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The Working Poor: Invisible in America Paperback – January 4, 2005
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"As a culture, the United States is not quite sure about the causes of poverty, and is therefore uncertain about the solutions," he writes. Though he details many ways in which current assistance programs could be more effective and rational, he does not believe that government alone, nor any other single variable, can solve the problem. Instead, a combination of things are required, beginning with the political will needed to create a relief system "that recognizes both the society's obligation through government and business, and the individual's obligation through labor and family." He does propose some specific steps in the right direction such as altering the current wage structure, creating more vocational programs (in both the public and private sectors), developing a fairer way to distribute school funding, and implementing basic national health care.
Prepare to have any preconceived notions about those living in poverty in America challenged by this affecting book. --Shawn Carkonen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This book complements Barbara Ehrenreich's book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America Ehrenreich's is much easier to read and makes the same broader points. Where this book excels is in the details that in turn lead to policy solutions. I will go so far as to say that if John Kerry and John Edwards do not get hold of an executive summary of this book, and integrate its findings into their campaign as a means of mobilizing the working poor in the forthcoming election, then they will have failed to both excite and serve what the author, David Shipler, calls the "invisible."
Invisible indeed. How America treats its working poor--people working *very* hard and being kept in conditions that border on genocidal labor camps, is our greatest shame.
The most important point made in this book, a point made over and over in relation to a wide variety of "case studies", is that one cannot break out of poverty unless the **entire** system works flawlessly. To hard work one must add public transportation, safe public housing, adequate schooling and child care, effective parenting, effective job training, fundamental budgeting and arithmetic skills, and honest banks, credit card companies and tax preparation brokers, as well as sympathetic or at least observant employers. The author is coherent and compelling in making the point that a break or flaw in any one of these key links in the chain can break a family.Read more ›
Shipler uses Churchill's description of democracy as the worst form of government to explain why capitalism is the worst form of economic policy - except when compared to all others that have been tried from time to time. A wise analogy. Yet the final analysis and public policy recommendations are difficult to make or to decipher. Shipler acknowledges that the major cause of poverty can be attributed to a single source: bad personal choices. Of course, no one chooses to be poor (some journalists excepted), but people repeatedly make independent, self-serving or selfish, short-sighted, unfortunate choices, including walking away from the mother or father of their children, from their families, from educational opportunities, from their religious values, and from disciplined work habits. And they walk all too easily into a trap: teenage pregnancy, drug and domestic abuse, and endless hours in front of the television.Read more ›
The main problem that I have with this book is that I feel it left out a lot of people and a lot of problems that could have easily been addressed. For one, most of the people in the book are urban minorities, and that seems to be where most of the focus lies. There's not a lot of emphasis on the rural poor (with the notable exception of migrant farm workers) among whom circumstances are quite different and in many ways even harder than those of the urban poor. In addition, Shipler is constantly noting the lack of education among poor people but doesn't ever mention the fact that ever-rising and insane tuition costs prevent many perfectly capable *middle-class* people of getting to college in the first place, thus rendering them just as poor as the people who started out that way.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have this multiple times. It's a great read with humbling message.Published 26 days ago by Sarah Doss
All inspiring and touching account of how poverty effects everyday Americans. It creates a narrative that is easy to follow and loaded with cultural details that help frame such a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Isbel Vargas
I have read this book twice already. It features sad and tragic stories of Americans living in poverty and their struggle to survive on what income they have. Read morePublished 1 month ago by SAPPEL1
Although much is very interesting and poignant about this book, the same old dragon raises its head: the Working Poor are lumped together as an objective species for academics and... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Laura D
Five stars for this searing exploration of the causes and effects of poverty. David Shipler leaves no stone unturned in examining and explaining how various factors such as health,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nancy A
On page six it says," it is difficult to find someone whose poverty is not somehow related to his or her unwise behavior-to drop out of school, to have a baby out of wedlock,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I sent this book out to several people as gifts. It gives voice to those of us who weren't born with a silver spoon in our mouths.Published 5 months ago by Kindle Customer