@ZipLine-- Why does it have to be one or the other? Why can't it be both? Why can't the solution to poverty be a combination of economic growth and the allocation of more resources and opportunities to the poor? This is probably the most logical and beneficial way to look at this issue.
It's true that economic growth by itself improves the living standards of people in that society. But sometimes, jobs or money aren't the only barriers for breaking out of poverty. It's usually also about education opportunities and discrimination. If an individual never has the opportunity to get a good education which qualifies him for well paying jobs, or if the individual is discriminated against because of race, gender or disability, economic growth isn't going to do the trick alone.
So what societies need is both. It's very difficult though because this also requires structural changes in the way a country is run. It's difficult for all this to happen in undemocratic countries where individual freedoms are frequently infringed upon.