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A War on Global Poverty: The Lost Promise of Redistribution and the Rise of Microcredit

In the 1970s, US economists, policymakers, and activists joined a war on global poverty.  They rejected the notion that economic growth would trickle down to the poor, and they increasingly positioned women as economic actors who could help lift nations out of destitution. In the 1980s, as faith in the market impinged on faith in the state, tiny loans to impoverished women displaced more ambitious proposals for redistribution.  A War on Global Poverty tracks the route from modernization to microcredit and shows how anti-poverty efforts came to focus on women as the deserving poor.

Date & Time

Monday
May. 17, 2021
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET

Location

Zoom Webinar

Overview

In the 1970s, US economists, policymakers, and activists joined a war on global poverty.  They rejected the notion that economic growth would trickle down to the poor, and they increasingly positioned women as economic actors who could help lift nations out of destitution. In the 1980s, as faith in the market impinged on faith in the state, tiny loans to impoverished women displaced more ambitious proposals for redistribution.  A War on Global Poverty tracks the route from modernization to microcredit and shows how anti-poverty efforts came to focus on women as the deserving poor.

Joanne Meyerowitz is the Arthur Unobskey Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University.  She earned her BA from the University of Chicago and her PhD from Stanford University.  Her publications include How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States (2002), the edited volume History and September 11th (2003), and more recently, “180 Op-Eds: Or How to Make the Present Historical,” Journal of American History (2020). She is a former editor of the Journal of American History and a past president of the Organization of American Historians.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University and the National History Center) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partners (the George Washington University History Department and the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest) for their continued support.

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