Rural poverty and its aftermath effects on rural area
Recent discussion of the analysis of poverty and livelihoods draws attention to the limitations of currently dominant approaches. Measuring the incidence of poverty is an important first step in understanding it, but measurement alone does not explain the causes of poverty. Analysing livelihoods in terms of the assets and strategies of the poor opens up space for taking seriously the priorities, choices and initiatives demonstrated by poor people, but it risks underplaying the constraints thrown up by social relations and institutions that systematically benefit the powerful. It also risks making an assumption that such livelihoods are sustainable. This paper draws on these discussions to develop an analytic framework for the study of poverty, one that examines its causes, responses to it and the consequences of those responses. It then uses this framework to discuss the lives of people in a remote rural area in South Africa. People’s responses to poverty in this context appear to be becoming unsustainable and their livelihoods seem increasingly fragile. There is no necessary reason why responses to poverty should be sustainable.