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Cohen cited in "Success Sequence" primer

The Atlantic provides an overview of the ongoing social values debate

For fighting poverty, social conservatives tout a regime that includes graduating high school, getting married, getting a job, and having children. Writing in The Atlantic, Brian Alexander reports that "the success sequence has a powerful allure for its adherents. But just as strongly, the idea repels: A number of critics - many of whom are academics and have sturdy research to back up their position - reject it, not because following it is a bad idea, but rather because it traces a path that people already likely to succeed usually walk, as opposed to describing a technique that will lift people over systemic hurdles they face in doing so. The success sequence, trustworthy as it may sound, conveniently frames structural inequalities as matters of individual choice."

Alexander cites Faculty Associate Philip Cohen as exemplary of critics who say that promoting marriage doesn't make more marriages. "Instead, [the critics] say, many sequence enthusiasts want to restigmatize out-of-wedlock births. By doing so, they aim to put the responsibility for poverty on the impoverished . . . thus justifying cuts in government support while ignoring the role of late-20th-century American-style capitalism in pushing families into financial insecurity."

See the complete article in The Atlantic

See Philip Cohen's "Conversation" piece on Cato Unbound