Mainstream accounts of poverty deliberately avoid a historical understanding of how the poor came to be poor,
This is to get the question entirely bass ackwards.
Poverty (unless you get a truly moronic leader like Mugabe or Castro) isn\’t something which is created. It just is.
From the Roman Empire to 1700 average global GDP per capita wiggled around between $400 and $800. We were in a Malthusian economy.
From 1700 to today we\’ve gone from that figure to about $8,000 a head. And, as simple observation of the world will show you, that rise is rather concentrated. At first Western Europe, North America, but as other regions of the world have adopted the usual policies (some sort of security of property, some measure of economic freedom), from Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea to, at slightly lower levels Chile and Eastern Europe to at even lower levels but coming up fast places like China.
The central economic question is not how people came to be poor, not how poverty is created, for it isn\’t. It\’s how wealth is created, that wondrous process which pre-1700 really didn\’t happen to anybody (no, the elites, while fabulously wealthy in terms of the portion of wealth they controlled were, by our standards today, dirt poor) and now happens to any country which cares to take up the process which is the interesting and important question.