Neoliberalism and poverty: An unbreakable relationship

Guy Feldman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Our understanding of why people are poor and how to overcome poverty reflects the broader political-economic dynamics that prevail at a particular historical moment. The dominant political-economic dynamics in recent decades are often defined as neoliberal. This chapter explores the relationship of neoliberalism to poverty and social welfare policies that affect poor people’s opportunities. The chapter argues that the ascendance of neoliberalism has introduced changes that are continuous with and simultaneously different from past discourses and interventions targeted at the poor.. After defining what neoliberalism is, the chapter highlights three interconnected features of neoliberalism and discusses their implications for poor people and social welfare policy. These features include: the restructuring of the welfare state, growing precarity and inequality, and the fabrication of entrepreneurial subjectivity. The chapter concludes by highlighting the kind of poverty politics that could emerge in response to processes of neoliberalization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge International Handbook of Poverty
EditorsBent Greve
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780429608988
ISBN (Print)9780367178666
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


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