Poverty redefined as ethics

In: Uncategorized

6 May 2007

American Prospect, a US magazine, has teamed up with Demos (an American think tank rather than the British one of the same name) to produce a special report on “Ending poverty in America”. It is striking how it defines poverty in terms of ethics rather than having anything to do with political struggle or power. The report seems to focus on personal behaviour and providing incentives for people to work:

“In assigning and editing these articles, we were struck by a paradox. There is now growing ideological convergence on what it takes to end poverty. Liberals and conservatives agree that ending poverty is about both personal behaviors and rewards to work; about both values and economics. Ending poverty requires opportunities for wealth creation as well as income support, empowerment as well as transfer payments. It requires all children to be school-ready, which takes both stronger families and more effective public programs.”

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