The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor

Social Work & Society vol. 11, issue 1 (2013)

9 Pages Posted: 24 Dec 2013

See all articles by Michael B. Katz

Michael B. Katz

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of History (Deceased)

Date Written: December 15, 2013

Abstract

This article excavates the definition of poor people as biologically inferior. It not only documents its persistence over time but emphasizes three themes. First, the concept rises and falls in prominence in response to institutional and programmatic failure. It offers a convenient explanation for why the optimist of reformers proved illusory or why social problems remained refractory despite efforts to eliminate them. Second, its initial formulation and reformulation rely on bridging concepts that try to parse the distance between heredity and environment. Third, hereditarian ideas always have been supported by the best science of the day.

Keywords: poverty, undeserving poor, heredity, biology, social reform

JEL Classification: I30, I32, I39

Suggested Citation

Katz, Michael B., The Biological Inferiority of the Undeserving Poor (December 15, 2013). Social Work & Society vol. 11, issue 1 (2013), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2371274

Michael B. Katz (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts & Sciences, Department of History (Deceased)

United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
232
Abstract Views
1,261
rank
165,734
PlumX Metrics