CRIME:HOW TO DEAL WITH AN ECONOMIC,POLITICAL AND CULTURALDISASTER"are to blame. Gibbs claim is facile, and he attempts to blame the poor for their poverty. Aside from being offensive, his arguments have no sociological basis and fly in the face of common sense and reason.
First: Unemployment is far from the only salient statistic. General GDP growth, the cost of living, real wages, benefits… all need to be understood. Milton Friedman once famously pointed out that unemployment declines as workers lose hope of getting better wages (Palast, 2002). It is wholly possible for the poor to be employed, but only at dead-end jobs with no real opportunity to leave, with no job security. It is also possible for the poor to be underemployed, since unemployment statistics dont take into account disgruntled full-time workers, part-time workers or temp workers (Wise, 2001).
When making sociological analysis, it is always relevant to ask who creates policy and why. Let us say that there is a difference, a quantifiable one, between the underclass and the rest of society. Why should that lead to lower results, lower pay? The problem is that Gibbs is presupposing the justice, the meritocracy, of society, without justifying this assumption. Why is a lack of marriage inherently bad? Because society deems it so. Society could reward drug use or it could punish it. it could accommodate single families or it could craft social policy to impede them. Gibbs would have to defend societies norms and institutions as just and appropriate. he doesnt.
Further, let us say that noticeable cultural differences can be meaningfully found. Where did those influences come from? Steinberg in Turning Back pointed out, as Wise summarizes, “[E]ven if one finds certain "cultural" patterns within a group, that is not the end of sociological inquiry, that is the beginning. The question then becomes, why and how did certain "cultural" traits become normalized?” (Wise, 2001. Steinberg,