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    STUDIA GEOGRAPHIA - Issue no. 2 / 2003  

Authors:  D. TURNOCK.
  Abstract:  The Poverty Problem in Rural Romania: Approaches to Sustainable Development in the Carpathians. Poverty has become a very serious problem in Romania since 1989 and it has strong implications for rural areas where many families are subsisting on small farms, handicapped by poor business qualifications as well as insufficient land and capital. The rural population has little spending power to support small enterprises, but economic growth is also constrained by the poor quality of rural services. Sociologists have therefore highlighted the exclusion of country people from the market economy through the sharp reduction in the number of salaried employees. However, while there is no doubt that poverty problems call for solutions at the national level through social assistance and job creation, it is argued that local action can also make a contribution and four Carpathian areas, with contrasting conditions, are examined with regard to local engagement of global forces through specific community goals and aspirations. With some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) playing a proactive role, there are already signs of enterprise - rural tourism and community woodland management - and more sustainable landuse strategies are being discussed positively. If there is to be a meeting of minds between national government - wanting to get the right climate for business - and local people wanting more robust social policies, it could be through stronger institutions and a renewed drive for cooperation, which could sustain new enterprises in areas that outside entrepreneurship may only penetrate with difficulty.  
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