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Charles Murray

By | September 2013
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Charles Murray
The New Right came from the work of the American Sociologist Charles Murray who viewed welfare payments has causing lone parenthood which in turn created an underclass. Charles Murray visited the UK in 1989 and said it has a developing underclass. Murray said: “the underclass are defined by their behaviour. Their homes are littered and unkempt. The men in the family are unable to hold down a job. Drunkenness is common. The children grew up ill-schooled and ill-behaved and contribute to a disproportionate share of juvenile delinquents” Murray saw underclass as behaviour a lifestyle choice, a disease which infects certain groups of people.

'When I use the term 'underclass' I am indeed focusing on a certain type of poor person defined not by his condition, for example, long-term unemployment, but by his deplorable behaviour in response to that condition, for example, unwilling to take jobs that are available to him.' This shows how members of the underclass define themselves as different by their own behaviour. Murray singles out three forms of behaviour that define underclass status: * Parenting behaviour

* Criminal behaviour
* Labour market behaviour
Specifically, it is illegitimate births to young women, habitual crime and particularly violent crime, and the refusal of young working class men to enter employment that determines the existence of an underclass. 'If illegitimate births are the leading indicator of an underclass and violent crime a proxy measure of its development, the definitive proof that an underclass has arrived is that large numbers of young, healthy, low-income males choose not to take jobs. (The young idle rich are a separate problem).' (Murray, 1990) Since, in his analysis, it is the poor themselves that are to blame for their poverty, because they either choose to act in a certain way, or are conditioned to do so by over-generous government welfare, the policy solutions that flow from this analysis are, not...

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