I have shown that even if joblessness is a crucial causal factor in the persistence of ghetto poverty, it does not follow that the new work regime is the most appropriate, or even a morally permissible, solution. There are important questions about what activities should count as work and about how much work should be expected, and some plausible answers to these questions suggest that a less demanding work scheme than generally favored would be morally preferable. There are also compelling reasons to doubt that the new work regime, in its current form, could be justified to the ghetto poor. At a minimum, there are policies (e.g., income subsidies, labor laws, and childcare subsidies and exemptions) that would have to be instituted or expanded before work mandates could be legitimately enforced. More controversially, I have argued that, in the absence of fundamental changes in the basic structure of U.S. society, work mandates are unjust, exploitative, insulting, and stigmatizing. Moreover, there are alternative social arrangements--such as an all-volunteer workforce and basic income support--worth serious consideration. Throughout, I have emphasized how considerations of social justice should inform government's and citizens' responses to joblessness in the ghetto. And I have urged that those of us who sincerely want to improve the life prospects of the ghetto poor should give greater weight to the moral reasons that they may have for choosing not to work.



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