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Why are so many Americans poor? The Poverty Paradox

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The United States is one of the wealthiest nations on earth –-but it has the highest rates of poverty among industrialized nations.

This is a paradox. With all the wealth, abundance and opportunity in America, doing something meaningful about poverty should be, at the very least, something people would care about and demand a response for to help do something about the problem.

But perhaps the reason poverty exists and is so entrenched and widespread —and ignored in the U.S. —is because poverty is built into the American economy.

There is a structural vulnerability, one that creates winners and losers in the economy.

And the winners drain what few resources the losers have.

In the forthcoming book “The Poverty Paradox: Understanding Economic Hardship Amid American Prosperity,” Mark Rank, a professor of Social Welfare, breaks down the puzzle.

He uncovers a new framework of understanding why poverty exists in America.

What are the mechanisms in the economic game that demands there are so many losers and just a few winners?

Is poverty the result of failures at the structural level, which ensures that poverty will exist and persist?

Guest: Mark Robert Rank, author of The Poverty Paradox: Understanding Economic Hardship and American Prosperity

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet@TPRSource.

*This interview will be recorded on Monday, April 17.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi