Responding to Local Poverty (completed)

The project investigates the moral significance and practical implications of the principle of association in relation to poverty in India.

About the project

The Norwegian Programme for Research Cooperation with India (INDNOR) is part of the government’s broader “Opportunities in Diversity” strategy. That strategy recognizes that cooperation with India presents rich opportunities for both countries. However, cooperation also presents real and difficult challenges, including complex ethical questions about poverty and its eradication. Responding to Local Poverty is a collaborative project, involving experts from both countries, designed to tackle these challenges head on.

Three types of moral reasons are often invoked to support the claim that particular agents have responsibilities to address poverty.
First, if the agents are able to assist the poor at relatively moderate cost they have a duty to do so—the principle of assistance. Second, if the agents have contributed to the poverty they have a responsibility to address it—the principle of contribution. A third moral reason is the presence of special associative ties between moral agents—the principle of association.

It is often thought that people do not generally have associative responsibilities to unrelated foreigners. However, the significant and expanding cooperation between the two countries may well give rise to such responsibilities. Responding to Local Poverty investigates the moral significance and practical implications of the principle of association in relation to poverty in India. The project will examine the nature of association-based responsibilities to alleviate poverty, their relation to contribution-based and assistance-based responsibilities, and discuss practical issues of particular importance for India and Norway.



In 2010, the Norwegian Research Council called for proposals for “pre-projects”, projects whose raison-d’etre is to design and plan a full project. Responding to Local Poverty is funded as such a pre-project, taking place in 2011. An application for a full project, running from 2012 – 2015 is being planned. The project is hosted by Centre for the study of Mind in Nature.

Published Mar. 21, 2012 1:31 PM - Last modified Jan. 22, 2015 10:54 AM


Detailed list of participants