Why Racialized Poverty Matters — and the Way Forward

In Gottfried Schweiger & Clemens Sedmak (eds.), Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Poverty. Routledge. pp. 406-16 (2023)
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Abstract

Poverty in many societies is racialized, with poverty concentrated among particular racial groups. This article aims (a) to provide a philosophical account of how racialized poverty can represent an unjust form of inequality, and (b) to suggest the general direction that policies aiming to reduce racialized poverty ought to take in light of this account. (a) As a species of inequality, racialized poverty (whether absolute or relative) is not intrinsically morally objectionable. However, it can be extrinsically objectionable because it is caused by past or current racial injustice, undermines the value of specific goods to the impoverished, or contributes to objectionable deficiencies in impoverished groups’ political efficacy. (b) Racialized poverty is strongly intergenerational, tending to replicate itself between generations within racial groups. This suggests that approaches to its alleviation that offer income security to all members of those groups, rather than targeted opportunity to subsets of such groups, are both more just and more effective. In particular, societies with racialized poverty should strongly consider policies such as income guarantees, which act to counteract the income volatility that contribute to intergenerational racial poverty.

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Michael Cholbi
University of Edinburgh

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References found in this work

The morality of freedom.J. Raz - 1988 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 178 (1):108-109.
Why Does Inequality Matter?Thomas Scanlon - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
Equality, Priority, and the Levelling-Down Objection.Larry Temkin - 2000 - In Matthew Clayton & Andrew Williams (eds.), The Ideal of Equality. Macmillan. pp. 126-61.
The Presumption of Equality.Cynthia A. Stark - 2019 - Law, Ethics and Philosophy 6.

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