Poverty in Peru is a structural phenomenon. Historically, this situation has been an expression of the country’s exceptionally high degree of economic, social, ethno-cultural, and geographical inequalities. While poverty is omnipresent, since the beginning of the 20th century it has manifested itself more widely and crudely as indigence, a lower degree of poverty.

Ancient inhabitants used cooperation to face the difficulties involved in exploiting the resources of deserts on the coast, mountains in the highlands, and rainforests in the Amazonian basin. In communities (ayllu), poverty was linked to the lack of cooperation, and therefore the Quechua term huaccha means not only poor but also orphan, minor, and miserable.

The European conquest brought important changes affecting poverty levels. The indigenous population was largely deprived of its means of ...

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