DeLong explores the dark side of Mankiw, the probability that this very bright man has confused the Market with the Good:
Brad DeLong's Semi-Daily Journal: Dysfunctional Behavior
.... In Michael Barone's view--and could it be in Greg Mankiw's too?--poverty in America is not something to be worried or concerned about because the poor deserve to be poor. The poverty of the poor is a just outcome. Poverty is, Michael Barone says, 'not... any structural failure of society.' Instead, poverty comes 'from dysfunctional behaviors.'...
but DeLong's blade then goes astray
...The point that it is a structural failure of society if (some) dysfunctional behaviors by parents trap their children in poverty seems to whiz by both Barone and Greg without penetrating.
Alas, my reply is swamped in a deluge of likewise misdirected comments (revised version below):
... Brad, you almost had it, but you slipped badly when you wrote "The point that it is a structural failure of society if (some) dysfunctional behaviors by parents trap their children in poverty seems to whiz by both Barone and Greg without penetrating."
Ahh. Would that all outcomes and all poverty could be cured by better parenting. Do you believe schizophrenia is due to bad parenting? Mental retardation? Austism? ODD? ADHD? Cerebral palsy?
Or, for that matter, a 10th percentile IQ? There is limited evidence that IQ can be influenced significantly after a child is born. (Test scores can be increased by practice and motivation/confidence however.)
Alas, "better parenting" is a false answer, and it has trapped you. The truth is that some children are dealt four aces, some a mixed hand, and some nothing at all. Look not for justice in this world.
So then what should a society do for The Weak, The Losers, those who finish last? Shall they fester beyond the gates?
It is the Problem of the Weak that divides the dwindling number of true Christians from evangelical Yahwhites, and that divides people like me from Republicans, Fundamentalists (Weakness and Suffering is a sign of God's displeasure) and Libertarians alike ...
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