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Beyond the North-South Divide: The Two Tales of World Poverty

Jean-Philippe Thérien
Third World Quarterly
Vol. 20, No. 4 (Aug., 1999), pp. 723-742
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3993585
Page Count: 20
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Beyond the North-South Divide: The Two Tales of World Poverty
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Abstract

For more than a generation the North-South divide was central to the explanation of world poverty. In recent years, however, the North-South analytical framework has been upset by the emergence of two competing approaches: the 'Bretton Woods paradigm' and the 'UN paradigm'. Both approaches emphasise the impact of globalisation, but they differ considerably in their world-views, interpretations of the determinants of poverty and political platforms. In short, according to the 'Bretton Woods paradigm', the gap between the haves and the have-nots is in the process of being narrowed, whereas, from the point of view of the 'UN paradigm', the rich-poor divide is growing wider. In spite of the greater degree of political support currently enjoyed by the 'Bretton Woods paradigm', the 'UN paradigm' offers the most coherent alternate narrative on world poverty. Therefore, because they comprise the main theses in an unresolved debate, these two approaches can fruitfully be examined together.

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