News & events


Elusive solutions to poverty and inequality: from “trickle down” to solidarity economy

29 September 2015
12:30 - 13:30

Dr. Tidings P. Ndhlovu
Manchester Metropolitan University, UK Visiting Research Fellow, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa     

Date:  29 September  
Time: 12:30  – 13:30
Venue: VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.

This seminar is based on a paper seeks to examine the extent to which burning development issues about poverty and inequality have been captured by  different theoretical perspectives, and the manner in which different solutions  have been proposed. We contextualise the arguments by exploring the concepts of poverty, equity and (in) equality in an attempt to draw insights for economic policy whilst teasing out the ideological and political positions that inform different analyses. This illustrates why solutions to the intractable problems of poverty and inequality have remained elusive.
Apart from disagreements concerning the definitions of poverty and inequality, there is no consensus on the appropriate indices for evaluating the success of suggested programmes, let alone how to address aggregation problems and construct a comprehensive, composite index. The neo-classical “trickle down”(top-down) analysis defines poverty and inequality as a natural phenomenon whose only solution is to “get prices right”, while the ILO-inspired Basic Needs Approach regards deprivation of consumption as the primary cause, with the solution being provision of consumption bundles and productive employment. Sen’s Entitlements and Capability approach focuses on deprivation of basic individual capability, and suggests “functionings” and freedom the key to the alleviation of poverty and inequality. Yunus also goes further in showing the potential of participatory approaches in Bangladesh and other countries.
For the Marxian and/or “solidarity economy” approaches, poverty and inequality are explicable from the conflictual process of accumulation, while deprivation of power is the central cause. Will the “solidarity economy” concept provide the conceptual framework for addressing poverty and inequality in Southern Africa after the 2008 financial crisis?
The seminar may be attended in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban

Kindly RSVP by 28 September 2015

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Carmen August 021 466 7827 Email:;

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan,
Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or;

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: , or  Happy Solomon,, Tel: 012 302 2811