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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics, 2nd Edition by Tom Gorman

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Chapter 10
To Have and Have Not
In This Chapter
• How economists define wealth and poverty
• Income patterns in the United States
• Public policy and income redistribution
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. ...

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