Devonomics

Devonomics

It is difficult to answer questions about how Nigeria can and should achieve sustainable economic, social and political growth. This column takes a look at well known development economic theories and applies them to the unique Nigerian context.

***

How The Poor Make Us Better

Martha Sambe

Martha Sambe

Martha is a graduate of Development Economics and International Cooperation from the University of Rome, Tor Vergata. She enjoys writing and researching topics in development, sociology, and religion.

In her brilliant TED talk on cities, OluTimehin Adegbeye jokes about buying a cold drink and a puppy in Lagos traffic. Whether you are in Abuja, Adamawa, or Lagos, this scene is familiar to you. Maybe you didn't go as far as buying a puppy, but you certainly got some water, or Gala, or cheese-balls; the possibilities are endless. While it is often easy to write-off poor people as burdens to society, to be rid of, the poor fill a vacuum in society from which most of us benefit. This, interestingly, has been captured before: in the Davis-Moore (1945) functionalist theory of poverty and inequality.

Both sociologists, Davis & Moore built their theory on a foundation laid decades earlier by a more renowned sociologist, Emile Durkheim. Functionalism, Durkheim’s brainchild, was concerned with how different aspects of society contributed to the collective stability of said society. Building on this, Davis-Moore argued that society is, inevitably, divided. This division – based on class – allowed individuals in society to find where they fit more appropriately. Like Durkheim before them, Davis & Moore opined that whatever position/social class people find themselves, they all serve different functions which contribute to the well-being of society.

...
Read More