A Joint Approach to Measuring Poverty and Gender Disparity
Thomas Pogge (Yale University)

February 2, 2012, 11:00am - 11:00am
Center for Global Ethics & Politics, City University of New York, Graduate Center

New York
United States

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The importance of reducing poverty and gender disparity is widely accepted. But how is their evolution over time to be tracked? Leaving these indexing tasks to officials in governments and international agencies was not a good idea: such officials are not well equipped to ponder the important moral issues involved and have substantial career incentives to come up with rosy pictures. Highly influential, existing indexes are also deeply flawed: distorting our moral judgments and misguiding resource allocations by governments, international agencies, and NGOs. Based on a clear understanding of these flaws, a research team is working toward improved measures whose construction involves substantial discussions with poor people at 18 sites in six countries. This work is not yet complete, but there are some preliminary findings that will influence the next stages of the research as well as the kinds of indexes likely to emerge.

Thomas Pogge, who received his PhD in philosophy from Harvard, has published widely on Kant and in moral and political philosophy. He is Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale, Professorial Fellow at the Australian National University, Research Director at the Oslo University Centre for the Study of Mind in Nature (CSMN) and a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science. His recent publications include Politics as Usual, Polity 2010; Kant, Rawls, and Global Justice (Chinese), Shanghai  Translation Press 2010; Hacer justicia a la humanidad, FCE 2009; World Poverty and Human Rights, 2nd edn, Polity 2008; Global Justice and Global Ethics, co-edited, Paragon House 2008; The Health Impact Fund, co-authored with Aidan Hollis, 2008; John Rawls: His Life and Theory of Justice, Oxford 2007; and Freedom from Poverty as a Human Right, edited, Oxford & UNESCO 2007. Supported by the Australian Research Council, the BUPA Foundation and the European Commission, Pogge’s current work is focused on a team effort toward developing a complement to the pharmaceutical patent regime that would improve access to advanced medicines for the poor worldwide.

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