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Submitted by Dr Manoshi Mitra on
Poverty is a worldwide phenomenon and shares certain characteristics irrespective of where it may be located. It means deprivation of material goods necessary for life and reproduction, as well as deprivation of dignity and the power to make decisions regarding one's life or that of one's family. It relates to powerlessness which is both material and non material. And while we don't like Marxists, there is a lesson to be learnt from what Marx wrote. Organizations of the poor need to develop which can provide cogent ideas for change. The poor find it hard to end their poverty at an individual level despite their constant struggle to make a livelihood and get a bit of dignity. The poor need social capital more than anyone else. They need to get organised into homogenous groups to discuss the constraints that hamper their efforts to end poverty, and ways to improve their access to material resources as well as gain decision making power in their own local context. The success of local efforts of tribal groups in West Bengal (India), or in other parts of the world have lessons for replication but always keeping in mind the local context. Corruption is a huge barrier to poverty alleviation and governance is the one solution for checking corruption. The people need to struggle against corrupt states, but they need assistance. For instance, after long years of supping with the devil (!), international agencies and major powers at a point in time stopped dealing with corrupt dictatorships. A concerted move to deny access to resources and international recognition is essential to help peoples' movements to bring down corrupt regimes. All this means a time of turmoil. However without turmoil real transformation cannot come.

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