Published today by the left-wing Jimmy Reid Foundation, the report singles out Glasgow's shopping mall boom as an example of how the Scottish economy has become over-reliant on insecure low-pay jobs in the service sector.
Rather than enabling a break from poverty, the reports argues, such jobs are part of the problem. Instead of the diverse "quality work" Glasgow needs, it says they are part of "an insecure working environment characterised by casualisation, low pay and deskilled work … with high levels of turnover".
A big retail sector also means multinational chains taking profits out the city and undercutting local businesses, while people unable to afford the lifestyle on offer suffer "psychological insecurities".
Criticising the council for focusing on "materialistic goals" and "shopping culture", the report asks: "If a retail, leisure and tourism economy should address poverty through trickle-down economics as is often claimed, then why is Glasgow both one of the UK's leading retail centres and the UK city with the most severe poverty problems?
"If Glasgow has developed a consumer-based economy with a retail sector now two-and-a-half times the size of Edinburgh's, why have health gaps continued to increase between the two cities?"
The paper is a contribution to the Foundation's Common Weal project, which advocates importing economic and social policies from the Nordic countries for a fairer and wealthier Scotland.
Titled Excuses Are Always With us: How a Common Weal Approach Can End Poverty, the report's authors are Mike Danson, professor of enterprise policy at Heriot-Watt University and Katherine Trebeck, a policy manager for Oxfam UK, writing in a personal capacity.
It urges a move away from tax-avoiding global brands which export their profits, and recommends more state support for smaller, homegrown retailers whose sales and wages put money directly into the local economy.
With centres including St Enoch Square, Princes Square and Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow is the UK's biggest shopping destination outside London, with 1500 shops in the city centre, attracting 2.2 million visitors each year.
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce says this generates £2.4 billion in sales and supports more than 150,000 jobs. In recent years, Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Chamber of Commerce and the City Marketing Bureau have all strongly promoted Glasgow's shopping "offer", in part to lure conferences and other businesses to the city.
With 82% of Scottish jobs being in the service sector - which includes business services, finance, government, health and education as well as retail and catering - the Reid Foundation report says concerted action is needed to end poverty, as the current form of the labour market won't do it. It says: "The existence of poverty amid considerable richness is testament to insufficent political will to date, testament to the failed economic model, and testament to the vested interests which undermine change."
Citing the Nordic countries as proof that low wages need not be the basis of economic growth, it recommends job creation focused on quality jobs accessible to the poor, more flexible working, a shorter working week to stimulate job sharing, more diverse business ownership, and greater worker input in management.
Government should only give state support to firms which pay full taxes, and which narrow the gulf between their shop floor and boardroom pay, the report adds.
Stuart Patrick, chief executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, said it was wrong to equate Glasgow with shopping, and said malls were there because Glaswegians wanted them.
He said: "It's not just because retailers have come in to soak up the profits, as the Jimmy Reid Foundation seem to be portraying it, it's because Glaswegians are very enthusiastic shoppers.
"We also don't have a disproportionately large share of employment in Glasgow in retail.
"So the suggestion that we have distorted the economy in Glasgow when we have been highlighting how good the retail offer is - I would like to see the evidence of that."
A city council spokesman said: "Glasgow now has a far more resilient and diverse economy than it did a generation ago. Glasgow is one of the 10 biggest financial centres in Europe, and more people are currently employed in tourism than were ever employed in the city's shipyards. The international financial services district has brought more than 15,000 well-paid jobs and £1bn of outside investment to the city over the past decade.
"Glasgow's success over the past 20 years has been built on public and private investment in a number of sectors to deliver a diversity that has allowed us to perform relatively well during the economic problems of the last five years, something that was learned from an over-reliance on heavy industry in the generation before."