I was at the Royal Society of Arts earlier this week to hear the Yale philosophy Professor Thomas Pogge speak on Ending Poverty. He highlights how global inequality has worsened over the past 4 decades and how the statistics on poverty has been manipulated to demonstrate progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Pogge argues that much of today’s severe poverty constitutes a human rights violation committed through supranational rule design. The eradication of severe poverty requires mainstreaming the concern for the poor beyond the niche of development assistance. In Pogge’s view, the first Millennium Development Goal – to reduce the number of extremely poor and the number of chronically undernourished by 27 percent in the 1990-2015 period – is grotesquely under-ambitious and the MDGs, because they do not specify tasks or responsible agencies, are not genuine goals at all. Post-2015 we need commitment to eradicate severe poverty fast and completely, coupled with clear responsibilities assigned to specific competent actors to keep the effort on a clear path to delivery. But importantly Pogge’s provocative argument is that we are all culpable in perpetuating global poverty, and in particular globalisation and the rise of powerful corporations and lobbying has fuelled the concentration of wealth in the hands of a tiny global economic elite. You can see Pogge’s thought provoking talk on the RSA website. Pogge is instrumental in a new organisation – ASAPAcademics Stand Against Poverty which, amongst other activities is working with civil society groups around the world to build consensus on what should replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.