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New Left Review 97, January-February 2016

sanjay reddy & rahul lahoti


The New International Poverty Line

The World Bank has good news. According to its latest calculations, global poverty has been falling. In 1999, an estimated 1,751,000,000 people suffered from extreme poverty. By 2011, the number had dropped to 983,000,000. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim tweeted excitedly that the rate of extreme poverty may drop below 10 per cent of the world population when the figures are in for 2015. ‘The international community can celebrate’, exclaimed a recent Bank report. Despite the global financial crisis, it had chalked up some ‘robust’ development successes. The un’s Millennium Goals had played an important role in galvanizing efforts to reduce poverty, and that experience would help drive progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating it altogether. [1] See Marcio Cruz, James Foster, Bryce Quillin and Philip Schellekens, ‘Ending Extreme Poverty and Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies’, World Bank Group Policy Research Note 15/03, October 2015, pp. 6, 2–3. But what is poverty? How do you count the poor?

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Sanjay Reddy, Rahul Lahoti, ‘$1.90 a Day: What Does It Say?’, NLR 97: £3

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