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Report on the World Social Situation 2010

Rethinking Poverty

image of Report on the World Social Situation 2010

The 2010 issue of the Report on the World Social Situation focuses on the challenge of achieving poverty reduction. The Millennium Development Goals seek to halve, by 2015, the level of extreme poverty that existed since 1990. The Report begins with an overview of global, regional and selected country poverty trends over the period 1981-2005, critically examines the conventional policy framework and popular poverty reduction programmes, argues that a commitment to eradicating poverty and to enhancing equity and social integration requires consistent actions directed towards sustainable economic growth, productive employment creation and social development, entailing an integrated approach to economic and social policies for the benefit of all citizens. It recommends consideration of the policy approaches that have dominated the disclosure on growth and poverty thus far.

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Economic liberalization and poverty reduction

Economic liberalization encompasses the processes, including government policies, that promote free trade, deregulation, elimination of subsidies, price controls and rationing systems, and, often, the downsizing or privatization of public services (Woodward, 1992). Economic liberalization has been central to adjustment policies introduced in developing countries since the late 1970s, mostly in the context of the conditions for lending set by international financial institutions. Thus, government policies were redirected to follow a noninterventionist, or laissez-faire, approach to economic activity, relying on market forces for the allocation of resources. It was argued that market-oriented policy reforms would spur growth and accelerate poverty reduction.

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