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.Design/methodology/approachIntegrative propositional analysis is used to evaluate and synthesize theoretical and practical perspectives on poverty from five academic disciplines and five disparate organizations.FindingsIndividual theoretical perspectives were found to have low levels of complexity and systemicity.Research limitations/implicationsClear research directions are shown to accelerate improvements in understanding. Additionally, results may provide a useful guide for developing computer models of poverty.Practical implicationsThe causal knowledge map of synthesized theories suggests where practice may be relatively effective and where unanticipated consequences are more likely to occur.Social implicationsPolicy 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.Originality/valueThis 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.
Kybernetes – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 13, 2019
Keywords: Cybernetics; Poverty; Systems theory; Interdisciplinarity; Conceptual systems science; Integrative propositional analysis