Morals and income
Via Brad DeLong comes two posts with observations that add to the discussion on our observations of the economic conditions driven by human nature:
Paul Krugman points us to this notion:
Should-Read: Paul Krugman (2015): WHEN VALUES DISAPPEAR: “Back in the 60s and 70s… there was much talk about the disintegration of… African-American values… https://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/03/11/when-values-disappear/
…and how that was the root cause of America’s poverty…. The social dysfunction was clearly real. But was it cause or effect? William Julius Wilson, in When Work Disappears, famously argued that it was a symptom: good jobs in inner cities, where African-American men could take them, went away, and the cultural changes followed. So, how could you test that hypothesis? Well, here’s an experiment: change the structure of the economy in such a way that a large class of white men—say, white men without a college degree—similarly lose access to good jobs. If Wilson was right, we’d expect to see a sharp decline in stable marriages, a rise in unwed births, growing drug use, and other forms of social disruption. And that is, in fact, exactly what happened: William Julius Wilson was right.
Which makes it remarkable to see people look at that very evidence and say that it shows that the real problem isn’t money, it’s values…
This does not contradict what Mike points to in the post on self control, but does complicate the picture.
If the breakdown of the African American family values that Krugman is talking about began in the 1960s, then I suspect the problem is a different one than Krugman described. I believe in the 1960s there was a lot of opportunity for African Americans to get jobs in the cities. But I believe (I am not a historian, much less of that era) strong stable businesses in the Black community – Black Main Street, as it were – was already in decline.
I suspect if we are tying posts together, Steve’s post this morning goes farther toward explaining the issue than Krugman. But even Steve’s post doesn’t get there entirely – the 1960s was the period in which Welfare and Great Society spending began to rise, after all.
I suspect the breakdown the Black family that Moynihan was talking about is tied more to the decline of Black Main Street, which would be predictable from Steve’s post. And I suspect the breakdown of the White family that we have been observing more recently is tied to the decline of the (non-Black) Main Street. The disappearance of factory jobs makes the breakdown worse, but cutting off the heads of the pillars of the communities (while city jobs were still increasing) is where it started, as far as I can see.
I disagree, it does contradict him.
And the complication inherent in this discussion it what makes it possible for such racist drivel to be hidden as serious thought.
Basically people will control themselves when they are rewarded for it. When they realize that a nervous cop might gun them down like a dangerous criminal with no consequences, they have less reason to believe that it matters if they are a dangerous criminal or not.
Doesn’t it bother anybody reading AB that no poster’s or commenters are black from the middle and lower income groups? Or no Hispanics from same? Or if they are that they don’t identify themselves as such?
Is this because they aren’t part of the white dominated belief systems on AB and other sites?
Is it because they know or believe it’s a futile exercise to comment on racist drivel hidden behind white propaganda with their “well founded” opinions?
I don’t know the reason. But it bothers me.
My son who is in elementary school is learning martial arts. Right now, we have in Krav Maga although we are not Israeli. The instructor is French. We are not French. When I can, I work with my son and teach him what I know. I also pull up youtube videos to show him fights by people who know what they are doing. For the most part, the individuals in the videos we watch are Thai. We are not Thai. When it comes to his ground game, we focus on videos of three members of a specific Brazilian family. We are not Brazilian. There is also a Russian and a Croatian fighter whose fights we have watched together. We are neither Russian nor Croatian. There is also a certain Chinese fighter turned actor with whom my son is impressed. We are not Chinese. We have also watched a couple of few matches – boxers punch in a different way. The two boxers my son knows anything about, having watched videos of their fights with me, are both American, and we are also American. But those two boxers are also Black. It turns out we are not Black. Come to think of it, there is not a single fighter to whom I exposed my son who “resembles” him.
Are you suggesting I am failing my boy?
I note – if my son was interested in sprinting, it would be even “worse” by your standards. From what I can tell, its been decades since anyone who wasn’t Black got anywhere close to being a contender for the fastest man alive. My understanding is that its even narrower than that – the good 100 Meters sprinters tend to have ancestry from specific parts of Africa – not Eastern or Northern Africa, for example. And I personally do not hail from those parts of Africa. Does that mean I should not be able to appreciate Usain Bolt?
Ah… I just realized… my ideological crimes are worse than I thought…. it turns out that none of the fighters to whom I’ve exposed my son are from India, or Papua New Guinea, or Turkmenistan. And not one is blind, or crippled, and we haven’t watched videos of any of them in their old age. (We did watch Paige Vanzant kicking in slow-mo a few times, so there is that, but I admit I was partly motivated by the fact that my son is attracted to blondes since obviously Vanzant isn’t remotely in the league with the others.)