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Title: "If your brother becomes poor ..." : a critical synthesis on the aetiology of poverty based on Christopher J.H. Wright, the World Bank and contemporary scholarship
Author: Barnard, Phillip Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 789X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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In September 2000, the United Nations adopted their Millennium Declaration: a commitment to improving the lives of the world’s poorest people. Of the eight Millennium Goals declared, the foremost one was to ‘Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger’, with a target to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than US $1 per day. Many have attempted to address this problem, yet debate rages as to why some communities remain in poverty whilst others progress rapidly out. Dr Christopher Wright, a Church of England minister, contends that the root causes of poverty are indeed identifiable from Old Testament texts: natural disasters, laziness and oppression. While Wright presented a brief overview of this biblical approach, he did not elaborate on how it relates to contemporary theories of economic development, or whether it reflects the experience of poor people. This study therefore seeks to critically synthesize Wright’s model with contemporary scholarship and field research. We first evaluate Wright’s assessment of the biblical texts and propose a small number of revisions that might be beneficial. We secondly assess four leading secular paradigms that provide an understanding of poverty causation – the monetary approach, capability approach, social exclusion and participatory methods – and critique them through the lens of a biblical anthropology. Using a Framework Synthesis, we then compare Wright’s model against qualitative, participatory data obtained from participants in three Brazilian cities and gathered for the 1999 Brazilian National Report, a section of the 2000/01 World Development Report [World Bank] on poverty. The results of our synthesis show that in many ways, the biblical aetiology is reflected in the spectrum of secular theories and the experiences of the interviewees. However, we saw that the model needs to be redrawn: ‘natural causes’ needed to be rephrased as ‘disasters’; ‘laziness’ needs to be rephrased as ‘failure’; and ‘oppression’ needed a larger emphasis on the onset of poverty caused when leaders desert sections of a community. We propose that this model is an appropriate critical synthesis on the aetiology of poverty based on Wright, the World Bank and contemporary scholarship.
Supervisor: Sedmak, Clemens ; Joyce, Paul Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available