Theodore W. Schultz. The Economics of Being Poor. Oxford: Blackwell. 1993. ix+340 pp.+ Index. Hardbound. £ 40.00.

Mir Annice Mahmood


Improving the material conditions of the poor has been the
main focus of economic policy formulation for the past fifty years or
so. Thus, in this connection, a vast body of literature has been
published which deals with such issues as identifying the poor and
suggesting remedies to alleviate their lot. The book by Theodore W.
Schultz deals specifically with the economics of the poor. The book is
primarily a collection of articles the author wrote over a fortyyear
period (1950-1990), and these have been published previously in a number
of leading economic journals. The articles have been grouped under three
headings: "Most People Are Poor"; "Investing in Skills and Knowledge";
and "Effects of Human Capital". The articles basically deal with the
concept of human capital. There is a logical sequence to the articles
that make up this book; the poor are identified and steps are then
suggested to improve their standing. Issues such as women's economic
emancipation and the demand for children are highlighted in the
collection of articles dealing with these two subjects. By investing in
themselves through education, the poor raise their level of skills, and
thus their level of wages/salaries, allowing them to enjoy higher
standards of living.

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