your environment is polluted, you’re probably poor. Kaptain Kobold/flickr

A healthy environment shouldn’t just be for the rich

Ever heard of “environmental justice”? No? It links social and environmental discrimination. Still doesn’t sound familiar? Well if you’ve seen the movie Erin Brockovich - which examines how a single mother…
Despite a government target, students from poor backgrounds risk being left out of higher education. Despite a government target, students from poor backgrounds risk being left out of higher education. University student image from www.shutterstock.com

A low target: enrolling poor uni students remains a challenge

According to the Federal Government, Australian public universities need to be more inclusive, particularly when it comes to enrolling poorer students. They’ve set a target to have 20% of undergraduate…
Single mothers such as Michelle Daly have high aspirations for their children. Reducing their payments won’t help achieve them. Single mothers such as Michelle Daly have high aspirations for their children. Reducing their payments won’t help achieve them. AAP/Lukas Coch

Taking the big stick to single parents is not the answer

New legislation was passed last week to move single parents off the parenting payment, and onto the Newstart Allowance once their youngest child turns eight. Advocates for this change suggest that the…
Is the number of Australians in poverty increasing, or are the statistics being interpreted inaccurately? Is the number of Australians in poverty increasing, or are the statistics being interpreted inaccurately? Flickr\Vermin Inc

Shame or sham? Assessing poverty in Australia

Over two million Australians are currently living in poverty, according to a report released yesterday by Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS). Dr Cassandra Goldie of ACOSS says that it is a “national…
Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has agreed to examine Newstart rates after ruling out a raise to the dole earlier this week. Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has agreed to examine Newstart rates after ruling out a raise to the dole earlier this week. AAP

Down and out, and on the dole: why the Newstart Allowance needs a raise

Why do we have welfare policies that create unnecessary poverty? Despite a multitude of reports, submissions, public pleas and other advocacy on the problems of Newstart (NSA) recipients, the government…
Policymakers should ensure that the safety net provides adequate income for daily needs as well as ensuring that people are positioned to quickly reintegrate into satisfactory paid employment. Policymakers should ensure that the safety net provides adequate income for daily needs as well as ensuring that people are positioned to quickly reintegrate into satisfactory paid employment. freefotouk

No through road: path to prosperity eludes America’s jobless poor

In the late 1990s, American writer and activist Barbara Ehrenreich spent a year working in low end jobs in the United States documenting the pitifully low wages, the oppression, and barriers to upward…
The poorest people in the world have the largest burden of disease. The poorest people in the world have the largest burden of disease. Jon Baldock

Obesity, poverty and inequality: weighty problems for all of us

A somewhat diverting paper on obesity came out earlier this week. It’s based on a cute idea – looking at what overweight people do to global resource requirements instead of the more traditional approach…
Can ethical markets solve the problems of persistent poverty and global income inequality? Can ethical markets solve the problems of persistent poverty and global income inequality? Michelle Brea

Challenge 7: The market, morals, ethics, and poverty

In part seven of our multi-disciplinary Millennium Project series, Adrian Walsh argues that a humane market asks something of us that we may not want to give. Global challenge 7: How can ethical market…
Feeding the world is entirely feasible, but food distribution remains a significant challenge. Feeding the world is entirely feasible, but food distribution remains a significant challenge. edwin van buuringen

Meat consumption offers food for thought on global poverty

The Economist has its critics, but it still delivers lots of interesting data. I just found this table (published by EconomistDailyChart) of annual meat consumption per person by country. The data set…
The not-for-profit Foodbank Australia represents one of the largest distributors of food to hungry Australians. But what is the role of government? The not-for-profit Foodbank Australia represents one of the largest distributors of food to hungry Australians. But what is the role of government? AAP

The average Australian wastes 200kg of food a year - yet two million of us also go hungry. Why?

Globally, more than 800 million people are chronically undernourished. And some of these people live in Australia. Of course, these people do not live in desperate refugee camps; and most do not endure…
The rise of extreme wealth has gone hand-in-hand with absolute poverty in the US. The rise of extreme wealth has gone hand-in-hand with absolute poverty in the US. AAP

How extreme wealth and absolute poverty have returned to disfigure the West

The rediscovery of inequality is one of the more startling realisations of the post-global financial crisis, post-globalisation world. A Berkeley University professor Emmanuel Saez with colleagues has…
Being unable to afford one substantial meal a day and pay for home insurance are indicators of poverty. Being unable to afford one substantial meal a day and pay for home insurance are indicators of poverty. Flickr/27147

Down and out in Australia: the new way to define poverty

Poverty is about more than just a lack of income. Those who experience it face unacceptable restrictions on their material and social wellbeing. Research can no longer focus on defining a poverty line…

Research and News (6)

Global poverty is shrinking: study

Global poverty is declining and may be eradicated altogether in some countries in the next 20 years, a new study by the University…

Research Briefs (2)