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11/13/2005

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jeff

It seems from the comments that people feel that education, not adjustment of the minimum wage is the way to get at the problem of poverty in the US. The minimum wage is just that, minimum. It is not designed to be a "living wage" which is far different.

The other key is education. From my personal experience, the poor in the United States generally attend public schools that are not as good as the schools attended by children in more monied areas. No surprise there. But the culture of family life among the poor in the US is also very self destructive. Education has no value, and there is no family to provide any sense of value. It is very clear that to me that the poor need to begin taking responsibility for themselves in this regard. The break up of their families, the violence and general disregard for any set of moral standards is decaying all of US society. The government cannot help with this problem. Bill Cosby has been castigated by the African-American community as being not in touch, and an Uncle Tom by telling them they have to take responsibility for the poor value systems they are instilling in their children. He is correct though. The government needs to rethink its approach to education so that the children in impoverished neighborhoods have a chance at a good one.
Read Becker's and Milton Friedman's comments about vouchers. It would be a good start.

parrhesiastes

How can you speak of "the culture of family life among the poor"? Do you really think that family life is so homogenous that it is safe to make such a generalization because I certainly don't. In my experience the culture of family life among the poor is no better than the culture of family life among the rich. I have known more rich kids that were prone to steal, do drugs, and generally fail to recognize the negative consequences of their selfish actions on others than I have ever met poor kids who do so. The real secret behind the "culture of family life" is that if you are born with more resources and opportunites than others than you are more likely to possess those same resources and opportunities later in life and pass them on to your own kids.

Erich Kleiber

Professor Becker,

I'm pretty sure there are thousands of people around the world, that have been unemployd for long, and have been struggling to make it. and I'm pretty sure that most of them do not express their disgrace by burning cars and causing riots... Do you think factors like, religion, education and perhaps family values / relations may be the important determinants to whether an individual will react with agression when in economic problems?

guerby

Professor Becker, let me recommend you those two articles written by two professors:

http://www.vaisse.net/BiblioJustin/Articles/BiblioJustin-Understanding_Urban_Riots_in_France-NER-Nov05.htm
http://www.vaisse.net/BiblioJustin/Tribunes/BiblioJustin-Marx_not_Bin_Laden9Nov05.pdf

Sincerely,

Laurent

sand bass

the issue here is that people have rioted becuase they view government (and their policies) as a source of their economic frustration.

Jonny

The 1992 L.A. riots were not prompted by the video of Rodney King being beaten, but instead by the "not guilty" verdict in the trial of the police officers in the incident.

Jeff

"By culture and family life" I mean exactly that. Is there a break down in the family among the poor in the United States? Of course there is. Not to pick on one segment of the population, but I think 80% of all black children are born out of wedlock. I would call that a break down of the family. Sure, others get divorced etc, but the morality in the poorer cultures is not at the same level as the richer segments of the population. For sure, the work ethic among the poor is not good. Because of the cycle of government give aways, they are looking for a hand out rather than a hand. Personal experiences aside, statistics are what they are. Until the poor in the United States begin to take resposibility for their own actions, no one can help them. Organized society has broken down, and the anarchy in New Orleans after the storm gave you a hint of that. It obviously is easy to pick on blacks, but I think that poor whites are in the same boat. They just are not featured as much in the mainstream media.

Ali

The best analysis but I think you didn't consider the education system inefficiency in france and its effect on labor market.

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