Friday, December 29, 2006

Individual Values Versus the System

This Washington Post article is an interesting description of now-retired black men who bowl. (It's part of their continuing series on black men.) They're part of a generation that moved North and found good government jobs (post office/Metro), raised families, moved to the suburbs, put kids through college. Several of the generation (mostly but not entirely female) worked with me at one time or another. One of the things they debate is whether the younger generation has gone to hell, whether the kids blame the system when they should blame themselves (think Bill Cosby).

Over at Greg Mankiw's blog there's a big discussion, sparked by Tyler Cowen's NYTimes column from yesterday, on whether poverty is the fault of the individual or the system. The discussion seems to split two ways--one side says the poor are unwise and don't save, the other says it's the system.

What's interesting is both groups tend to take extreme positions. It's one or the other, but not both.

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