It is one thing to be poor in a society of producers and universal employment; it is a quite different thing to be poor in a society of consumers, in which life projects are built around the consumer choice rather than work, professional skills or jobs. If "being poor" once derived its meaning from the condition of being unemployed, today it draws its meaning primarily from the plight of a flawed consumer. This is one difference which truly makes a difference - in the way living in poverty is experienced and in the chances and prospects to redeem its misery. This text attempts to trace this change, which has been taking place over the duration of modern history, and to make an inventory of its social consequences. On the way, it tries also to consider to what extent the well remembered and tested means of fighting back advancing poverty and mitigating its hardships are fit (or unfit) to grasp and tackle the problems of poverty in its present form.
Open University Press
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