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Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980 Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged


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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.; Unabridged edition (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455165840
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455165841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,356,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Murray, coauthor of The Bell Curve, argued that the social programs of the '60s and the '70s worsened the plight of the poor and minorities. This 10th anniversary issue includes a new introduction by the author.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

''A great book.'' --Wall Street Journal

''Without bile and without rhetoric it lays out a stark truth that must be faced.'' --Business Week

''A remarkable book. Future discussions of social policy cannot proceed without taking the arguments and evidence of this book into account.'' --James S. Coleman, University of Chicago

''Charles Murray will infuriate people. But if they read carefully he will also make them think.'' Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author --Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author

''A remarkable book. Future discussions of social policy cannot proceed without taking the arguments and evidence of this book into account.'' --James S. Coleman, University of Chicago

''Charles Murray will infuriate people. But if they read carefully he will also make them think.'' Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author --Ken Auletta, New York Times bestselling author

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Customer Reviews

This is a must read for any thinking person.
Phoenix Montag
This book gives evidence that our government needs to set policies to foster education, self sufficiency and a strong family unit.
Chicago Pete
Those who can be helped need only be made aware of these opportunities, and they will take advantage of them.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

135 of 147 people found the following review helpful By Joe Curran on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Murray's analysis of government social programs in the past half century was an eye-opener for a born-and-raised liberal Democrat like myself. It is difficult to disagree with his overall conclusion that these programs have generally been failures, and in many cases did more harm than good. This is not easy to swallow if you were raised with the firmly entrenched (and deeply righteous) belief that people who "really care" always support well-intentioned government programs that aim to solve social problems. It has always been an assumption in my thinking that those who opposed virtually any new government agency or social program lacked compassion, or worse. But, as Mr. Murray points out, these programs, including welfare, housing projects, medicaid, and other twentieth century experiments, must be judged as objectively as possible based on results. And the results are not impressive.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By KSwed@aol.com on March 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
While the President and the Congress debate the levels of funding for the welfare state in the coming century, Charles Murray makes a very convincing arguement for why it should be done away with altogether. Replete with statistical analysis (including the raw data from federal government sources), Murray argues that should an outside observer review the statistics on the economic progress of blacks and the poor from about 1963 onward, without any social context, they would have to conclude that a systematic effort was afoot to ensnare a large group of people in perpetual poverty. Murray explains the dynamics behind the failure of welfare policy and argues a more generic case as to why nearly all government efforts to induce behavioral change in the population are doomed to failure. Murray's account is well supported, crystal clear, and highly thought-provoking. Recommended for all who wish to be involved in welfare policy or its debate for the coming century.
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64 of 77 people found the following review helpful By eric zazie on July 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is not often that you read a perfectly convincing argument, but this book did it for me. The charts alone tell the whole story: increased spending on welfare while poverty is decreasing, coupled with higher crime, illegitimacy, unemployment, low birth weight all beginning within the years 1964-68. I've never cried at a movie, but if any book deserved a few tears, this would be it. Apart from the increase in birth rates, which Murray tries but fails to explain as a function of rational choices (can it ever?), every other statistic is shown by Murray to be the indirect result of well-intentioned and perfectly disastrous policies. Beginning with the indifference to poverty in 1954, to the modest programs under Kennedy, to the whole-hearted expansion under Johnson, to the institution of a permanent minimum income under Nixon, the war on poverty was lost within three years without anyone bothering to call off the troops. Murray makes the point that any slight "variance" in the statistics, even if only a tenth of a percent, is considered significant, but illegitimacy among poor blacks, for instance, drops from 80% to 40% in a matter of a few years. How human behavior, perfectly stable for decades, can change in a matter of a few years is, in fact, shocking, and Murray engages in a little detective work that is entirely convincing. The reason is in fact no mystery: if you pay people to stay unmarried, live apart, and not work, they will do precisely that. If, on top of that, you stop jailing criminals and seal their juvenile records, crime will also go up. That the Watts riots occured just two weeks after the 1964 civil rights legislation, and the new welfare poliicies were instituted the same year, is no accident either.Read more ›
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112 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Todd Winer on May 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is an important book that explains an incredibletransformation in American social policy. Sometime around themid-1960s, a new code of private values and government policies pushed their way into mainstream society. This vision and its consequences were a radical departure from our nation's past. From 1950 to 1965, an economy founded on free market principles, nurtured on minimal government regulation, and protected from large welfare programs, had slashed the poverty rate from one third of the population to just over one-tenth. Eliminating poverty seemed like a real possibility to Americans as long as the wheels of capitalism continued to spin unhindered. From 1950 to 1965, African-Americans won court battles giving them the human rights guaranteed to every citizen. These belated changes were cemented by the hallmark 1964 Civil Rights Act and accompanied by a remarkable surge in African-American incomes. This fifteen-year period was an era of immense progress. Not only were the classes and races coming together but crime was remarkably low, families exceptionally resilient, and drug use almost non-existent. Then around 1965 something happened. All of a sudden the capitalist economy that made Old World immigrants into middle-class, suburban home-owners was described as a guilty, imperialist system that exploited the poor and the weak. Government planners in Washington got right to solving this "problem." From now on, people could expect a guaranteed income for an unlimited period of time, without regard to personal behavior or the ability to work. To show what a compassionate society we are, we would destroy the work ethic that was the bedrock of Western civilization. But that wasn't the best part.Read more ›
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