Esurio is a new academic journal of hunger and poverty — an open source, online publication that is both student-led and peer reviewed as well as financially supported by Direct Energy. I attended the journal’s launch last month at the Centre for Social Innovation, hosted by the Ontario Association of Food Banks.

Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Child and Youth Services, highlighted in her keynote the need to change the conversation around poverty, emphasizing that it is indeed time for talk but also for action. “The timing for this journal is perfect because we need ideas, we need thoughtful conversations and we also need to get beyond the moral imperative – we all pay the price for poverty.”

So what are the economics of poverty? And should that really drive this issue?

Don Drummond, TD Bank’s Chief Economist, followed the minister’s speech, also indicating it’s time to get beyond the argument that poverty reduction is simply the right thing to do.  He has analyzed the economics of the situation and points out that there are many economic reasons to reduce poverty. For example, with pending labour shortages we can’t afford to have marginalized populations.

There are indeed many reasons to support poverty reduction initiatives and, although economic arguments are needed, especially to engage new constituents who may not necessarily see poverty reduction as relevant for them, the moral imperative should reign supreme.  Despite our challenging economic times we need to remember who is hardest hit.  We have to encourage dialogue and we need to further our thinking on innovative methods of poverty reduction.

Esurio is one more method to enable this discussion and SiG@MaRS will be watching and supporting its development.

Allyson Hewitt

Allyson is the JW McConnell Family Foundation Senior Fellow, Social Innovation at MaRS, where she has been leading the SiG@MaRS program; advising social entrepreneurs; building the social innovation ecosystem; and incubating successful programs such as the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, the MaRS Solutions Lab and Studio Y. See more…