Thursday, September 22, 2011

Glazer on Social Policy

Writing in City Journal, Howard Husock examines Nathan Glazer's warning. An excerpt:

This emerges as a key Glazer theme: that social policy must be evaluated not just in terms of its own stated goals but also in terms of its effects on a society rich in family and community institutions that serve as a foundation for happiness and achievement. Any social policy, he writes in Limits, must be judged against “the simple reality that every piece of social policy substitutes for some traditional arrangement, whether good or bad, a new arrangement in which public authorities take over, at least in part, the role of the family, of the ethnic and neighborhood group, of voluntary associations.” In doing so, Glazer continues, “social policy weakens the position of these traditional agents and further encourages needy people to depend on the government for help rather than on the traditional structures. This is the basic force behind the ever growing demand for more social programs and their frequent failure to satisfy our hopes.”

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