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My involvement with the poverty issue was neither as a researcher nor a policy maker. I became involved because poverty was everywhere around me and I could not turn away from it. In 1974, I found it very difficult to teach the elegant theories of economics in a university classroom while Bangladesh was facing a terrible famine. Suddenly, I felt the emptiness and futility of those "immaculate" theories in the face of crushing hunger and unimaginable poverty. I wanted to do something immediate to help people around me, even if it meant that just one human being would be helped to get through another day with a little bit more ease.

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