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Speaker(s): Dr Tania Burchardt, Professor Sir John Hills, Professor Stephen P Jenkins, Professor Lucinda Platt
Chair: Professor Paul Gregg

Recorded on 24 February 2018 at Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building

Taking five ‘Giants’ in the study of poverty over the last 100 years, themselves, like Beveridge, authors of influential reports, this event discusses how their thinking articulates with Beveridge’s vision and has advanced our understanding of poverty and how to tackle it.

This event focuses on Beveridge’s Giant of ‘want’. It addresses the thinking on poverty of five ‘Giants’ in the study of poverty over the last 100 years, who have been closely associated with LSE and who are themselves authors or co-authors of influential reports: Beatrice Webb, Brian Abel-Smith, Peter Townsend, Amartya Sen and Anthony Atkinson. It explores how their thinking both articulates with the concepts and propositions of Beveridge in his report, and has transformed the ways in which we think about poverty and how to address it.

The event draws on the insights of current LSE academics known for their work on poverty and inequality. Lucinda Platt will discuss Beatrice Webb’s ‘Minority Report on the Poor Laws’ of 1909, which was deemed to be highly influential on Beveridge’s thinking and the break with the Poor Laws expressed in his report.

John Hills will shed light on the ‘rediscovery of poverty’ marked by the publication of Brian Abel-Smith and Peter Townsend’s 1966 work on ‘The Poor and The Poorest’, the corrective this provided to the somewhat over-optimistic interpretation of the achievements of the welfare state in eliminating poverty, and how it foregrounded Townsend’s subsequent development of the relational and ‘relative’ conception of poverty.

Tania Burchardt will analyse the distinctive contribution of Amartya Sen to how we understand poverty across very different contexts, in her consideration of the 2009 Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (coauthored with Joseph Stiglitz and Jean-Paul Fitoussi).

Finally, Stephen Jenkins will evaluate the significance of the Atkinson Commission’s 2015 Report on Monitoring Global Poverty to how we conceptualize and address poverty in a global context.

Tania Burchardt is Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE) and an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

John Hills is Richard Titmuss Professor of Social Policy at LSE, co-director of the LSE’s interdisciplinary International Inequalities Institute and is currently Chair of CASE.

Stephen P Jenkins is Professor of Economic and Social Policy, in the Department of Social Policy at LSE.

Lucinda Platt is Professor of Social Policy and Sociology in the Department of Social Policy at LSE. Lucinda’s research focuses on inequalities, with a particular focus on ethnicity and migration, as well as gender, disability, identity, and child poverty.

Paul Gregg is a Professor of Economic and Social Policy, and Director of the Centre for Analysis and Social Policy at the University of Bath.

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