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Texto para discussão 02/2004

Poverty and social discrimination: a spatial keynesian approach
Gary A. Dymski

This essay develops a spatial Keynesian approach to the problems of poverty and social discrimination. This approach shows that the spatial distribution of households and businesses is a key factor in shaping the character and extent of poverty in any society. Poverty involves not simply the circumstances of households who are poor, but structural characteristics of the bordered spaces within which most lower-income people live. These structural characteristics are deeply impacted by spatially specific social and economic dynamics. These dynamics involve economic clustering combined with social separation, and create distinct areas with very uneven cross-border patterns of goods and financial flows. These cross-border patterns tend to systematically encourage accumulation in some spaces and decumulation in others. Some areas become locations for the long-term cultivation of asset growth, while others become sites for finding prey to exploit for short-term returns. Similarly, the impact of social discrimination depends not just on the depth and pattern of personal animus, but on the degree to which those who are targets of this discrimination are segregated into distinct spatial communities, and on whether these communities are sites of production and wealth-building. (...)

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