The New Politics of Poverty: The Non-Working Poor in America

Overview

Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes ...

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Hardcover w / dustjacket. NEW NEW NEW; never read; never sold. DJ fine. No priceclip. No pricing stickers. No remainder mark. In sealed plastic protection. 1992. Hardcover w / ... dustjacket. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Thirty years ago, the great national debate was how to help ordinary, workaday Americans achieve the good things in life. Today, we are preoccupied with—and increasingly divided over—how to cope with the problems of poor and dependent Americans, most of whom cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Mead provides overwhelming and disturbing evidence that passive poverty—the failure of most of the poor to work at all—reflects defeatism more than lack of opportunity. In this controversial book, Mead proposes concrete steps to overcome the inertia of the nonworking poor trapped in the welfare system. If the poor return to work, he suggests, American politics would focus once again on the problems of the working Americans.

A controversial look at how American politics has transformed the "new" poverty into a demoralization of the poor that has alienated them from the working majority, written by a workfare programs advocate and author of Beyond Entitlement. Two hardcover printings sold.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Railing against the nonworking poor is Mead's ( Beyond Entitlement ) central preoccupation here. The former research director of the Republican National Committee maintains that today's ``nonworking'' poor are singularly different than earlier generations of the poor in that they refuse to work. He concludes that they lack moral authority and, therefore, the right to make demands upon society. He calls for ``work enforcement'' and the ``reassertion of public authority,'' while arguing against today's ``dependency politics which is largely about how to cope with nonworking people.'' Mead relies heavily on statistics to prove his points, but his interpretations are highly subjective. This is social policy in the hands of a zealot, and fervor more than facts are the draw. First serial to Commentary. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Mead examines the divergent conservative and liberal political responses to the increasingly threatening social and economic costs to America of a passively nonworking poor underclass, predominantly negative contributors to a mainstream society believing in advancement through active individual effort. As in his Beyond Entitlement ( LJ 12/85), Mead argues for a work requirement for employable recipients of public assistance. This, he reasons, would not only alleviate the poverty but would help individuals realize some measure of control over their lives and affirm the concept of personal responsibility. A challenging work, with very extensive notes, this is appropriate for upper-level undergraduates, policy makers, interested professionals, and laypersons. Previewed in ``On the Campaign Book Trail,'' LJ 3/15/92, p.110-12.-- Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Booknews
According to Mead, whose Beyond entitlement (1986) helped shift national welfare policy toward work requirements, America is faced today with a new dependency politics, where the issue is no longer whether there are enough jobs for the poor but why so many poor either cannot or will not work at the jobs available. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465059621
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 5/12/1992
  • Pages: 384

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Introduction 1
Ch. 2 The Crisis of Reform 25
Ch. 3 The Costs of Nonwork 48
Ch. 4 Low Wages and Hard Times 66
Ch. 5 Are Jobs Available? 85
Ch. 6 Barriers to Employment 110
Ch. 7 Human Nature 133
Ch. 8 Policy 159
Ch. 9 Welfare Reform 185
Ch. 10 The Wider Meaning of Dependency 210
Ch. 11 The Prospect 240
Notes 262
Index 346
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