CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF THE POOR IN CLASSICAL ECONOMIC THOUGHT
This paper reviews the various types of discourse on the poor and on the relationships between poverty and a number of economic and social institutions that were seen alternatively as either solutions to or causes of poverty. At the beginning of the 19th century, the poor were considered autonomous economic agents responsible for their own condition. Progressively environmental explanations for the existence of poverty are discussed in this economic analysis. By the middle of the 19th century, these new arguments, combined with analysis about non specific forms of behaviour, justified new attitudes and new politics towards the poor.
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