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Poverty in South Africa

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Along with inequality and unemployment, poverty is seen as South Africa’s biggest challenge with over half of South Africans living below the national poverty line. When South Africa finally held its first democratic elections in 1994, the country had a much higher poverty rate than in other countries at a similar level of development. While the exclusion of the poor occur Along with inequality and unemployment, poverty is seen as South Africa’s biggest challenge with over half of South Africans living below the national poverty line. When South Africa finally held its first democratic elections in 1994, the country had a much higher poverty rate than in other countries at a similar level of development. While the exclusion of the poor occurs in very many countries, in South Africa it has a distinctive extra dimension. Here, poverty has been profoundly racialized by law, social practice, and prejudice. This was the legacy of apartheid. Poverty, Politics & Policy in South Africa explains why poverty has persisted in South Africa. In the book, authors Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass demonstrate who has and who has not remained poor, how public policies both mitigated and reproduced poverty, and how and why these policies were adopted. Their analysis of the South African welfare state, labour market policies and the growth path of the South African economy challenges conventional accounts that focus only on ‘neoliberalism’. They argue instead that the ANC government’s policies have been social-democratic. The book shows how social-democratic policies both mitigate and reproduce poverty in countries like South Africa, reflecting the contradictory nature of social democracy in the global South.


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Along with inequality and unemployment, poverty is seen as South Africa’s biggest challenge with over half of South Africans living below the national poverty line. When South Africa finally held its first democratic elections in 1994, the country had a much higher poverty rate than in other countries at a similar level of development. While the exclusion of the poor occur Along with inequality and unemployment, poverty is seen as South Africa’s biggest challenge with over half of South Africans living below the national poverty line. When South Africa finally held its first democratic elections in 1994, the country had a much higher poverty rate than in other countries at a similar level of development. While the exclusion of the poor occurs in very many countries, in South Africa it has a distinctive extra dimension. Here, poverty has been profoundly racialized by law, social practice, and prejudice. This was the legacy of apartheid. Poverty, Politics & Policy in South Africa explains why poverty has persisted in South Africa. In the book, authors Jeremy Seekings and Nicoli Nattrass demonstrate who has and who has not remained poor, how public policies both mitigated and reproduced poverty, and how and why these policies were adopted. Their analysis of the South African welfare state, labour market policies and the growth path of the South African economy challenges conventional accounts that focus only on ‘neoliberalism’. They argue instead that the ANC government’s policies have been social-democratic. The book shows how social-democratic policies both mitigate and reproduce poverty in countries like South Africa, reflecting the contradictory nature of social democracy in the global South.

10 review for Poverty in South Africa

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Woode-Smith

    While this book holds a good info, it is way too short. It only gives a brief taste of the topic at hand, while not exposing anything that revolutionary.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Yvonne

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Watts

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy F

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zak Essa

  6. 5 out of 5

    fringedecon

  7. 4 out of 5

    Thandisizwe

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsay Lemon

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo

  10. 5 out of 5

    Malelo

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