HomeAtosPimping poverty, then and now – the academic poverty research industry (See also Unum’s Advert under “Wefare Reform”)
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  • “What we have now is neoliberal poverty pimping. Technical expertise is the new criterion of authenticity; policy-wonk technospeak has replaced the mau mau. That means, of course, that the qualifications for entry into the pimping profession have changed. One now needs to hold a doctorate, preferably in economics or the quantitative branches of sociology–or at least to be conversant with them and to have mastered the four essential hedging judgments of poverty research 1) some do, some don’t; 2) the differences aren’t all that great; 3) it’s more complicated than that, and, most of all, 4) further research is needed.”

  • ” The neoliberal poverty pimps’ status underwrites the disgustingly smug, self-righteous, third-person discourse that dehumanizes and disparages poor people. It also reflects the elimination of even the perverse egalitarianism of the old school of pimping.”

  • “The point is that poverty research is a huge academic business. Of course, some of the output of this industry is useful. (Geronimus’s research is one important and significantly disregarded example.) And many of its practitioners are motivated by benign intentions. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that they make money off the existence of poverty, and those good intentions often seem to be just so much petit-bourgeois self-aggrandizement.”

  • “The originators of poverty pimping as a form of welfare fraud were creatures of a system of dispossession. The new academic perpetrators are also its active agents. They should be fingered as such publicly, since that’s what we do with welfare cheats. They can take heart, though–at least they’ll never suffer the police-station mug shots and handcuffs.”

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