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Christopher Jenks suggests three different types of underclass: an economic, made up of people who are able to work but do not have steady employment, a educational underclass which include people lacking in social and educational skills and finally a moral underclass, which include people who have deviant behavior (Lister, 1996).Politicians use the concept of underclass in defining the poor to promote their political stance and legitimize policies.Individual’s income varies from year to year and existing British sources are based on snapshot pictures rather than on long-term statistics.
Murray argues that a large number of young healthy males choose not to be employed, citing that the majority of them come from the inner city slum areas, belong to the lower social class, and that they have lost the will to work.
The increase in illegitimate births is concentrated in the lowest social class and welfare benefits allowed young single women to have a child with no regard to the cost (Lister, 1996).
In conjunction with this we need to take into account the change in their real income and how much of their income rises or falls on average for the persistently low-income person.
The dynamics perspective focuses on the length of time a person remains in poverty, it is a model within which you move in and out due to various factors such as economic recession, ill health, and focuses on the consequences of different durations and the factors that cause the duration (Leisering, 1998).
Murray only looks at the disadvantaged in society who fall into the persistent poverty bracket claiming that underclass does not refer to the degree of poverty but to a type of poverty.
During the 1990’s the recession caused a cross-section of people to claim benefits, however the young, better educated and those without dependent children quickly returned to employment whilst the most disadvantaged stayed on long-term benefit (Leisering, 1998).
The foremost viewpoints are right wing approach, supported by people like Charles Murray, who categorize the underclass as deviant behavioral patterns of the individual acting out with the norm.
The opposing point of view is the left wing approach, by people like Frank Field, who say that the problem of the underclass is societies fault rather than the individuals.
He portrays them as living in dirty unkempt houses, unable to maintain employment and typified by drunkenness and criminality that corrupted those they came into contact with.
Murray states that the habitual criminal is the classic member of the underclass and lives off mainstream society without participating in it, the most frequent offenders being late teenage men (Lister, 1996).