A Poverty Resource Hub of Focus on the Global South Philippines

Poverty as Dispossession

Poverty as Dispossession

Dec 14, 2011

Poverty as Dispossession

To be poor is to have one’s assets and means of sustenance wrested away from oneself. The poor do not only suffer from many kinds of deprivations: they have become increasingly subject to processes where goods and resources essential to their livelihoods are actively and intentionally stripped from them.

All over the Philippines, such processes are epitomized in deepening levels of enclosure and commodification of common-property resources. Lands are grabbed by powerful and influential corporate and political entities; forests are flattened by logging concessionaires, coastal waters are fished to the brink by commercial trawlers, and ancestral domains are parcelled out to those with mining permits. At the same time, the ravages of privatization continue to outsource social services from the public to the private sector. Market reforms in the electricity and public water sector have brought about skyrocketing rates and preferential access for the privileged. Public-private partnerships in public works and other utilities threaten to do likewise.

Until these trends and the policy environments supporting them are reversed, it is to be expected that the poor will continue to be uprooted from the very substances through which they sustain their livelihoods, placing severe strain on the means  by which they are able to sustain their everyday lives.

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