Anti-Poverty 2.0

Global leaders have touted the apparent success of achieving in 2010 – well ahead of the 2015 target – the Millennium Development Goal of halving global poverty relative to 1990. But, amid enduring poverty, rising inequality, and weak growth in many developing countries, the success of past anti-poverty policies appears dubious.

ROME – Global leaders have touted the apparent success of achieving in 2010 – well ahead of the 2015 target – the Millennium Development Goal of halving the share of people who were living below the poverty line in 1990. But, amid enduring poverty, rising inequality, and lackluster growth in many developing countries, the success of past anti-poverty policies and programs appears dubious.

In fact, outside of East Asia, progress has been modest, with the situation worsening in some countries and regions – despite several economic-growth spurts, sustained expansion in some large developing countries, and public commitments by the international community to the 2000 Millennium Declaration, which led to the MDGs.

This mixed record calls into question the efficacy of conventional poverty-reduction policies, often identified with the Washington Consensus, which transformed the discourse on poverty in the 1980’s. Washington Consensus reforms – including macroeconomic stabilization (defined as low-single-digit inflation) and market liberalization – were supposed to reduce poverty by accelerating economic growth.

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