Current approaches to understanding and resolving the problem of poverty have not proved effective. This paper aims to provide a new explanation of why we have failed and what must be done to improve our understanding, decision-making, action and success.
Integrative propositional analysis is used to evaluate and synthesize theoretical and practical perspectives on poverty from five academic disciplines and five disparate organizations.
Individual theoretical perspectives were found to have low levels of complexity and systemicity.
Clear research directions are shown to accelerate improvements in understanding. Additionally, results may provide a useful guide for developing computer models of poverty.
The causal knowledge map of synthesized theories suggests where practice may be relatively effective and where unanticipated consequences are more likely to occur.
Policy decision-making to address the problem of poverty is not likely to lead to successful resolution. Thus, poverty is likely to continue until we develop a more systemic understanding.
This interdisciplinary paper provides a new structural perspective on why we have not been able to solve the poverty problem – and shows how far we have yet to go to reach success.
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