Who Owns Poverty?
Who Owns Poverty?

Who Owns Poverty?

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This is a story about a question we never thought to ask – Who owns poverty? – and about an unexpected answer that challenges everything we thought we knew about what poverty is, and what we can do about it.

This book is for the governments, development organizations and changemakers who are frustrated with simply trying to reduce poverty, or alleviate its effects—and the lack of progress we face in doing either.

This is a book that celebrates the power of audacious questions and considers what happens when we put poverty back into the hands of the real experts: families living in poverty.


"A meditation on poverty that goes profoundly deeper than anyone else has gone. This book will bring major changes in public policy.”

–Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics;
Director, Center on Capitalism and Society, Columbia University

“A new paradigm for effective change. Those entrenched in old funding and program models will find this book irritating. Those whose first commitment is to results rather than legacy models will find it illuminating. Open. Read. And learn from one of the world’s most effective influencers.”

–Joseph Grenny, New York Times bestselling co-author
of Influencer and Crucial Conversations

“Burt weaves a compelling case that... long-neglected perspectives from the South are as important as those from the North. This book should be on every development syllabus, and on the nightstand of everyone working to end poverty.” 

–Richard Matthew, Faculty Director, Blum Center for
Poverty Alleviation, University of California Irvine

“Having worked in social development for the past 40 years—I am excited with how Burt defines and simplifies poverty, and places it where it belongs… in the family."

–Zanele Mbeki, Social worker and Founder, Women’s
Development Banking Trust (South Africa)

“Martín Burt fundamentally reframes the way we think about poverty. A must-read for all people who are fighting for transformational change." 

–Willy Foote, Founder and CEO, Root Capital (US)

“A powerful reminder that good intentions will not solve global poverty.”

–Margee Ensign, President, Dickinson College

“A wonderful account of his personal journey exploring how to make poverty measurement genuinely ‘owned’ by the poor in ways that expand their agency to potentially transform the nature of their interaction with state and market institutions.”

–Michael Walton, Senior Lecturer in Public Policy,
Harvard Kennedy School

Extent: 256pp
Available: 3 September 2019