Every year since 1987, a World Day Against Poverty is held on October 17. But it is important that the collective reaction against poverty should not be limited to this occasion alone. For one thing, fighting poverty means having the wherewithal to do so. But how? And what are the prerequisites?
The future studies approach may have a useful contribution to make in this regard. This would help to prevent the goals set by the European Council in 2000 -to eliminate poverty by 2010- from being mere pious hopes.
Identifying the likely trends in extreme poverty in Europe may indeed help us to perceive how much room there is for manoeuvre and the means of altering those trends. Even more, to quote Jean-Pïerre Dupuy, this approach may well enable us to see the worst situations as well as revealing "what is of enormous value".
In this article, Saphia Richou and Xavier Godinot discuss a joint initiative of ATD Quart Monde and Futuribles to examine the prospects for extreme poverty in Europe between now and 2015. The authors describe the methods used and the scenarios which were developed. Clearly this exploratory approach cannot avoid a discussion of what would be desirable, since that was what motivated the exercise in the first place. The article therefore examines the means and the conditions needed to achieve a scenario with the evocative title: "poverty made illegal".