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The True Extent of Global Poverty and Hunger: Questioning the Good-News Narrative of the Millennium Development Goals

Hickel, Jason. 2016. The True Extent of Global Poverty and Hunger: Questioning the Good-News Narrative of the Millennium Development Goals. Third World Quarterly, 37(5), pp. 749-767. ISSN 0143-6597 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The final report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) concludes that the project has been ‘the most successful anti-poverty movement in history’. Two key claims underpin this narrative: that global poverty has been cut in half, and global hunger nearly in half, since 1990. This good-news narrative has been touted by the United Nations and has been widely repeated by the media. But closer inspection reveals that the UN’s claims about poverty and hunger are misleading, and even intentionally inaccurate. The MDGs have used targeted statistical manipulation to make it seem as though the poverty and hunger trends have been improving when in fact they have worsened. In addition, the MDGs use definitions of poverty and hunger that dramatically underestimate the scale likely of these problems. In reality, around four billion people remain in poverty today, and around two billion remain hungry – more than ever before in history, and between two and four times what the UN would have us believe. The implications of this reality are profound. Worsening poverty and hunger trends indicate that our present model of development is not working and needs to be fundamentally rethought.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2015.1109439

Keywords:

Poverty, hunger, development, Millennium Development Goals

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Anthropology

Dates:

DateEvent
5 February 2016Published Online
14 October 2015Accepted

Item ID:

22008

Date Deposited:

14 Nov 2017 15:49

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2018 06:43

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/22008

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