One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All

Synopsis

Despite its enormous wealth, the United States leads the industrialized world in poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged unravels this disturbing paradox by offering a unique and radically different understanding of American poverty. It debunks many of our most common myths about the poor, while at the same time provides a powerful new framework for addressing this enormous social and economic problem. Mark Robert Rank vividly shows that the fundamental causes of poverty are to be found in our economic structure and political policy failures, rather than individual shortcomings or attitudes. He establishes for the first time that a significant percentage of Americans will experience poverty during their adult lifetimes, and firmly demonstrates that poverty is an issue of vital national concern. Ultimately, Rank provides us with a new paradigm for understanding poverty, and outlines an innovative set of strategies that will reduce American poverty. One Nation, Underprivileged represents a profound starting point for rekindling a national focus upon America's most vexing social and economic problem.

Excerpt

For quite some time, I have felt the need for a book that would address American poverty in a very different fashion from the way it has typically been approached. Although there have been countless books and articles written on the subject, something fundamental seemed to be missing from many of them. Much of this work simply reinforced the view that poverty could be understood through the inadequacies of the poor. Whether these shortcomings were a lack of motivation, low levels of education, insufficient skills, or single parenthood, they all pointed their fingers at the poor themselves. Yet this struck me as deeply amiss, for it seemed to capture only a small slice of the scope and meaning of poverty in this country. As a result, the arguments laid out in these pages are an attempt to introduce a new way of thinking about American poverty.

In the process, I have come to fully appreciate an old saying—“The more you know, the less you know.” As I researched and wrote this book, the meaning of this expression has become both painfully and delightfully apparent. The pain has resulted from realizing that . . .

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