The nature and measurement of poverty and the role of minimum budgets in Southern Africa: a review of 'The urban poverty datum line in Rhodesia'
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The serious reviewer of a new minimum budget study in Southern Africa at the present time has a responsibility to examine not only how good a study is the latest contribution but also the role being played by minimum budgets in general in Southern Africa. This responsibility is conferred by the considerable output recently of minimum budget studies, together with the absence to date (to this reviewer’s knowledge) of any analysis of their function. If this review focusses on general issues at the expense of a detailed consideration of the Cubitt and Riddell study the excuse is offered that the more urgent responsibility has taken priority. The study by Cubitt and Riddell is set in the same mould as other Southern African minimum budget studies, with the exception that the distinction between short and longer run ‘essentials’ is dropped (along with the Effective Minimum Level) in favour of a broadened Poverty Datum Line. The items added to the usual PDL list are ‘replacement of household goods’ and ‘provision for post-employment consumption’. It is also, by southern African standards, an unusually comprehensive and well-documented study.