The Undeserving Poor: America's Enduring Confrontation with Poverty: Fully Updated and Revised

The Undeserving Poor: America's Enduring Confrontation with Poverty: Fully Updated and Revised

Michael B. Katz

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0199933952

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

First published in 1989, The Undeserving Poor was a critically acclaimed and enormously influential account of America's enduring debate about poverty. Taking stock of the last quarter century, Michael B. Katz's new edition of this classic is virtually a new book. As the first did, it will force all concerned Americans to reconsider the foundations of our policies toward the poor, especially in the wake of the Great Recession that began in 2008.

Katz highlights how throughout American history, the poor have been regarded as undeserving: people who do not deserve sympathy because they brought their poverty on themselves, either through laziness and immorality, or because they are culturally or mentally deficient. This long-dominant view sees poverty as a personal failure, serving to justify America's mean-spirited treatment of the poor. Katz reminds us, however, that there are other explanations of poverty besides personal failure. Poverty has been written about as a problem of place, of resources, of political economy, of power, and of market failure. Katz looks at each idea in turn, showing how they suggest more effective approaches to our struggle against poverty.

The Second Edition includes important new material. It now sheds light on the revival of the idea of culture in poverty research; the rehabilitation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan; the resurgent role of biology in discussions of the causes of poverty, such as in The Bell Curve; and the human rights movement's intensified focus on alleviating world poverty. It emphasizes the successes of the War on Poverty and Great Society, especially at the grassroots level. It is also the first book to chart the rise and fall of the "underclass" as a concept driving public policy.

A major revision of a landmark study, The Undeserving Poor helps readers to see poverty-and our efforts to combat it--in a new light.

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child psychiatrist Sir Michael Rutter offered this definition: “The term ‘epigenetics’ is applied to mechanisms that change genetic effects (through influences on gene expression) without altering gene sequence.”124 The flood of scholarly research and popular writing on epigenetics justified science writer Nessa Carey’s giving her book the title, The Epigenetics Revolution. The revolution, according to Carey, “that has happened very recently in biology is that for the first time we are actually

success— notably higher education—and good jobs combined with the pressure on schools to improve their performance on standardized test results placed increasing urgency on the question of what it would take to reduce the gap. The meteoric increase in articles on the achievement gap during the first decade of the twenty-first century testifies to the problem’s prominence in the pantheon of educational dilemmas. A search of scholarly articles turned up six references to achievement gap in 2000,

capitalist economies, they stressed, poverty always remained rooted in unemployment and underemployment, or the industrial army, which in America concentrated in “the decaying centers of the big cities.”66 Applied to America, the colonial model was straightforward: Ghettos export their unskilled labor and import consumer goods. Most capital within them remains in the hands of outsiders who control local businesses and export their profits. Unable to import capital, ghettos neither produce the

respond more positively to an adult community that exhibits “the capacity to organize itself, to impose informal sanctions, and to mobilize indigenous resources.”54 Community action infiltrated the nascent War on Poverty through David Hackett, executive director of the President’s Committee on Juvenile Delinquency, who, reports Alice O’Connor, “mobilized the juvenile delinquency and urban reform networks to put the idea into the policy pipeline, eventually leaving both community action and the

median income in 2010, compared to 8 percent in Germany and 12 percent in Canada in 2007. Among the countries in the study, only in Mexico, India, and Guatemala did more people live on incomes this low.120 In the 1960s public policy reconceived poverty not only by adopting an official poverty standard, but also by its appetite for research. Indeed, the distinguished economist Robert Haveman, former director of the University of Wisconsin’s Institute for Research on Poverty, the semiofficial poverty

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