By James Q. Wilson
James Q. Wilson is one among America's preeminent public coverage students. for many years, he has analyzed the altering political and cultural panorama with readability and honesty, bringing his knowledge to endure on all features of yankee govt and society. this can be a selection of fifteen of Wilson's so much insightful essays-drawing on thirty years of his observations on faith, crime, the media, terrorism and extremism, and the old fashioned thought of "character." Readers of each political persuasion will come clear of this quantity with a brand new figuring out of ways American politics and tradition have developed over the past half-century. those essays usually are not "the grumpy phrases of a conservative who cannot be reconciled to the realities of latest American life," Wilson writes. quite, they're instantly speak from a painstaking empiricist and consummate social scientist who believes in American exceptionalism. American Politics, Then & now could be a compelling portrait of a loved country.
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The Phillips curve, formulated in the late 1950s, purported to show that for about a century there was a trade-off between inflation and unemployment: when unemployment was high, wages or prices were falling; when unemployment was low, prices were rising. There was no evidence that one thing caused the other and, as several economists were later to show, good reason to believe that one did not cause the other except in the very short run. Moreover, even the apparent correlation between unemployment and inflation was adduced from a period, much of it in the nineteenth century, when long-term declines in prices and wages were still possible.
There is a good deal of evidence that heroin consumption, and thus heroin addiction, increases as the price of heroin, or the difficulty of finding it, decreases. Thus decriminalizing heroin in an effort to reduce crime among confirmed addicts will have the effect of increasing the number of addicts, probably by a very large number. The number of known addicts in England increased dramatically when heroin was easily available; what is known today as the English system was the result of an effort to reduce the drug’s availability by placing it under tighter government control.
The investigations strongly suggested that most rehabilitative efforts failed, that the better the evaluation of the effort the less likely the effort would prove a success, and that the attempt to make rehabilitation the goal often resulted in unfair or inequitable penalties being imposed on offenders. When Robert Martinson published in 1974 his summary of over two hundred such studies, a fresh attempt was made to assess the literature. A panel of the National Academy of Sciences reexamined a sample of the studies and found that Martinson’s discouraging conclusion was essentially correct, though the panel left open the possibility that some desirable rehabilitative effects might emerge from some properly designed projects.
American politics, then and now and other essays by James Q. Wilson