Poverty, by America

English language

Published Feb. 15, 2023 by Penguin Books, Limited.

ISBN:
978-0-14-199880-0
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5 stars (16 reviews)

5 editions

Poverty by America

5 stars

Matthew Desmond does an incredible taking us through the history and causes of the poverty crisis in America. There's a systemic issue of people, especially those in privileged positions, to think of others in poverty as fundamentally their fault. Matthew demonstrates how this is absolutely untrue. We as a society need to wake up, recognize the problem before our eyes, and take responsibility that we're a contributor to this problem. As Matthew points out, we don't need to outsmart poverty, we just need to outhate it. Recommended reading for everyone.

Poverty, by America

5 stars

I picked this up because I had really enjoyed reading Desmond's previous book, Evicted. While that book was longer and followed a cast of characters, this book is a direct, bracing jeremiad. Poverty exists, in short, because there are a lot of people who can do well while others suffer. That isn't just billionaires -- if you take the mortgage interest tax deduction, you are getting government largesse. We, as a country, just view that differently from food stamps. I am sure that there are many readers of this book who will not be comfortable having Desmond's sights trained on them. But that's precisely the point. Desmond's writing is passionate but thoroughly backed by his analysis. We don't have to live this way, and other countries don't treat their most vulnerable citizens with such contempt (that's why this is poverty "by America"). Solving poverty is possible; we just have …

Review of 'Poverty, by America' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

This is more of a pamphlet (180-some pages) than a full-length book. The first half summarizes the situation described in lengthier books, like Evicted (his other one), Scarcity, and Random Family, while the second half is more prescriptive. I wasn't entirely buying the latter part but I appreciated the survey in the first half, and I would recommend further reading on those topics, starting with the above books.

Review of 'Poverty, by America' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Desmond uses a range of evidence to support his argument about the causes of poverty in America, including government policy, specific practices and policies, and societal attitudes towards poverty, such as excessive regulations on housing construction, segregated public schools, and lack of connection between people of different classes. “Poverty”, he says, “isn’t simply the condition of not having enough money. It’s the condition of not having enough choice and being taken advantage of because of that, and he challenges social service organizations to focus on empowering the poor and expanding their choices, rather than simply providing them with financial assistance. 

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