This is an in-depth, statistical look at how America has changed over the past half century. Murray limits his study to White America so that race won't play a part in the changes he sees. (Near the end of the book, he shows what the statistics would be for the overall population -- not much different.)
In short, the new upper class is more isolated than ever before, having virtually no idea how a typical American lives. We have, however, seen little behavioral change in regards to honesty, industriousness, religiosity and trustfulness in this new upper class.
However, the new lower class has changed drastically, having become massively less industrious, less religious, less honest and less trustful. In 1960, it was a rare American who was not either working or looking for work. We now have a large segment of our society that is content living on the dole in one way or another. Three times more people are on disability. The number on unemployment went up significantly, even during good economic times. Fewer and fewer people go to church, volunteer time, give money to charity, or participate in social or civic organizations. They do not interact as much with neighbors or even with friends (except online).
One of his conclusions is that the upper class no longer preaches what it practices. They remain industrious and honest, but are willing to make excuses for the rest of society, accepting poor character and actions as being the results of unfortunate circumstances, and placing no responsibility or blame on the individual. The "American Project" is failing....Continua