Inequality and Poverty: A Short Critical Introduction, 1st Edition

  • S. Subramanian
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 9811381852
  • ISBN-13: 9789811381850
  • DDC: 339.46
  • 96 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2019 | Published/Released February 2021
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2019

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This book provides an entry into the subjects of disparity and deprivation, by attending to issues that have a bearing on certain salient philosophical and conceptual aspects of these subjects. Graduate students doing a course in the measurement of inequality and poverty are all too often plunged directly into the complexities of Schur-convex functions, dominance conditions, partial orders and the axiomatics of characterization theorems. Inequality and poverty as phenomena with profound social and moral implications for the world we live in tend to get submerged in a treatment of the subject that is more suggestive of applied mathematics than of material conditions. This is in no way to deny that measurement must deal uncompromisingly with measurement, and therefore with the protocols of formal logic and technical rigor. That said, it seems fair to suggest that one's appreciation of the formalities – as well as of the limitations and ambiguities - of measurement is only aided by a relatively gentle introduction to the subject. This would call for a prior, or accompanying, engagement with the underlying concepts, the philosophical bases, the political salience, the normative values, and the critical facts of the subjects under investigation. It is this necessary background that is emphasized in this book, which is a collection of articles published earlier in the popular press, and is for any curious general reader or student with a taste for critical enquiry - the aspiring scholar and the interested lay reader looking for a gateway into the subject. It is introductory in scope, without being elementary or simplistic; highlights the conceptual underpinnings of the subject, with specific reference to background philosophy, logic, facts and values; and addresses contemporary issues of political and economic salience, such as individual vs group inequality, compensatory discrimination, the poverty line, and the moral implications of inequality and poverty.

Table of Contents

Front Cover.
Other Frontmatter.
Other Frontmatter.
Title Page.
Copyright Page.
Other Frontmatter.
About This Book.
About the Author.
1: Introduction.
2: The Intrinsic Bane of Inequality.
3: The Instrumental Harms of Inequality.
4: Distributive Justice and Utilitarianism.
5: Distributive Justice and Welfare Economics.
6: More on Welfare Economics and Distributive Justice.
7: Distribution, Welfare, and Some Elements of Social Choice Theory.
8: On the Conflict Between Equity and Efficiency.
9: Equality, Efficiency, and ‘Levelling Down’.
10: Equality and Liberty.
11: Inter-personal Versus Inter-group Inequality.
12: The Measurement of Economic Inequality.
13: Economic Inequality in India and the World.
14: The Language of the Poverty Line.
15: The Logic of the Poverty Line.
16: India's Official Poverty Lines.
17: Poverty Comparisons Across Populations of Different Sizes.
18: Targeting Assistance to the Poor.
19: Do We Have an Obligation to Assist the Distant Needy?.
20: Poverty and Inclusive Growth in the Light of the Quintile Income Statistic.
21: Deprivation in the Midst of Affluence.
22: Growth, Poverty, and Inequality in India: Pulling the Threads Together.
23: Post-script: Some FAQs in the Economics of Poverty, Inequality, and Welfare.
Further Recommended Reading.