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The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality

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The welfare state has a problem: each generation living under its protection has lower work motivation than the previous one. In order to fix this problem we need to understand its causes, lest the welfare state ends up undermining its own economic and social foundations. In The Welfare Trait, award-winning personality researcher Dr Adam Perkins argues that welfare-induced The welfare state has a problem: each generation living under its protection has lower work motivation than the previous one. In order to fix this problem we need to understand its causes, lest the welfare state ends up undermining its own economic and social foundations. In The Welfare Trait, award-winning personality researcher Dr Adam Perkins argues that welfare-induced personality mis-development is a significant part of the problem. In support of his theory, Dr Perkins presents data showing that the welfare state can boost the number of children born into disadvantaged households, and that childhood disadvantage promotes the development of an employment-resistant personality profile, characterised by aggressive, antisocial and rule-breaking tendencies. The book concludes by recommending that policy should be altered to avoid the continuation of this trend. It suggests that, without this change, the welfare state will erode the nation's work ethic by increasing the proportion of individuals in the population who possess such a personality profile, due to exposure to the environmental influence of disadvantage in childhood.


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The welfare state has a problem: each generation living under its protection has lower work motivation than the previous one. In order to fix this problem we need to understand its causes, lest the welfare state ends up undermining its own economic and social foundations. In The Welfare Trait, award-winning personality researcher Dr Adam Perkins argues that welfare-induced The welfare state has a problem: each generation living under its protection has lower work motivation than the previous one. In order to fix this problem we need to understand its causes, lest the welfare state ends up undermining its own economic and social foundations. In The Welfare Trait, award-winning personality researcher Dr Adam Perkins argues that welfare-induced personality mis-development is a significant part of the problem. In support of his theory, Dr Perkins presents data showing that the welfare state can boost the number of children born into disadvantaged households, and that childhood disadvantage promotes the development of an employment-resistant personality profile, characterised by aggressive, antisocial and rule-breaking tendencies. The book concludes by recommending that policy should be altered to avoid the continuation of this trend. It suggests that, without this change, the welfare state will erode the nation's work ethic by increasing the proportion of individuals in the population who possess such a personality profile, due to exposure to the environmental influence of disadvantage in childhood.

45 review for The Welfare Trait: How State Benefits Affect Personality

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    A book reviewed for the Adam Smith Institute by Adam Sabisky, who was the second eugenicist to be appointed as an advisor to 10 Downing St in the post-war period (Dominic Cummings being the first). Regrettably for future historians of the rise of fascism in 21st century Britain, the Adam Smith Institute has deleted the review. Andrew Sabisky: Boris Johnson's ex-adviser in his own words.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bob Duke

    I was interested to read this book due to having read about the cancellation of the talk that the author was scheduled to deliver about it at the LSE. I have been somewhat alarmed about the rising tide of censorship in academia so I elected to read this book to find out what was so offensive. It basically argues that the welfare state has been responsible for propagating an anti-social mind set that is corrosive to many of the values that are essential to the function of modern society. He does I was interested to read this book due to having read about the cancellation of the talk that the author was scheduled to deliver about it at the LSE. I have been somewhat alarmed about the rising tide of censorship in academia so I elected to read this book to find out what was so offensive. It basically argues that the welfare state has been responsible for propagating an anti-social mind set that is corrosive to many of the values that are essential to the function of modern society. He does not argue for the abolition of the welfare state but for its reformation. People are not to be rewarded for raising dysfunctional children but instead more resources are to be put into early childhood education. Here he cites the work of the American economist and Nobel laureate James Heckman who argues that for every dollar placed in early childhood education the return is several multiples of that in terms of reduced policing, prison, health and other expenditures. The author backs up with data the anecdotal experience of my own life. I once lived in Farmers Crescent which has often been described as the worst street in New Zealand. However this was from 1965 to 1970 when people living on benefits were rare. My childhood there was a happy one and I had no sense of deprivation. Changes in this street are very much the same as what the author describes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Who

    Very simple idea, expounded endlessly by the author. What surprised me was the environmentality of Perkin's argument - far more nuanced than the typical dysgenic arguments about welfare. Perkins has many critics, by his research is sound

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sichu

    Interesting idea, but the evidence is rather scant. Sure, once you control for intelligence, conscientiousness is the important moderator. Sure personality traits are heritable(.3 as a lower bound), sure traits like low agreeableness and conscientiousness are related to criminality. These things are well known. R/K theory? Really. Density dependent selection isn't the most important thing. Mating is a hugely complicated process and to say automatically that when we put people on welfare, they ha Interesting idea, but the evidence is rather scant. Sure, once you control for intelligence, conscientiousness is the important moderator. Sure personality traits are heritable(.3 as a lower bound), sure traits like low agreeableness and conscientiousness are related to criminality. These things are well known. R/K theory? Really. Density dependent selection isn't the most important thing. Mating is a hugely complicated process and to say automatically that when we put people on welfare, they have more kids than they would have if they wasn't on welfare takes more evidence than what the book provides. Especially since he is talking about people with anti-social traits and lack "responsibility", they might have kids anyway even if they don't have the resources to support them. Of course, the arguments comes back full circle because the modern state does provide for kids that their parents can't support. So in that way he could be right. It's sort of saying that the kids of Ivy league professors are more likely to be high on conscientiousness and intelligence, we don't really need peer reviewed papers to tell us this. In a way this parallels the discussion about dysgenics. But we need not to even question his data, we can accept his data. Let's see say for some reason what he terms employment resistant personality people does end up having more children than people without this. Are we not sure we are not selecting for some other demographics trend? It is well known that education correlates negatively with the amount of offspring. Since what he terms the employment resistant personality is less likely to be educated and lacks degrees, maybe we just seeing this demographic shift in action. In a way that is completely independent of welfare. I just feel like the evidence he has gathered is too premature for a book. A intriguing thesis, but in dire need of more study.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven Hevey

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Lopes

  7. 5 out of 5

    The Hamilton Family

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angela

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nose

  10. 5 out of 5

    Vance Naughton

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ian Murray

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jayar La Fontaine

  13. 5 out of 5

    James Michael

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kat Feelzy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Willy

  16. 5 out of 5

    Inma

  17. 5 out of 5

    Belzecat

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jose Luis Ricon

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alexander

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emil O. W. Kirkegaard

  21. 5 out of 5

    Polly McKinlay

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alixe

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carlos González

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy

  25. 4 out of 5

    A

  26. 5 out of 5

    J. N.

  27. 5 out of 5

    heiheneikko

  28. 5 out of 5

    Edmund

  29. 4 out of 5

    Chris Jones

  30. 5 out of 5

    George

  31. 4 out of 5

    Somethingsnotright

  32. 5 out of 5

    Anil

  33. 4 out of 5

    Peter

  34. 4 out of 5

    Amar Baines

  35. 5 out of 5

    Alex Price

  36. 4 out of 5

    Alex Jackson

  37. 4 out of 5

    Austin Eng

  38. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

  39. 5 out of 5

    Dio Mavroyannis

  40. 5 out of 5

    Gary

  41. 5 out of 5

    Dominik

  42. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  43. 4 out of 5

    Lulwah Ayoub

  44. 5 out of 5

    Ayan

  45. 5 out of 5

    Uxküll

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