Poverty Reduction: What Role for the State in Today's Globalized Economy

Poverty and social exclusion have moved up the international policy agenda, in step with the ever more obvious failure of development to reduce mass immiseration and the growing gulf of inequality which latterday capitalism has created. In this volume, local and international scholars, acknowledging that the 'trickle down' and 'natural' processes of the market do not provide a remedy, turn the spotlight on the state. In a series of general explorations of the issues involved and specific investigations in particular countries, mainly in Southern and Central Africa, they explore theoretically and empirically the difficult questions around how much can be expected of the state in poverty reduction. What political and cultural dimensions of the state need to be taken into account when considering how it should help shape activity in society? How is the role of power best analysed when considering strategies to reduce poverty? What is the meaning of pro-poor governance? What can be expected of specific interventions by government? How is the concept of citizenship incorporated in poverty reduction programmes? This volume makes two major contributions. It provides a rich seam of up-to-date information on the incidence and forms of poverty in Southern and Central Africa and the great variety of strategies and programmes by governments, aid agencies and international institutions to tackle it. Even more importantly, it throws light on the general questions, indeed the limitations and obstacles, around expecting too much of governments.