Many theories today analyze poverty by looking at the average income, which may neglect certain aspects of poverty. By conceptualizing the aspect of poverty, Chambers broadens the view of poverty using his example of the “Deprivation Trap” where he explains five clusters of disadvantages and how they correlate with one another. Chambers uses the household as an example for poverty by using the following clusters: Poverty, isolation, physical weakness, vulnerability, and powerlessness (Chambers, 1983, pp. 108-110).
First, low income and production can lead to poverty in the household. Isolation may occur when a household is isolated from the community living in a rural area in the aspects of physical space and access from information. Next, physical weaknesses are described as the members of a household being affected by sickness, disability, poor living conditions, and are dependent on others. Moreover, another cluster is the Vulnerability of a household, which refers i.e. to changes in weather conditions and shocks, such as natural disasters and wars. Finally, powerlessness relates to the households’ lack of access to political influential power, information, and their own say in legal matters (Chambers, 1983, pp. 108-110).
The five clusters act as a net where they interlock causing poverty. Chambers mentions 20 possible correlations that can describe the reasoning behind poverty in a household using the five clusters interlinked with one another (Chambers, 1983, pp. 111-112). Poverty and physical weakness are strongly interlinked. For example, lack of assets affecting the livelihood causes low productivity of labor, since the ability to cultivate large areas is non existing as well as the low ability to work long hours, due to the physical weakness such as illness or malnutrition, which in the long run might lead to poverty (Chambers, 1983, pp. 112-114).
We believe that Chambers “Deprivation Trap” has become an important alternative approach to the international developmental debate because it changes the concept of poverty by analyzing a simple household rather than an entire nation. From the 60’s, Poverty and development theories have changed from a macro level to domestic theories or micro level household theories in the 80’s. By dividing the concept of poverty into the five clusters, it also broadens the definition of poverty and development into a more specific perspective. This allows one to focus on a smaller unit, being the household, to aid from poverty rather than tackle an entire nation through the approach of starting from the bottom, up. This idea can be related to Myrdal’s theory of development in which he argues that development should not only be measured in economic growth but in social welfare and personal growth as well (Gunnar Myrdal , 1970).
Viewing development from the bottom up was important because it allowed a new perspective of poverty, seeing the level of deprivation in a household compared to a country may...