One of the most vexing economic problems facing the United States has been the persistence of pockets of poverty in the midst of prosperity. The reasons for this are many and complex. Prominent among them are economic isolation in the case of rural areas, and language and cultural barriers in the case of many inner-city communities. Discrimination has played a role, but so too has simple ignorance. Resources and opportunities exist in these communities, but getting the recognition from market sources necessary to leverage these assets is difficult. For whatever reason, human and physical resources in these neighborhoods may not be fully utilized. Perhaps even worse, exclusion from the economic mainstream perpetuates and reinforces itself. Lacking jobs, capital, and examples of success, many of these communities have remained mired in poverty.
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