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Rich Democracies, Poor PeopleHow Politics Explain Poverty$
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David Brady

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385878

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385878.001.0001

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The Poverty of Liberal Economics

The Poverty of Liberal Economics

Chapter:
(p.121) 6 The Poverty of Liberal Economics
Source:
Rich Democracies, Poor People
Author(s):

David Brady (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385878.003.0006

While liberal economics exerts great influence in poverty debates, systematic evaluations of the approach have rarely been undertaken. In particular, few have articulated the core precepts of the liberal economic explanation of poverty, demonstrated its coherence, and subjected it to empirical scrutiny. This chapter reviews the core elements of the liberal economics of poverty by identifying strands in classic and contemporary liberals and recent social science and policy developments. Liberal economics can be distilled to a set of four theoretical precepts: harmonious progress, free market capitalism, human capital and worker productivity, and supply and demand. Next, the chapter operationalizes each of the tenets of liberal economics and conducts an empirical analysis of affluent Western democracies. In the process, this book compares the empirical performance of liberal economics against institutionalized power relations theory. Ultimately, based on these results and others' findings, liberal economics is critiqued and institutionalized power relations theory is advocated as a superior explanation of poverty.

Keywords:   economics, economic growth, unemployment, productivity, free markets

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