We step into a minefield of perspective and controversy when we say we set out to radically reimagine the solution to poverty. And we go even further when we seek to redefine our collective understanding of poverty itself. This new book of mine is meant to be bold, to turn so-called social and societal norms on their heads.
My radical reimagining of the definition of poverty is what I call the HOPE Doctrine on Poverty. This approach to defining poverty is a departure from the status quo, because the current definition, respectfully, misses the point completely. It is limited by its sole commitment to numbers. But if we restrict the notion of poverty to a purely statistical interpretation, as our government is understandably required to do, we miss the human element. As I speak about poverty, I am an outlier.
My new book “How The Poor Can Save Capitalism,” is nothing if not practical. And so is my definition of poverty. After growing up as part of the teetering class in South Central Los Angeles and Compton, California; after being homeless at the age of eighteen; and after working over the past twenty-two years with everyone from the working poor to the working class to the struggling middle class, in the offices ofOperation HOPE, I feel as though I understand modern poverty.
The HOPE Doctrine on Poverty says that there are three things that define poverty and struggle more than any set of financial numbers ever could: self-confidence,self-esteem, and belief in oneself; role models and environment; aspiration andopportunity. Or the lack of these things.
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