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Extreme Poverty and Development: The Role of State in the Assurance of Minimal Existence Conditions

By Dalton Tria Cusciano and Arthur Roberto Capella Giannattasio


This paper follows the idea of Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize of economic, about the role of State in the assurance of minimal existence condition, and aim to answer how countries of Latin America (specifically Brazil) and countries of Europe (specifically United Kingdom) deal with the assurance of this minimal existence conditions. According to Amartya Sen’s view, development must be seen as a process of expanding substantive freedoms, such expansion being the primary purpose of each society and the main mean of development. Substantive freedoms can be considered as basic capabilities allocated to individuals whereby they are entitled to be architects of their own lives, providing them conditions to “live as they wish”. These basic capabilities are divided by Amartya Sen in 5 (five) kinds of substantive freedoms, but for this article’s purpose, we will consider just one of this 5 (five) kinds, specifically the Protective Safety capability. Protective Safety capability may be defined as the assurance of basic means of survival for individuals who are in extreme poverty, at risk of starvation or hypothermia, or even impending famine. Among the means available that could be used to avoid such situations are the possibility of supplemental income to the needy, distributing food and clothing to the needy, supply of energy and water, among others. But how countries deal whit this protective safety? Aiming to answer this question, we selected the problem of “fuel poverty” and how Brazil and United Kingdom solve it (if they solve), in order to assess how the solution found impacts development. The analysis and the comparison between these countries will allow an answer to the question proposed

Year: 2013
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