Why hasn't the poverty rate fallen in four decades, despite society's massive and varied efforts? The notable philosopher Charles Karelis contends that conventional explanations of poverty rest on a mistake. And so do the antipoverty policies they generate. This book proposes a new explanation of the behaviors that keep people poor, including nonwork, quitting school, nonsaving, and breaking the law. Provocative and thoughtful, it finds a hidden rationality in the problematic conduct of many poor people, a rationality long missed by economists. Using science, history, fables, philosophical analysis, and common observation, the author engages us and takes us to a deeper grasp of the link between consumption and satisfaction, and from there to a new view of distributive justice and to fresh policy recommendations for combating poverty. With this bold work and original insights, the long-stalled campaign against poverty can begin to move forward once more.