In The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, Daniel Bell, the Harvard sociologist who was himself a child of Lower East Side poverty, described the values that make for a healthy society. Once the individual was released from “traditional ascriptive ties (family and birth) so that he could ‘make’ something of himself,” Bell said, it was crucial that he become capable of “self-control and deferred gratification, of purposeful behavior in the pursuit of well-defined goals. It’s the interrelationship of this economic system, cultural and character structure, which comprised bourgeois civilization.” We’re witnessing the erosion of faith in our economic system and a retreat from the character fundamentals that built our prosperity. The result, at its most base, is smash-and-grab.
Read the rest of Howard Husock's "Why Looters Like Rolexes" at City Journal.