Persistent Poverty

Richard H. Ropers, Author Basic Books $23.95 (251p) ISBN 978-0-306-43764-9
Ropers lays bare the severity and extent of persistent poverty in the country today, more clearly than any other writer since Michael Harrington in The Other America . He cogently argues that primary causes of poverty are low-paying jobs, lack of affordable housing and deindustrialization rather than welfare dependency, family pathology or other ``blame-the-victim'' explanations. He also criticizes America's overconcentration of wealth (one-half of 1% of the population owns at least 35% of the nation's wealth). A sociologist at Southern Utah University, Ropers surveys the erosion of the middle class and considers why women, children and the elderly make up the majority of the poor. Taking the Los Angeles County welfare system as an example, he shows that the so-called ``safety net'' is riddled with holes. Although it offers few concrete reform proposals, this concise and dispassionate report calls for a major reordering of national priorities. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
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