Poverty, Ethics and Justice

University of Wales Press (2011)

Abstract

Poverty is one of the most serious moral issues of our time that does not yet get the appropriate response it deserves. This book first gives an in depth moral analysis and evaluation of the complex manifestations of poverty. It then offers a series of ethical reasons to motivate everyone to engage in the struggle to eradicate poverty. -/- Social science research results are synthesized into a definition and explanation of poverty that provide proper background for moral evaluation. Poverty is defined as a many-faceted phenomenon consisting of tightly interwoven characteristics that play out in a complexity of manners depending on the unique circumstances in individual situations. -/- The following series of claims are defended in the book: (1) Poverty is a complex phenomenon that can have a wide ranging series of negative impacts on individuals and societies; (2) Poverty must be understood from a variety of ethical perspectives and through different metaphors; (3) Poverty and its consequences undermine the dignity of its sufferers and thus must be eradicated for its inhuman consequences; (4) Poverty affects all the networks humans are involved in and thus diminishes the quality of life of all human beings; (5) We must evaluate all possible dimensions of the phenomenon of poverty in terms of values of ethics and justice generally shared in contemporary liberal democracies. (6) Poverty can best be addressed through collective human action after re-imagining the goal and purpose of political institutions and a reformulation of the purposes aid ought to be for.

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Hennie Lötter
University of Johannesburg

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Citations of this work

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