The implications of urban development for overall economic prosperity are well known. Employment, housing, policing, infrastructure and social policies in cities have been shaped and institutionalized through a complex set of interactions between various urban interests, public officials, and institutions. In advanced industrial countries, for example, the rise of influential coalitions with the urban working class at the center was responsible for the proliferation of social protection in the 19th and 20th centuries. Consequently, a great deal is known about the dynamics of urban political mobilization and behavior in richer countries, and of participation among the urban poor. In the cities of the developing world, however, there is far less information available regarding these issues. I survey some theoretical foundations for understanding the political-economy of urban poverty before examining several pathologies of political life for the urban poor in the developing world. I focus on some aspects of the city-dweller's political agency--or the lack thereof--that limit the ability of the urban poor to engage in collective action, to participate in decisionmaking, to form effective organizations, and to resist predatory behavior by officialdom. I then examine some areas where further research is needed, including the political-economic bases for mobilization, the prospects for pro-poor urban social policy, conditions determining the effectiveness of delegation, and of membership organizations for the urban poor -- Abstract (p.1).
Many countries in the developing world are facing a rapid acceleration in population ageing. To date, this problem has generated little interest either from academics or policy-makers. Studies which focus exclusively on social security are of little relevance for the majority of elderly in these regions, for whom the possibilities of saving or making pension contributions are remote. This book takes a more comprehensive approach, combining analysis of social security issues in all developing countries with micro-level case studies of poor urban elderly survival strategies in Buenos Aires.
The income of blacks in most northern industrial states today is lower relative to the income of whites than in 1949. Fusfeld and Bates examine the forces that have led to this state of affairs and find that these economic relationships are the product of a complex pattern of historical development and change in which black-white economic relationships play a major part, along with patterns of industrial, agricultural, and technological change and urban development. They argue that today's urban racial ghettos are the result of the same forces that created modern America and that one of the by-products of American affluence is a ghettoized racial underclass. These two themes, they state, are essential for an understanding of the problem and for the formulation of policy. Poverty is not simply the result of poor education, skills, and work habits but one outcome of the structure and functioning of the economy. Solutions require more than policies that seek to change people: they await a recognition that basic economic relationships must be changed.
This study explores poverty management in China at the turn of the millennium. It draws on ethnographic materials collected during 26 months of fieldwork in a decaying residential area of China's northeast city of Harbin. China continues to define itself as "socialist, " despite having undergone several decades of market-oriented reforms. These reforms have plunged urban workers, the one-time representatives of the socialist project, into dispossession. Such complexities, I argue, show that the management of urban poverty is not merely a technical project of alleviating individual penury, but an arena fraught with contestation over the relationship between the nation-state and its subjects. Central to this study is the figure of "the people, " a historically informed category that has profoundly shaped subjectivity in the People's Republic of China (PRC). Since the PRC's founding in 1949, the maxim "Serve the People" has been a central point of moral and political orientation, and has given both voice and leverage to urban workers. Market-driven reforms, however, have subsequently transformed many of these workers into China's "new urban poor, " particularly in the northeast. In response, impoverished workers today seek protection and recognition by invoking the claim of "the people, " i.e., the very language with which the party-state had once identified and venerated them. In effect, they have appropriated and redeployed socialist rhetoric as a protection against the chaotic effects of the market. Yet, I assert that "the people" is a floating signifier. Any claim of belonging to "the people" is contingent despite the category's semantic centrality to the PRC. The central argument of this study is that, by invoking "the people, " impoverished workers have animated historically embedded tensions within this floating signifier, illuminating unavoidable contradictions in China's management of urban poverty. Although many impoverished workers claim that they exemplify "the people, " their claim often contradicts governmental techniques that promulgate instructions regarding how "the people" should be reborn as self-managing subjects. Further, this study unveils the complex processes of differential impoverishment among urban laid-off workers and rural migrants, two constituencies who now live cheek by jowl in China's cities under severe economic duress but who rarely unite as "people" owed common state protection. The uncontrollability of rural migrants, which is the very outcome of state governance, has opened up a space for resistance which is not entirely controlled by the state. This is not a conventional study of "the poor." By making the category of "the people" my object of inquiry, I reflect historically on inequality's ties to a globally shifting political economy without presupposing the persistence of poverty in China or elsewhere as a self-evident truth. I argue that insufficient attention to the historicity of poverty marks a danger not only of reproducing received categorizations about the poor but also of missing the complexity of inequality as individual lives intersect with a changing political economy. By exploring how the historicity of "the people" haunts the management of urban poverty, this study brings greater attention to the contested voices and actions of "the governed, " which are often elided in the discussion of "governing."
