Poverty is a complex issue. Researchers, legislators, and philosophers debate causes and consequences all the time, as well as solutions. To learn more about poverty, here are five essays you can access online for free:
In this essay, the authors lay out the argument that if extreme poverty is to end by 2030, it will take more than just economic growth and the distribution of resources. The solution is a shift in social and political institutions. States must be accountable to the needs of the poorest people and also have the ability to address the needs. Simply having more wealth isn’t enough, the authors say. By 2030, the world as a whole will probably be richer, but that doesn’t guarantee poverty will be non-existent. “Ending Global Poverty” was published in fall 2018 in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
This essay in The Guardian is excerpted from Peter Edelman’s book Not A Crime To Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America. Edelman is an expert on poverty and known for resigning from the Clinton administration over welfare reforms he disagreed with. In his essay, Edelman describes how the US has created a system that punishes the poor, from budget cuts to mass incarceration to racism. Though short, the essay shrewdly explains the criminalization of poverty.
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Published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives in 2007, this essay explores the lives of the “extremely poor.” These are the people who live on less than $1 per day. Banerjee and Duflo describe the kinds of choices this group must make, their challenges, and more. They’ve relied on data and research from household surveys performed in 13 countries. If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for very poor people, how they earn their money, and how they spend it, this is a good essay to read.
Known for the New York Times bestseller The American Way of Eating, Tracie McMillan focuses her investigative research on poverty and food. In this essay from National Geographic, which includes pictures and graphs, McMillan follows the story of a woman living in Iowa. Money is very tight for this woman and her family, and feeding her children enough is often very challenging. In this essay, McMillan enlightens the reader on who is going hungry in America and the reasons why.
The Continuing Evolution of American Poverty and Its Implications for Community Development – Alan Berube
Written by a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington D.C., this essay (published by Brookings in 2016) examines how poverty has changed in the last 40 years. Community development has also changed, which means where poverty is found and how it manifests is different than in years past. Where does community development fit into the fight against poverty? Berube addresses this question and more.
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