The Corner

A Duty to Work

My latest column, out this morning, is on the working class, social norms, and duty.

It seems to me that that sense of duty has eroded, along with the cultural norms that support it. Again, this observation applies generally, across our society. But taking the specific case of the working class, its implications are important: Significantly strengthening the cultural norms that if you can work, you should be working, even if the only job you can find pays a mere 65 percent of what you made in your last job; that if you can work, you should be working, even if you have to move a few states away for a good job; that if you can work, you should be providing for your kids; that you have an obligation to contribute and to add your skills and talent and effort to the fabric of your community — a strong recovery of these basic cultural norms would go a long way toward helping the working class lead full and flourishing lives.

You can find the full column here. As always, your comments are welcome.

Michael R. Strain — Michael R. Strain is the director of economic-policy studies and the Arthur F. Burns Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute.  

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