Democracy Without Decency: Good Citizenship and the War on Poverty

Paperback | January 19, 2011

byWilliam M. Epstein

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The conservative attacks on the welfare system in the United States over the past several decades have put liberal defenders of poverty relief and social insurance programs on the defensive. In this no-holds-barred look at the reality of American social policy since World War II, William Epstein argues that this defense is not worth mounting—that the claimed successes of American social programs are not sustained by evidence. Rather than their failure being the result of inadequate implementation or political resistance stemming from the culture wars, these programs and their built-in limitations actually do represent what the vast majority of people in this country want them to be.

However much people may speak in favor of welfare, the proof of what they really want is in the pudding of the social policies that are actually legislated. The stinginess of America’s welfare system is the product of basic American values rooted in the myth of “heroic individualism” and reinforced by a commitment to social efficiency, the idea that social services need to be minimal and compatible with current social arrangements.

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The conservative attacks on the welfare system in the United States over the past several decades have put liberal defenders of poverty relief and social insurance programs on the defensive. In this no-holds-barred look at the reality of American social policy since World War II, William Epstein argues that this defense is not worth mo...

William M. Epstein is Professor of Social Work at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His previous books include Psychotherapy as Religion: The Civil Divine In America (2006) and Welfare in America: How Social Science Fails the Poor (1997).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.64 inPublished:January 19, 2011Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271036346

ISBN - 13:9780271036342

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments

Preface

Introduction: The Good Citizen and American Social Welfare

1. The Programmatic Precursors to the War on Poverty

2. The War on Poverty: Programs of the Office of Economic Opportunity

3. Other War on Poverty Programs

4. The Social Insurances and Welfare

5. Charity and Community Organization

Conclusion: The Iron Sculpture

Tables

References

Index

Editorial Reviews

“This is a compelling work. Epstein is a wordsmith. The writing is concise and prickly. The reader will remember his words and thoughts. . . . It is one of the great social welfare muckraking books of all time.”

—Harris Chaiklin, Research on Social Work Practice