Thanks to Don B for pointing out that Bryan Caplan has a radical(ly good) column on the failure of the imagination of social scientists. Or, if you’re cynical: the blatant bamboozling of the public by policy-driven social scientists. Or, in either of the previous cases, that social scientists aren’t really scientists at all because it’s pretty much impossible to do science on any system that includes humans.
Here’s the key conclusion:
Few claims are more obvious than “Being poor is a reason to save money, work hard, and control your impulses.” The right lesson to draw, rather, is that social scientists need to search for factors that cause both poverty andirresponsible behavior. Such as? Low IQ, low conscientiousness, low patience, and plain irrationality.