Generational Poverty

An Economic Look at the Culture of the Poor

by Adam D. Vass Gal (Belmont University)

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"Provocative and enlightening, this book forces you to reexamine what you think you know, and to question the common narrative."
Susan Woodhouse, Novelist

"Adam Vass Gal shows how liberty can address the heartbreaking problem of intergenerational poverty. An engrossing read."
Jeff Deist, President of the Mises Institute

"An invaluable glimpse into the tragedy of the underclass. Vass Gal, an economist, ably describes a problem whose causes and solutions transcend economics."
Tom Woods, Author and Host of the Tom Woods Show

Are the impoverished victims of circumstance or are they contributing to their situations through their own actions and principles? This perplexing question does not have a simple answer. "Generational Poverty: An Economic Look at the Culture of the Poor" examines both sides of the coin. Written by an economist, the book provides a unique perspective into the study of this emotionally-charged issue. It shows that economic analysis can shed light on some of the roots of persistent poverty and may point to its potential solution.

Generational Poverty covers the author’s eye-opening experiences with a young man named Jermaine and his family, initiated through the Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program. As someone who cares for Jermaine and his family, it was nothing short of a surprise to see first-hand some of the obstacles Jermaine’s family are creating for themselves, while at the same time battling many of today’s social constructs. In the course of the program, the author learned a great deal about Jermaine’s life, culture, and the obstacles he faces. This work identifies impediments that Jermaine has experienced as well as common challenges faced in his community.

In the words of the author: “Most of my research for this book is devoted to pinpointing these cultural issues and gathering varying opinions for each one. While I do detail each unique perspective, my goal is to align each argument to an economic fundamental. This creates a more consistent diagnosis that does not depend on a personal set of values. My hope is that future economists will continue to study this suffering portion of our population to determine the most effective way to remedy the continuingly increasing problem of poverty.”

Part 1: Program and Family Introductions
Chapter 1: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee
Chapter 2: Meeting My Little
Chapter 3: Interview Day
Chapter 4: Jermaine
Chapter 5: Na’Licia
Chapter 6: Tremaine
Chapter 7: Aaron
Chapter 8: Chastity

Part 2: Defining a Culture
Chapter 9: Speaking the Same Language
Chapter 10: Soul Food
Chapter 11: The Culture of Politics
Chapter 12: Dress and Success

Part 3: Generational Mistakes
Chapter 13: Social Mobility and Economic Success
Chapter 14: Childhood Development
Chapter 15: Nashville Gang Life
Chapter 16: The Curse of Uncle Tom
Chapter 17: What’s In a Name?
Chapter 18: Program Results and Impressions

Appendix: Poverty Around the World

Adam Vass Gal has worked in financial services for 12 years, 10 of which he has served as an Investment Officer with the Oakley Group. This investment group has been named a Barron’s top 1,000 advisor for the last 5 years as well as the top advisor in Nashville during that time. He has also taught macro and microeconomics at Belmont University since 2003. Adam holds a BBA in economics and MS in finance, both from Mississippi State University.

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Generational Poverty

Book Subtitle

An Economic Look at the Culture of the Poor





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date
November 2014