Wealth and Poverty

Introduction

People tend to be quite judgmental when it comes to wealth and poverty. On the one hand, the so-called Protestant work ethic—the idea that wealth comes to those who work—leads many people to blame the poor for their poverty. On the other hand, compassion for the poor (and perhaps envy of the wealthy) leads others to blame the wealthy for poverty, judging them too selfish and unfeeling to assist the poor.

Here is where the science of economics comes in handy. As a social scientist, an economist examines wealth and poverty from a more objective viewpoint than the noneconomist. In this section, we examine poverty and wealth from the economist's viewpoint. The goal is, first, to develop a clear picture of the extent of wealth and poverty and, second, to examine trends in the distribution of income in America. Finally, we will examine the government's current role in addressing poverty.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics © 2003 by Tom Gorman. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Teachers
Offer a genuine "thank you" to your child's teacher halfway through the school year. Give one of these extra-nice holiday gifts for teachers.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top Family Movies in Theaters for the Holidays
Taking the kids to the movies is a special family treat for the holidays! Don't miss 2014's best family films in theaters from Thanksgiving through Christmas.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!