Perspectives on the Problem of Poverty

  • Jerome D. Ulman
Part of the Applied Clinical Psychology book series (NSSB)


In today’s world, on a massive scale, we witness poverty of appalling magnitude. We associate absolute poverty with underdeveloped regions of the world stricken with disasters such as war, droughts, crop failures, pestilence, and starvation. Televised scenes of horribly emaciated bodies of young children in impoverished countries are only too vivid. And what television brings us from afar, we can see easily at home in a so-called first-world country. As we walk through the streets of our major cities in the United States, we cannot avoid the distressing sights of homeless people, often within view of conditions of wealth and luxury. We write checks to charitable organizations to aid the poor or vote for politicians who promise to support a government initiative to help alleviate poverty. However, seeing no apparent effects of our efforts or contributions, sooner or later we may find ourselves become increasingly frustrated and discouraged. Still the question remains: what to do about the problem of poverty?


Public Assistance Child Poverty Welfare Reform Welfare Program Behavior Analyst 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amott, T. (1993, November/December). The war on welfare: Clinton’s carrots and sticks. Dollars and Sense, pp. 12-15, 32-34.Google Scholar
  2. Bigland, A., Glasgow, R. E., & Singer, G. (1990). The need for a science of larger social units: A contextual approach. Behavior Therapy, 21, 195–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burton, C. E. (1992). The poverty debate: Politics and the poor in America. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  4. Dugger, W. M. (1989). A research agenda for institutional economics. In W. M. Dugger (Ed.), Radical institutionalism: Contemporary voices (pp. 105–123). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  5. Eitzen, D. S., & Zinn, M. B. (1994). Social problems (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  6. Erank, M. (1993). Cuba looks at the year 2000. New York: International Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Gans, H. J. (1971). The uses of power: The poor pay all. Social Policy, 2, 20–24.Google Scholar
  8. Glenn, S. S. (1985). Some reciprocal roles between behavior analysis and institutional economics in post-Darwinian science. The Behavior Analyst, 8, 15–27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Glenn, S. S. (1986). Metacontingencies in Walden Two. Behavior Analysis and Social Action, 5, 2–8.Google Scholar
  10. Glenn, S. S. (1988). Contingencies and metacontingencies: Toward a synthesis of behavior analysis and cultural materialism. The Behavior Analyst, 11, 161–179.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Goodno, J. B. (1992, March) Fields of misfortune: Colonialism in the heartland. Dollars and Sense, 174, pp. 6–9.Google Scholar
  12. Harrington, M. (1960). The other America: Poverty in the United States. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  13. Harris, M. (1979). Cultural materialism: The struggle for a science of culture. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  14. Harris, M. (1981). America now: The anthropology of a changing culture. New York: Simon & Schuster. [Subsequently titled Why things don’t work.]Google Scholar
  15. Harris, M. (1988, June). Why the underclass can’t type. Psychology Today, pp. 81, 87-88.Google Scholar
  16. Herrnstein, R. J. (1973). IQ and the meritocracy. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  17. Jencks, C. (1991). Is the American underclass growing. In C. Jencks & P. E. Peterson (Eds.), The urban underclass (pp. 28–100). Washington, DC: Brookings Institute.Google Scholar
  18. Jensen, L., Eggebeen, D. J., & Lichter, D. T. (1993). Child poverty and the ameliorative effects of public assistance. Social Science Quarterly, 74, 542–559.Google Scholar
  19. Klein, P. A. (1994). A reassessment of institutionalist-mainstream relations. Journal of Economic Issues, 28, 197–207.Google Scholar
  20. Kozol, J. (1988). Rachel and her children: Homeless families in America. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  21. Lamal, P. A. (1991). Behavioral analysis of societies and cultural practices. New York: Hemisphere.Google Scholar
  22. Levitan, S. A. (1990). Programs in aid of the poor (6th ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lloyd, K. E. (1985). Behavioral anthropology: A review of Marvin Harris’ Cultural materialism. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 279–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Malagodi, E. F., & Jackson, K. (1989). Behavior analysis and cultural analysis: Troubles and issues. The Behavior Analyst, 12, 17–33.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Malott, R. W. (1988). Rule-governed behavior and behavioral anthropology. The Behavior Analyst, 11, 181–203.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Marmor, T. R., Mashaw, J. L., & Harvey, P. L. (1990). America’s misunderstood welfare state: Persistent myths, enduring realities. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  27. Murray, C. (1984). Losing ground: American social policy, 1950–1980. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Neale, W. C. (1987). Institutions. Journal of Economic Issues, 21, 1177–1206.Google Scholar
  29. Northrop, E. M. (1991). Public assistance and antipoverty programs or why haven’t means-tested programs been more successful at reducing poverty. Journal of Economic Issues, 25, 1017–1027.Google Scholar
  30. Opulente, M., & Mattaini, M. A. (1993). Toward welfare that works. Behavior and Social Issues, 3, 17–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Plotkin, S., & Scheuerman, W. E. (1994). Private interest, public spending: Balanced-budget conservativism and the fiscal crisis. Boston, MA: South End Press.Google Scholar
  32. Rogers, J. R., & Rogers, J. L. (1993). Chronic poverty in the United States. The Journal of Human Resources, 28, 25–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Samuelson, P. A., & Nordhaus, W. D. (1985). Economics (12th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  34. Sidman, M. (1989). Coercion and its fallout. Boston, MA: Authors Cooperative.Google Scholar
  35. Skinner, B. E. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  36. Skinner, B. F. (1981). Selection by consequences. Science, 213, 501–504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Skinner, B. F. (1992). Verbal behavior. Acton, MA: Copley. [Original work published 1957].Google Scholar
  38. Ulman, J. D. (1978). A radical behavioral view of school violence. In R. A. Brosio & L. F. Birkel (Eds.), Conference on school violence: Proceedings 1978 (pp. 59–73). Muncie, IN: Teachers College Publication.Google Scholar
  39. Ulman, J. D. (1989). Beyond the carrot and the stick: A behaviorological rejoinder to Rakos. Behavior Analysis and Social Action, 7, 2–6.Google Scholar
  40. Ulman, J. D. (1991). Toward a synthesis of Marx and Skinner. Behavior and Social Issues, 1, 57–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ulman, J. D. (1995). Marxist theory and behavior therapy. In W. O’Donohue & L. Krasner (Eds.), Theories in behavior therapy (pp. 529–552). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Vargas, E. A. (1975). Rights: A behavioristic analysis. Behaviorism, 3, 178–190.Google Scholar
  43. Vargas, E. A. (1985). Cultural contingencies: A review of Marvin Harris’ Cannibals and kings. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 43, 419–428.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Vargas, E. A. (1988). Verbally-governed and event-governed behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 6, 11–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. VerMeulen, M. (1994, June 26). What people earn. Parade Magazine, pp. 4-5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome D. Ulman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Special EducationBall State UniversityMuncieUSA

Personalised recommendations