Redefining poverty

In: Uncategorized

8 Dec 2009

Geoff Mulgan, the director of the Young Foundation and a former senior adviser to Tony Blair, has a comment piece in the Times (London) arguing that poverty should be redefined in psychological and psychosocial terms. In relation to the former he argues:

“Most of the arguments about poverty in the past have focused on material needs. Today there is still some material poverty, but psychological needs are much more important and much more challenging. Around one in five people in the UK experience mental health problems at some point in their lives. The number of prescriptions for antidepressant drugs increased from 9 million in 1991 to 34 million in 2007.”

In relation to psychosocial needs he points to the problem of loneliness.

How he can claim that his argument challenges the conventional wisdom is a mystery. Amartya Sen won the Nobel prize for economics in 1998 for advocating such a view.