Bethany McLean + Luigi Zingales & Matthew Desmond , Capitalisn't

Why America's Poor Remain Poor, With Matthew Desmond

29 Jun 2023 • 54 min • EN
54 min
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"Poverty will be abolished in America only when a mass movement demands it," writes Princeton sociologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Matthew Desmond in his new book, "Poverty, by America." Building on his own lived experiences of growing up poor and continued contact with impoverished communities that "forces [him] to be intellectually honest," he claims that poverty persists in America not because we are incapable of preventing it but because society - and especially the wealthy - benefits from it at the expense of the poor. Bethany and Luigi draw from their recent conversation with former U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm, who argued against the premise altogether and said that poverty in America is not as terrible a "scourge" as many like Desmond claim it to be. With Desmond, our hosts discuss his views on the complex and deeply entrenched root causes of poverty, its relationship with the American capitalist system, and how we could build on individual choices - towards which we have otherwise been so stubbornly resistant - to end poverty. Show Notes:In case you missed it, here's Bethany and Luigi's conversation with Sen. Phil Gramm: "Is American Inequality a Myth?"Read related reading on ProMarket: "Monopolies: Silent Spreaders of Poverty and Economic Inequality" and a conversation with Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton on "The Under-Discussed Driver of Inequality in America."

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