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Progress against Poverty: The Governmental Approach

Daniel F. Halloran
Public Administration Review
Vol. 28, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1968), pp. 205-213
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Society for Public Administration
DOI: 10.2307/974121
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/974121
Page Count: 9
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Progress against Poverty: The Governmental Approach
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Abstract

The author argues that the concept of poverty is a quite relative one. The standard of living which is considered impoverished varies from place to place and from time to time. He then traces the concept of poverty in the United States. In early American society widespread poverty did not exist, and the poverty which did exist did not put a serious strain on local governmental resources. In the latter part of the nineteenth century poverty in the United States became a serious problem and local governments could no longer handle it alone. In the first three decades of the twentieth century poverty existed on a scale which increasingly required the assistance of state governments. The poverty ushered in by the Great Depression in the 1930's was unique, and the impact upon governments and politics in the United States was significant. The present situation is that of a persistent core of poverty surrounded by affluence. The war on poverty is an attempt to uncover and strike at the roots of poverty, and destroy its causes instead of treating its symptoms. The antipoverty program of 1964 and the reasons for the limited success of the war on poverty are discussed. The author contends that despite disagreements among American economists over the means to achieve a new economic structure and over the exact nature of that structure, their current thinking constitutes the final stage in the evolution of Keynesian economics. Open and free discussion of the contemporary problem of poverty, rather than fruitless ideological controversy, is called for.

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