Sociology Wins!

HA! This should warm our collective little sociologists’ hearts when some hotshot economist acknowledges that sociology it right (as opposed to, y’know…):

One more thought: The real winner in this controversy is the distinguished sociologist William Julius Wilson.

Back in 1996, the same year Ms. Himmelfarb was lamenting our moral collapse, Mr. Wilson published “When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor,” in which he argued that much of the social disruption among African-Americans popularly attributed to collapsing values was actually caused by a lack of blue-collar jobs in urban areas. If he was right, you would expect something similar to happen if another social group — say, working-class whites — experienced a comparable loss of economic opportunity. And so it has.

So we should reject the attempt to divert the national conversation away from soaring inequality toward the alleged moral failings of those Americans being left behind. Traditional values aren’t as crucial as social conservatives would have you believe — and, in any case, the social changes taking place in America’s working class are overwhelmingly the consequence of sharply rising inequality, not its cause.”

Of course, the sad thing is that none of this will matter because the modern day protestant ethic is by now well-entrenched and a comfortable ideological narrative that justifies using hectoring the poor in guise of social policy and only moralizing and punitive policies are allowed to make it to public discourse (cut off their unemployment checks, that’ll force them to get jobs!… global austerity for the masses!)

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