Re: Anthros as policy wonks

mike shupp (ms44278@HUEY.CSUN.EDU)
Sat, 11 May 1996 10:59:29 -0700

On Fri, 10 May 1996, John McCreery wrote: to suggest that anthropologists
might want to involve themselves in contemporary welfare/social policy.

For the sake of the argument, assume the entire anthropology departments
of CSUN, USC, UCLA, CSLA, etc. took over running the Los Angeles County
welfare system. Would it appear much different?
No. Welfare workers don't make policy-- the federal government
and the governor and the county Board of Supervisors make policy, and the
workers-- even the top brass-- just follow their orders.
Nor wouldthings be much different if anthropologists ran HEW,
HUD, and sixteen other cabinet offices. Ultimately, policy is set by
elected officials-- chiefly Congressmen and governors.
And these days, I should add, by Congressmen and governors who
despise social scientists who disagree with them.

Anthropologists who want to affect social policy should look
towards Walt Rostow, Henry Kissinger, Robert Reich, Zbiginew Brzinski,
and the like for examples-- find a man who wants to be President, attach
your star to his, and wait and pray.
Or run for office themselves.

Mike Shupp
California State University, Northridge