Most Americans today express concern about poverty, but seem overwhelmed by the immensity and complexity of the problem. Some view the issue as too big and too expensive to ever be solved, while others think the problem belongs to someone else---in this case the poor themselves. Many carry a simplistic, single causation view that assigns the problem to a single factor, such as poor education, single parenthood, or poor personal decision-making.

But Scripture identifies poverty mainly with oppression by persons and human systems having power to control and manipulate what happens in world economies. Therefore we should be interested in poverty because we all bear some responibility for its existence and hold a major stake in efforts to eradicate or at least lessen its incidence.