September 19, 2014

The War on Poverty at 50: Its History and Legacy

past event


The Penn Social Science & Policy Forum and other Penn partners created this special conference to celebrate the work of Penn historian, Michael Katz.  Katz has noted in a new edition of his classic, The Undeserving Poor, that “poverty is deeply rooted” in American life. “Before the twentieth century, the nation lacked both the economic surplus and policy tools to eradicate it.” With the inception of the War on Poverty fifty years ago, however, economic abundance and new methods of providing social services joined together to confront poverty and, “for about a decade, this combination, backed by popular support and political will, did spectacularly well.” Since then, “poverty has been allowed to grow again.” “The War on Poverty at 50: Its History and Legacy,” brought together leading scholars and policy analysts to examine the key questions Katz raises. What worked and what did not in the War on Poverty? Were its successes and failures the outcome of methods or of political will? Where did the political will to declare such a war come from? And in twenty-first century America, can it ever be regained?


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