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World povertyNew policies to defeat an old enemy$
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Peter Townsend and David Gordon

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9781861343956

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861343956.001.0001

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Human rights, transnational corporations and the World Bank

Human rights, transnational corporations and the World Bank

(p.350) (p.351) FOURTEEN Human rights, transnational corporations and the World Bank
World poverty

Peter Townsend

Policy Press

This chapter examines the influential role of the World Bank over the last 50 years in shaping approaches to poverty, and concludes that a major problem has been its avoidance of the obligation to adopt a core scientific measure of the phenomenon to facilitate comparison and the identification of the population groups who experience poverty in the worst forms. Another, related, problem has been avoidance of the obligation, accepted at the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit on Social Development, to monitor existing and newly introduced policies and measure their exact effects on the extent and severity of poverty. This applies to the components of the Bank's anti-poverty policies during recent decades. Structural action by the key institutional players – the transnational corporations and the governments of the most powerful nations, such as the G8 – working collaboratively as well as within existing and newly introduced international law, is an unknown factor.

Keywords:   World Bank, poverty, social development, anti-poverty policies, G8

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