The Ethics of Pro-Poor Poverty Policy: A Critique of the Neo-Liberal Imperative and the Epistemology of Poverty Eradication in Uganda

Open Science Repository Philosophy (2013)


Since the early 1990s, Uganda has been cajoled by the IMF and World Bank to pursue a neo-liberal approach to development as opposed to a liberal development modus operandi. However, in theory the World Bank has pursued a liberal, rights based approach to poverty reduction policy but, in practice, it has implemented a neo-liberal, market centric approach to poverty reduction. This is the reason why pro-poor poverty reduction in Uganda is more of rhetorical than practical. This paper critiques the epistemological pre-suppositions characteristic of the ethics of the current pro-poor poverty policy in Uganda. The fundamental premises of this critique are: Can the views of the poor in Uganda influence poverty policies given their asymmetrical disadvantage? Who knows the views of poor? Do the elites interpret the views of the poor as they are or as they think them to be? Do the poor have poverty knowledge or poverty opinion? Are some of the views of the poor simply adaptive preferences? What constitutes poverty knowledge as opposed to poverty opinion? Is it ethical to eradicate poverty using opinion riddled poverty polices? Is it ethically sustainable for poverty policies to persistently aim at integrating women in poverty eradication interventions while largely giving lip service patriarchal power relations that asymmetrically disadvantage them?

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