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Neoliberalism, Poverty and Race

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Francisco Galarte

on 31 October 2016

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Transcript of Neoliberalism, Poverty and Race


Poverty and Race
Working class white and working-class racialized families are targeted by the state and media for perceived deviant sexual behavior, as well as punished by the state (i.e., being cut off social benefits like food stamps and/or welfare).
What does neoliberalism do?
Reduction of taxes (systematic reduction of taxes for the
Deregulate markets (stock market, real estate industry, environmental laws)
Privatize government functions (prisons)

How this relates to poverty:

People are willing to take lower paying jobs with fewer benefits out of fear that their job will be outsourced
Working and middle class increasingly come to rely on credit to support themselves and their families.
Neoliberalism leads to policies of austerity with respect to vital government programs in education, health care, and various other services.

Minorities are particularly hard hit by these economic policies, experiencing greater debt, greater joblessness, and little possibility of upward mobility.
Neoliberalism and Poverty
GWS 150 - Prof. Galarte

Culture of Poverty (Oscar Lewis) is the idea that people in poverty share a consistent and observable "culture."

Myths about poverty:
Poor people are unmotivated and have weak work ethics.
Poor parents are uninvolved in their children's learning, largely because they do not value education.
Poor people are linguistically deficient.
Poor people tend to abuse drugs and alcohol.

What are some problems with the implied assumptions in these conclusions?
Economic Philosophy:
Economy is a self-regulating entity that always balances out.
Government is inefficient and costly.
Private business is efficient and therefore the best way to solve our problems.
Wealth trickles down from the wealthiest to the middle class and the poor because businesses create jobs that then puts more money into the economy leading, in turn, to more jobs.
What is neoliberalism?

Neoliberalism and Marriage
The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) is an example of neoliberal social policy:

The bill eliminated entitlement to benefits, imposed timelimits, and made benefit receipt dependent upon attachment to the labor force.
Marriage promotion was a large part of the bill as well.
Mandatory paternity establishment and child support provisions

How Neoliberalism relates to Marriage, Families and the State

Welfare reform encourages independence through work participation, discourage single parenthood while encouraging marriage
Targets become: "Welfare Queens" and "Deadbeat Dads" (these are racialized/gendered terms)
Poor mothers are constructed as ‘bad’ mothers, policy designed to prevent ‘bad’ parents from having children and protect children from potentially bad parents,might include forced sterilization or child removal or family caps, and has at different points in our history
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