The cause and nature of long-term poverty is one of the most important yet daunting questions scholars have tried to address in the modern era. Despite what the petitioners against Mead's article imply, there is no consensus about the causes of poverty and even less agreement on the efficacy of various solutions. The editors of Academic Questions and the National Association of Scholars believe that the best approach to difficult policy questions is the free flow of ideas from a large variety of viewpoints and methodologies. It is true that we know Professor Mead as a man of great personal integrity. But we publish his account here because we believe the problem of poverty, like other scholarly questions, benefits most from free and rigorous debate and careful consideration of the evidence. It is disappointing to see large numbers of scholars seek to close off viewpoints they disagree with and to shut down debate (while also seeking to personally damage and impugn a fellow scholar). It is even more dispiriting to watch as respected publishers and academic institutions comply with such obvious attacks on academic freedom. In republishing Mead's article we uphold the principles of academic freedom, including the freedom of faculty members to pursue academic research; their freedom to question and to think for themselves; and their freedom from ideological imposition.
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