The statement -

Poverty is increasingly seen as a technical problem amenable to intervention. — Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (book name)

I found this on vocabulary.com as an example on how to use the word amenable. I believe the word "amenable" means to be compliant to something or willing to agree. In the above statement I'm not able to understand how "amenable" is used. Also I'm just not able to make any sense out of the whole statement. Can someone please explain that statement in layman's terms. Make me understand that line please.

1 Answer 1


Oxford give as a secondary sense of amenable:

capable of being acted upon in a particular way; susceptible.

"cardiac failure not amenable to medical treatment" (that is, that medical treatment is unable to help).

The author suggests that many experts now see poverty as a technical problem that could be solved by political or social action (that's probably what is meant by intervention - as distinct from the traditional remedy of giving charity).

  • Did you get that "political or social action" from the word "intervention" in the given statement? If so, how? Also can you rephrase that cardiac failure example you provided, in simple terms, for me to understand what it exactly means. Mar 12, 2021 at 9:38
  • 1
    'Political or social action' was my interpretation of what is probably meant by 'intervening in a technical problem' (as opposed to the traditional remedy of giving charity to the poor). The phrase about cardiac failure was Oxford Dictionaries' example - it means '...that medical treatment is unable to help'. Mar 12, 2021 at 10:19
  • After reading your comment it makes sense. You might wanna add those last 3 lines from your comment in your answer. Thank you. It amazes me how you can interpret so neatly, wish I had that skill 😊 Mar 12, 2021 at 12:08
  • @dharanikumar if Kate's answer has solved your problem you can mark it as accepted by clicking on the tick (US=check mark).
    – mdewey
    Mar 12, 2021 at 14:08

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