Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Positive Number to Propaganda - World War Ii » Poverty - Poverty As An Ideal, Changing Conceptions Of Poverty, The Problem Of The Poor, Relativism And Equality

Poverty - Conclusion

york cambridge university press

Poverty is an idea with a history that is particularly instructive. In the twenty-first century, poverty as a state of material and social deprivation is regarded as the standard meaning. But when examined historically, it can be seen that this meaning has far from dominated. In the history of Western experience (with echoes elsewhere) poverty had for a long period been considered a preferred condition, one where humans demonstrated their control both of their own nature and of the circumstances in which they found themselves.



Aquinas, St. Thomas. Summa contra gentiles. 1259–1264. Vol. 3. Translated by the English Dominican Fathers. London: Burns, Oates, and Washbourne, 1928.

Aristotle. The Ethics of Aristotle: The Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by J. A. K. Thompson. Harmondsworth, U.K., and New York: Penguin, 1976.

——. Politics. Translated by C. D. C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998.

Furniss, Edgar S. The Position of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism: A Study in the Labor Theories of the Later English Mercantilists. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920.

Hayek, F. A. Law, Legislation and Liberty: A New Statement of the Liberal Principles of Justice and Political Economy. 3 vols. in 1. London: Routledge and K. Paul, 1982.

Hegel, G. Philosophy of Right. 1821. Translated by H. B. Nisbet. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Hume, David. "Of National Characters" (1748) and "Of Refinement of Arts" (1752). In Essays: Moral, Political, and Literary, edited by Eugene F. Miller. Rev. ed. Indianapolis: Liberty, 1987.

Knemeyer, Franz-Ludwig. "Polizei." Economy and Society 9 (1980): 172–196.

Machiavelli, Niccolò. Discourses on Livy. 1531. Translated by L. Walker. Rev. by B. Richardson. Harmondsworth, U.K.: Penguin, 1974.

Mandeville, Bernard. The Fable of the Bees; or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits. 1732. Edited by F. B. Kaye. Indianapolis: Liberty, 1988.

Marx, Karl. "Critical Notes on 'The King of Prussia and Social Reform.'" 1844. In Early Writings, translated by Rodney Livingstone and Gregor Benton. New York: Vintage, 1975.

——. "Critique of the Gotha Programme." 1875. In The Marx-Engels Reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker. 2nd ed., New York: Norton, 1978.

Perkins, Williams. Three Books of Cases of Conscience. In his Works. Cambridge: John Legate, 1612.

——. Treatise of the Vocations (1597-1601). In his Works. Cambridge: John Legate, 1612.

Rowntree, B. Seebohm. Poverty: A Study of Town Life. 2nd ed. London: Macmillan, 1902.

Sahlins, Marshall. Stone Age Economics. London: Tavistock, 1974.

Sen, Amartya. "Poor: Relatively Speaking." Oxford Economic Papers 35 (1983): 153–169.

Sidney, A. Discourses concerning Government. 1698. Edited by T. West. Indianapolis: Liberty, 1988.

Smith, Adam. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. 1776. Edited by R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

Tierney, Brian. Medieval Poor Law: A Sketch of Canonical Theory and Its Application in England. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1959.

Townsend, Peter. Poverty in the United Kingdom: A Survey of Household Resources and Standards of Living. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979.

Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism and Other Writings. Translated and edited by Peter Baehr and Gordon C. Wells. New York: Penguin, 2002.


Berry, Christopher J. The Idea of Luxury: A Conceptual and Historical Investigation. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Covers episodically issues and debates from the Greeks to the present day.

Himmelfarb, Gertrude. The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age. New York: Knopf, 1984. Contentiously reviews orthodox interpretations.

Sen, Amartya. Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1981. A modern perspective by a Nobel prize winner in economics.

Wood, Diana. Medieval Economic Thought. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. A useful overview.

Christopher J. Berry

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