This book explores and evaluates urban sector and development policies in the context of market enablement. By articulating the linkages between this neo-liberal development paradigm and the way different actors in the urban sector enact policy responses, the book provides an understanding of both the factors driving this policy framework and the impacts of these policies on urban sector policies and programmes. In particular, the book focuses on the implications of the shift from welfare to market economies on different aspects of urban development policies and practices, particularly with regard to land, shelter and related sectoral policies for poverty alleviation. By linking policy to practice, the book seeks to inform governments, donor and implementing agencies of the impact of shifts in the development debate on urban sector strategies.
This wide-ranging and innovative book synthesises the findings of a major international study of the political economy of poverty, equity, and growth. It is based primarily on analytical economic histories of 21 developing countries from 1950 to 1985, but also takes account of the wider literature on the subject. The authors take an ambitious interdisciplinary approach to identify patterns in the interplay of initial conditions, instiuttions, interests, and ideas which can help toexplain the different growth and poverty alleviation outcomes in the Third World.Three different types of poverty are distinguished, based on their causes, and a more nebulous idea of equityin contrast to egalitarianismis shown to have influenced policy. Since growth is found to be the major means of alleviating mass structural poverty, much of the book is concerned with discovering explanations for policies which are found to be the most important influences on the proximate causes of growth. Lal and Mynt also consider the available evidence on the role of directtransferspublic and privatein alleviating destitution and conjunctural poverty.The Political Economy of Poverty, Equity, and Growth develops a novel framework for the comparative analysis of different growth outcomes. This framework distinguishes between the different relative factor endowments of land, labour, and capital, and between the different organizational structures of pesent versus plantation and mining economies. It also differentiates between the polities of 'autonomous' and 'factional' states in the countries studied, breaking the analysis down intofurther typological subdivisions and providing important new insights into the differing behaviour of economies that are rich in natural resources and those with abundant labour. These insights constitute a richer explanation for the divergent developmental outcomes in East Asia compared with Latin Americaand Africa.The evidence collated is used to argue for the continuing relevance of the classical liberal viewpoint on public policies for development, and to show why, even so, nationalist ideologies are likely to be adopted and lead to cycles of interventionism and liberalism. The evidence is also used to provide an explanation for the surprising current worldwide Age of Reform.
Towards a Political Economy of the Built Environment
Author: Franklin Obeng-Odoom
Publisher: Zed Books Ltd.
Category: Business & Economics
Neoclassical economics, the intellectual bedrock of modern capitalism, faces growing criticisms, as many of its key assumptions and policy prescriptions are systematically challenged. Yet, there remains one field of economics where these limitations continue virtually unchallenged: the study of cities and regions in built-environment economics. In this book, Franklin Obeng-Odoom draws on institutional, Georgist and Marxist economics to clearly but comprehensively show what the key issues are today in thinking about urban economics. In doing so, he demonstrates the widespread tensions and contradictions in the status quo, showing how to reconstruct urban economics in order to create a more just society and environment.
This paper assesses the state of research and examines priorities for future work in the area of urbanization and growth. This is done by reviewing and summarizing the findings of five scoping papers covering the following topics: urban poverty, the political economy of urban poverty, urban real estate and housing, urban infrastructure finance, and external assistance for urban development.
Malaysia's 40-year strategy of 'poverty eradication' has met with a great deal of success, yet has caused controversy for its links to ethnically-oriented social restructuring. This book is a critical evaluation of changing policy regimes affecting Malaysia's development, record of industrialization, and efficacy in adapting social policies.