Islamic approach to Poverty is substantially different from conventional one. Changing attitudes towards poverty in the West have been discussed in following two books:
1.The Idea of Poverty
2. Poverty and Compassion: The Moral Imagination of the Late Victorians
by Gertrude Himmelfarb
3.Michel Chossudovsky (Author
Himmelfarb is the reigning authority on Victorian social thought. This worthy sequel to her widely acclaimed The Idea of Poverty: England in the Early Industrial Age (LJ 12/1/83) studies the late Victorian effort to attack poverty by harnessing scientific methods to achieve social reform. She examines Charles Booth and Beatrice Webb, the Salvation Army and the Fabians, the development of concepts such as unemployment and the poverty line. But she also considers both historians' attitudes toward Victorian thought and its relevance to our present dilemmas. A masterful and incisive study and highly readable; essential for Victorian specialists, those interested in the history of social thought, and collections serving either.
Deeper work is that of Polanyi: The Great Transformation, which shows how the concept of poverty and attitudes towards it changed as a result of the emergence of a market society in England.
Some resources on poverty are available from SOAS:
Islamic attitude towards poverty is quite complex -- people often oversimplify and fall into one side or the other. For some poverty is desirable, while for others it is not. In either case, Islam does stress feeding the poor, so elimination of HUNGER is a high priority iterm in Islam. An article on Hunger is attached below.
“The Ethics of Hunger: Development Institutions and the World of Religion”
Paper prepared for workshop on “Ethics, Globalization, and Hunger: In Search of Appropriate Policies”, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, November 2004
Katherine MarshallThe World Bank
 Marisa van Saanen and Olivia Donnelly provided substantial assistance in preparing this paper and their support is gratefully acknowledged. Helpful comments were received from Per Pinstrup-Andersen and colleagues who participated in the November Cornell workshop.