One fourth of the American people is poor or lives at the margin of poverty. The poverty from which they suffer is not a “case” problem, amenable to solution by social work, nor does it occur merely in “pockets” which can be eliminated by governmental action. Poverty in the United States remains a general social problem, a consequence of the way our economy operates. For poverty to be eradicated, the structure of the economy would have to be substantially modified; and part of the economic surplus now disposed of for private ends that are often socially undesirable, or for public purposes which frequently subserve those private ends, would have to be redirected.
Poverty in the U.S. is closely linked to two basic institutional factors. One is the unequal distribution of income; the other, the instability of an economy based on private property....
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