Saturday, March 05, 2011

New book on "The Moral Underground" and the "community" idea of family responsibility: "does it take a village?"t

Once again, a review of a book on “family values” stimulates a moral debate, this time on the Left wing side, at Alternet.  The book is Lisa Dodson’s “The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy". 

The link for the rather rambling excerpt, concatenated to one webpage, is here

What’s striking from the piece, however, is how it suggests that family responsibility belongs to everyone, including the childless, merely by belonging to a community.  The excerpt specifically discusses that with the anecdote about childless “Cora”, who ran a franchise element, and “Linda”, who looked at children of workers as “fictive kin.”

I’ve ordered the book from Amazon, but I’ll also be returning this “issue”  with my planned e-book “Do Ask Do Tell III”; in various scenarios in “pseudo-retirement” in the past ten years, others have expected me to function as a grandparental “role model”, which I resented because the whole “dating game” and competitive cycle of my own upbringing was so humiliating.  

It looks as though it will be interesting to compare this book with Elinor Burkett's 2000 missive, "The Baby Boon" (see Book Reviews blog, March 28, 2006).  Fifteen years ago, the simplistic libertarian answer would have been, people should be ready before they "decide" to have children. But then we run into the "Natural Family" crowd. 

CNN Saturday afternoon mentioned another unfair practice, employers (companies) saying they will consider you only if you are already employed.  This, Ali Velshi’s crew says, is driving the poor toward entrepreneurialship and microfinance.  And Ali is saying that the actual unemployment rate is probably more like 16% than the BLS-reported 9% or so, because it is very difficult, even with the best intentions, to collect accurate information from lower-income people. 

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