Inequality by Design Cracking the Bell Curve Myth

ISBN-10: 0691028982
ISBN-13: 9780691028989
Edition: 1996
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Description: As debate rages over the widening and destructive gap between the rich and the rest of Americans, Claude Fischer and his colleagues present a comprehensive new treatment of inequality in America. They challenge arguments that expanding inequality is  More...

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Book details

List price: $52.50
Copyright year: 1996
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 7/28/1996
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 384
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

As debate rages over the widening and destructive gap between the rich and the rest of Americans, Claude Fischer and his colleagues present a comprehensive new treatment of inequality in America. They challenge arguments that expanding inequality is the natural, perhaps necessary, accompaniment of economic growth. They refute the claims of the incendiary bestsellerThe Bell Curve(1994) through a clear, rigorous re-analysis of the very data its authors, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, used to contend that inherited differences in intelligence explain inequality.Inequality by Designoffers a powerful alternative explanation, stressing that economic fortune depends more on social circumstances than on IQ, which is itself a product of society. More critical yet, patterns of inequality must be explained by looking beyond the attributes of individuals to the structure of society. Social policies set the "rules of the game" within which individual abilities and efforts matter. And recent policies have, on the whole, widened the gap between the rich and the rest of Americans since the 1970s. Not only does the wealth of individuals' parents shape their chances for a good life, so do national policies ranging from labor laws to investments in education to tax deductions. The authors explore the ways that America--the most economically unequal society in the industrialized world--unevenly distributes rewards through regulation of the market, taxes, and government spending. It attacks the myth that inequality fosters economic growth, that reducing economic inequality requires enormous welfare expenditures, and that there is little we can do to alter the extent of inequality. It also attacks the injurious myth of innate racial inequality, presenting powerful evidence that racial differences in achievement are the consequences, not the causes, of social inequality. By refusing to blame inequality on an unchangeable human nature and an inexorable market--an excuse that leads to resignation and passivity--Inequality by Designshows how we can advance policies that widen opportunity for all.

Claude Fischer is a French-born American sociologist. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and currently teaches sociology at the University of California, at Berkeley. Most of Fischer's work focuses on urban society. He has written extensively on structural changes in modern society and has researched social networks and the displacement of traditional territorially based communities by new communities of human association. Fischer is also interested in the impact of technology on social relations and social institutions; most recently, he has investigated the social history of the telephone.

Roman Catholic priest Andrew M. Greeley was the author of more than 100 non-fiction works of theology, sociology, prayer, and poetry; a professor of sociology; a newspaper columnist; and a successful novelist, writing in several genres, including mystery and science fiction. He was born on February 5, 1928 and was a native of Chicago. Greeley studied at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and earned an AB from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1950, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1952, and a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1954. He went on to receive a Master of Arts in 1961 and a Ph D in 1962. Greeley's fiction, which often told stories of crime and scandal in the Roman Catholic church, can be violent and lurid and are considered controversial by many Church leaders. Greeley wrote on such issues as homosexuality in the clergy, pedophilia, and papal politics, and he created the popular mystery series starring Father Blackie Ryan, as well as another featuring the character Nuala McGrail. Greeley was awarded honorary degrees from the University of Arizona, Bard College (New York State) and the National University of Ireland, Galway. In 1981, he received the F. Sadlier Dinger Award, which is presented each year by educational publisher William H. Sadlier, Inc. in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the ministry of religious education in America. Greeley died on May 29, 2013 at his Chicago home. He was 85.

Figures and Tables ix
Preface xi
Why Inequality?
Understanding ""Intelligence""
But Is It Intelligence?
Who Wins? Who Loses?
The Rewards of the Game: Systems of Inequality
HOW Unequal? America's Invisible Policy Choices
Enriching Intelligence: More Policy Choices
Confronting Inequality in America: The Power of Public Investment
Summary of The Bell Curve
Statistical Analysis for Chap

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