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Poverty and Morality
Religious and Secular Perspectives

$33.99 (P)

William A. Galston, Peter H. Hoffenberg, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, David R. Loy, Kent A. Van Til, Tom G. Palmer, Peter Nosco, Nancy J. Hirschmann, Arvind Sharma, Sohail H. Hashmi, Noam Zohar, Darrel Moellendorf, Andrew Levine, Stephen J. Pope, Michael Walzer
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  • Date Published: September 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521127349

$ 33.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This multiauthored book explores how many influential ethical traditions – secular and religious, Western and non-Western – wrestle with the moral dimensions of poverty and the needs of the poor. These traditions include Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism, among the religious perspectives; classical liberalism, feminism, liberal-egalitarianism, and Marxism, among the secular; and natural law, which might be claimed by both. The basic questions addressed by each of these traditions are linked to several overarching themes: what poverty is, the particular vulnerabilities of high-risk groups, responsibility for the occurrence of poverty, preferred remedies, how responsibility for its alleviation is distributed, and priorities in the delivery of assistance. These essays are preceded by a background chapter on the types, scope, and causes of poverty in the modern world and some contemporary strategies for eliminating it. The volume concludes with Michael Walzer’s broadly conceived commentary, which provides a direct comparison of the presented views and makes suggestions for further study and policy.

    • Focuses mainly on the moral dimensions of poverty which are often overshadowed by economic, political and other considerations in poverty studies
    • Presents the poverty-related outlooks of eleven highly influential ethical traditions, both religious and secular, to best represent the diversity of people and cultures dealing with poverty around the world
    • Offers the first comprehensive and systematic comparison of diverse ethical perspectives on poverty, bringing together distinguished contributors to address a common set of poverty-related questions
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “The challenges posed by poverty are both universal and particular. To meet them, we need social science and policy making to be informed by the diverse normative frameworks through which poverty is viewed around the world. The essays in this collection maintain the high standard of previous Ethikon volumes, offering riches to general readers and specialists alike. Poverty and Morality will enable us to both appreciate the constraints that exist in dealing with poverty cross-culturally, and discover possibilities for creative and constructive solutions both at home and abroad.”
    – Stephen C. Angle, Wesleyan University

    “Combining economics and sociology with philosophy and theology, this book brings multiple moral traditions into dialogue about the ever more complex problem of global poverty. It will be of use to students and scholars in many academic traditions, and it provides food for thought for people of conscience in all the major cultures of our interdependent world.”
    – Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego

    “Poverty and Morality: Religious and Secular Perspectives is a thoughtful and engaging book on an important subject. It will be of interest to people in a wide variety of disciplines, including philosophy, comparative ethics, political theory, and development studies. The individual essays are clearly written, interesting as stand-alone pieces, but especially instructive because they are set in the context of other traditions’ treatment of these same questions. Poverty and Morality offers a wealth of rich, detailed arguments on how different traditions have framed ethical issues connected to poverty, which is very instructive, given the current debates on global justice. Throughout this volume, the various authors not only connect the authoritative texts and assumptions of various different ethical traditions with the political and intellectual world in which they were writing, but also address the perennial questions of the scope of our responsibility to ourselves and others, which are raised by the existence of the poor in our midst.”
    – Margaret Moore, Queen’s University, Canada

    "The papers are thorough, authoritative, and often read like encyclopedia entries.... When internal disagreement within some tradition occurs, the authors will occasionally note this and argue for one view over another. The book offers a good point of entry into these traditions and their views on poverty. As such it will be useful primarily to undergraduates and others looking for a straightforward and reliable account of these concerns.... Recommended...."
    – M.A. Michael, Austin Peay State University, CHOICE

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521127349
    • length: 330 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.49kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction William A. Galston and Peter H. Hoffenberg
    2. Global poverty and uneven development Sakiko Fukuda-Parr
    3. The karma of poverty: a Buddhist perspective David R. Loy
    4. Poverty and morality in Christianity Kent A. Van Til
    5. Classical liberalism, poverty, and morality Tom G. Palmer
    6. Confucian perspectives on poverty and morality Peter Nosco
    7. Poverty and morality: a feminist perspective Nancy J. Hirschmann
    8. Hinduism and poverty Arvind Sharma
    9. The problem of poverty in Islamic ethics Sohail H. Hashmi
    10. Jewish perspectives on poverty Noam Zohar
    11. Liberal egalitarianism and poverty Darrel Moellendorf
    12. Marxism and poverty Andrew Levine
    13. Poverty and natural law Stephen J. Pope
    14. Afterword Michael Walzer.

  • Editors

    William A. Galston, Brookings Institution, Washington DC
    William A. Galston is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He has also taught at the University of Maryland, College Park, and served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton and Executive Director of the National Commission on Civic Renewal. His most recent books include Liberal Pluralism: The Implications of Value Pluralism for Political Theory and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State (Cambridge University Press, 1991).

    Peter H. Hoffenberg, University of Hawaii, Manoa
    Peter H. Hoffenberg is Associate Professor of History at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa, where his courses include Comparative Economic History and The History of Economic Thought. He is the author of An Empire on Display: English, Australian, and Indian Exhibitions from the Crystal Palace to the Great War (2001) and numerous articles and book chapters. He is currently writing a book about the British Empire and poverty.


    William A. Galston, Peter H. Hoffenberg, Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, David R. Loy, Kent A. Van Til, Tom G. Palmer, Peter Nosco, Nancy J. Hirschmann, Arvind Sharma, Sohail H. Hashmi, Noam Zohar, Darrel Moellendorf, Andrew Levine, Stephen J. Pope, Michael Walzer

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