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Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth by [Claude S. Fischer, Michael Hout, Martín Sánchez Jankowski, Samuel R. Lucas, Ann Swidler, Kim Voss]

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Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

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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 bestseller The Bell Curve (1994) through a clear, rigorous reanalysis of the very data its authors, Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, used to contend that inherited differences in intelligence explain inequality. Inequality by Design offers 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 Americathe most economically unequal society in the industrialized worldunevenly 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 marketan excuse that leads to resignation and passivity Inequality by Design shows how we can advance policies that widen opportunity for all.

--This text refers to the paperback edition.

From Library Journal

Following in the footsteps of the critical The Bell Curve Wars (LJ 4/15/94) and Measured Lies (LJ 6/1/96), Fischer and his fellow members of the Sociology Department at the University of California, Berkeley, have collaborated to produce a clear and persuasive counter argument to the conclusions of Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein in The Bell Curve (Free Pr., 1994) that racially related I.Q. scores are the determining factors for explaining the differing economic, social, and intellectual success levels of Americans. Fischer et al. first question the validity of Murray and Herrnstein's statistical results. Then "using history, geography, and economics, [they] show" that such inequalities are rooted in environmental background and circumstances, not the obverse, and that these are shaped by social policy and structure. The authors urge that Americans not scapegoat race but look critically at policy and at a design for society to narrow the gaps between the least and most encouraged in our country. Recommended for academic and lay readers.?Suzanne W. Wood, SUNY Coll. of Technology, Alfred
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08K3SYG81
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Princeton University Press; 1st edition (November 10, 2020)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ November 10, 2020
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 10731 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 332 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 14 ratings

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Claude S. Fischer is a Sociology Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He started at Berkeley in 1972 with an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Most of his early research focused on the social psychology of urban life--how and why rural and urban experiences differ--and on social networks, both topics coming together in "To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City" (1982). In recent years, he has worked on American social history, beginning with a study of the early telephone's place in social life, "America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940" (1992). Along the way, Fischer has worked on other topics, including writing a book on inequality with five Berkeley colleagues, "Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth"(1996). Fischer was also the founding editor of "Contexts," the American Sociological Association's magazine for the general reader, and its executive editor through 2004.

In 2006, Fischer co-authored a social historical book with Michael Hout, "Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years" (Russell Sage), which describes the shrinking of old divisions and the widening of new ones among Americans over the twentieth century. In 2010, he published "Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character" (University of Chicago Press), which analyzes social and cultural change since the colonial era. And in 2011, he published "Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970" (Russell Sage), a study, using compilations of survey data, of whether and how Americans' personal ties have changed in the last generation.

Among his awards and honors, Fischer was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

1972 Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University 1970

M.A., Sociology, Harvard University

1968 B.A., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

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