Poverty and inequality create critical challenges for contemporary democratic societies. This seminar examines responses to these conditions in the U.S. and compares its responses to those of other countries. This examination includes consideration of the relationship between politics and policymaking, the character of public debates about poverty and inequality, conflict over the state's role in responding to these conditions, and specific efforts to address these conditions through public policy instruments. The seminar brings both historical and international perspectives to bear, taking up selected examples that highlight how political responses to poverty and inequality vary over time and in different national settings. It also draws attention to the strategic implications for policymaking and practice.