Political philosophy and social policy: the concept of poverty

Recent political philosophy has not had much to say about poverty in general. But two currents of thought demonstrate its potential contribution to the thinking about this important issue for social policy.

First, political philosophy is paying increasing attention to social inequality; when this focuses on social exclusion, it connects with the concern of empirical poverty studies about ‘not having enough to fit in’. But in addition, some political philosophers argue that poverty, as traditionally understood, is only one way in which lives can go badly, and hence a wider concept of disadvantage or deprivation is needed.