...I kind of alluded to it, but it's worth making this explicit: the racial incidence of poverty alone leads me to steeply discount Bryan's behavioral list as the driving factor, and it leads me to place a lot more emphasis on social and institutional determinants (in which I include all the intergenerational constraints I discussed earlier).
Notice that we don't usually think about poverty in the way that Bryan does. Why is China experiencing such phenomenal growth now? Why is South Korea doing so well and North Korea doing so poorly. Is there a behavioral difference? Are North Koreans more irrational than South Koreans?
Of course not.
It's a social and institutional difference.
You can see the same social forces at work in the emergence of the South out of poverty in the middle of the last century.
If poverty weren't such a geographically distinct phenomenon, this might be harder to carry over to discussions about poverty in the U.S.. But poverty is geographically distinct - it's not smoothly distributed geographically.