- Paperback: 216 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1st ed. 2016 edition (November 12, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1137555289
- ISBN-13: 978-1137555281
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality 1st ed. 2016 Edition
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“A courageous and carefully researched book teeming with novel insights and highly original sweeping syntheses. It deserves to be an integral part of the political debate on welfare, as we struggle to construct sustainable structures that can survive the demographic demands of the 21st century. It is also a model of clear writing that is easily accessible to the layman and the policymaker alike. I recommend it to readers in the confident expectation that they will think likewise.” (Andrew Sabisky, Adam Smith Blog, adamsmith.org, January, 2016)
“The central thesis of the book is that the benefits of a generous welfare state erode work ethics, and that the longer people live under welfarism, the more they depend on those benefits, and the more likely they are to cheat to obtain them. … This book deserves to be read. … it is worth buying and sending to your elected representative, with the key findings underlined.” (James Thompson, Psychological Comments, drjamesthomson.blogspot.co.uk, January, 2016)
'The Welfare Trait is electrifying energising and shocking. Dr Perkins, an expert in the neurobiology of personality, argues that a generous welfare state can proliferate employment-resistant personality characteristics. The scientific discharge of this new theory is sure to spark high voltage debate be prepared for a jolt!' Philip Corr, Professor of Psychology, City University, London, UK
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"The Welfare Trait" lends scientific credence to longstanding common sense about incentive structures. After reading this book and in light of the recent calls for universal basic income, I can only stand back in terror: God help us all.
Adam Perkins' The Welfare Trait draws on a substantial body of research in making the case that state benefits can affect the personalities of their recipients. Specifically, those living on the dole are at risk of developing an "employment-resistant personality profile," i.e. becoming low in conscientiousness and agreeableness. This is possible in part because personality traits are substantially less heritable than many other behavioral traits, e.g. IQ (a finding of which I'm suspicious, but Perkins amasses an impressive array of evidence in defense of the point, so I won't dwell on the issue). Under the spell of egalitarian delusions, leftist zealots have long maintained that it is only the evil activities of white male demons that relegate certain segments of human societies to unemployment, poverty, and misery. Thus leftist largesse -- which is forcibly extracted from the productive classes that are overwhelmingly composed of those same infernal whites -- couldn't possibly contribute to the problem . . . right? Well, as it turns out, and to the surprise of no reasonable person, the poor are generally stupid, shiftless, short-termist, and lacking in conscientiousness and agreeableness. In contrast to Perkins, I believe that the genetic factors underlying these behavioral characteristics of the poor are mostly to blame for their sorry life outcomes. It is in spite, and minorly because, of the overly generous assistance of white men that the poor remain in squalor; fantasies of white racism and exploitation destroying the lowly types in our midst have no basis in reality. Perkins makes it quite clear that welfare probably exacerbates the miserable lot of the destitute, however, and, contrary to hysterical leftist hacks like Jonathan Portes, who has relentlessly and ineptly criticized Perkins' book, government assistance may worsen matters for future generations insofar as it encourages procreation among those lowest on the social scale.
Perkins' argument is so consistently solid and empirically rigorous that any critique would amount to carping. There are simply too many studies supportive of his thesis, the vast majority of which Perkins had no involvement in, for leftists to reasonably dismiss the theory as the ravings of one right-wing devil. Unfortunately, reason does not restrict the behavior of leftists, and Perkins has been psychotically maligned despite the excellence of his scholarship. Western populations resist the truth at their peril. For their generosity to the poor and refusal to heed men like Perkins, their descendants will inherit a future of chaos and suffering.