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The Politics of Poverty w/ Matthew Desmond

vr 9 juni 2023

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On Friday June 9 acclaimed sociologist Matthew Desmond will visit De Dépendance on the occasion of his #1 New York Times bestseller Poverty, by America. In the book the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Evicted reimagines the debate on poverty, making a provocative and compelling argument about why it persists in America and elsewhere in the Western world: because the rest of us benefit from it.

The United States, the richest country on earth, has more poverty than any other advanced democracy. Why? Why does this land of plenty allow one in every eight of its children to go without basic necessities, permit scores of its citizens to live and die on the streets, and authorize its corporations to pay poverty wages?

For Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond, the answer is simple: Poverty is a policy choice. It persists because we allow it to. And we allow it to persist because so many of us — whether we realize it or not — benefit from the exploitation of the poor. We prioritize the subsidization of our wealth over the alleviation of poverty, designing a welfare state that gives the most to those who need the least. And we stockpile opportunity in exclusive communities, creating zones of concentrated riches alongside those of concentrated despair. Some lives are made small so that others may grow.

In this landmark book Matthew Desmond gives us new ways of thinking about a morally urgent problem. And it helps us imagine solutions, that are urgently applicable to The Netherlands as well. Desmond builds a startlingly original and ambitious case for ending poverty. And he calls on us all to become poverty abolitionists, engaged in a politics of collective belonging to usher in a new age of shared prosperity and, at last, true freedom.

This program is organised by De Dépendance.