Can we end poverty in America? Does economic theory offer a solution? Humility would be a good starting place, because systemic problems like generational poverty rarely stem from single causes. Putting the broken pieces together is difficult when some edges are sharp, some are shattered, and others missing. This essay draws on insights from Adam Smith in order to examine the problem of poverty. It focuses on a case study involving Serena Robins (the real names have been altered).

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Copyright © 2007, Powell Center For Economic Literacy. This article first appeared in Econ-Exchange 11:1 (2007), 2-4.

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