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In the current political climate of the U.S., there are noeasily apparent solutions to the social problems we face.William M. Epstein claims that people in need have been poorly served and misled by the American system of social welfare. This is one of those rare works emanating from a social welfare expert that does not offer easy placebos or simplistic claims based on more money.

The Dilemma of American Social Welfare argues against the idea that there are inexpensive cures for serious societal sicknesses. Epstein takes on an immense literature in psychotherapy, social work, and welfare, all offering simple answers to complex problems. Two of the largest social experiments ever undertaken in the U.S. are evaluated in depth. The Negative Income Tax experiments of the 1960s and early 1970s tested the feasibility of an income guarantee; and the Evaluation of State Work/Welfare Initiatives employed a variety of programs to stimulate welfare recipients to find jobs. Epstein also analyzes social services associated with social work and examines approaches to juvenile delinquency and drug addiction.

Epstein is blunt in his denial that traditional welfare can readily resolve major social and economic questions of the times. His work, addressed to the malaise in thesocial welfare or helping professions, should serve asan early warning signal that easy solutions are hard for recipients to identify and harder still for donors to put forth. Although it was originally published in the early 1990s, the book remains relevant to political and social questions of the day, which makes it of interest to sociologists, political scientists, policymakers, researchers, and others interested in policy and urban studies.

The Final Volume of the Groundbreaking Trilogy on Agent-Based Modeling

In this pioneering synthesis, Joshua Epstein introduces a new theoretical entity: Agent_Zero. This software individual, or "agent," is endowed with distinct emotional/affective, cognitive/deliberative, and social modules. Grounded in contemporary neuroscience, these internal components interact to generate observed, often far-from-rational, individual behavior. When multiple agents of this new type move and interact spatially, they collectively generate an astonishing range of dynamics spanning the fields of social conflict, psychology, public health, law, network science, and economics.

Epstein weaves a computational tapestry with threads from Plato, Hume, Darwin, Pavlov, Smith, Tolstoy, Marx, James, and Dostoevsky, among others. This transformative synthesis of social philosophy, cognitive neuroscience, and agent-based modeling will fascinate scholars and students of every stripe. Epstein's computer programs are provided in the book or on its Princeton University Press website, along with movies of his "computational parables.?

Agent_Zero is a signal departure in what it includes (e.g., a new synthesis of neurally grounded internal modules), what it eschews (e.g., standard behavioral imitation), the phenomena it generates (from genocide to financial panic), and the modeling arsenal it offers the scientific community.

For generative social science, Agent_Zero presents a groundbreaking vision and the tools to realize it.

Many people in the United States are poor, lead marginal lives, and need jobs as well as basic services such as education, medical care, and housing. Multitudes in other parts of the world, in addition to being poor, are jailed, tortured, and killed for being members of the wrong ethnic group or expressing political opinions. Those who argue for empowerment claim it is a magic bullet. It can liberate the oppressed, largely through self-organization, self-motivation, self-invention, and even self-clarity. William M. Epstein sees contemporary empowerment practice in the United States as a civic church of national values, one better in performing its ceremonial role than god-based houses of worship. By itself, empowerment is not worth the effort of commentary, since it achieves none of its goals and has not even generated a respectable critical literature. But Epstein argues that empowerment practice and American social welfare both embody prescriptive cultural preferences. Like art and music, empowerment opens windows into deeper social meaning. The social sciences have carved out roles for themselves by looking for simple remedies, ones that are inexpensive and compatible with contemporary social arrangements. Epstein shows that those in social work practices have not only deluded themselves into thinking that these services have real instrumental value, but really operate at cross-purposes. This accessible work will attract critical attention among these professional groups. It bases its carefully-documented insights upon informed sociological and anthropological theory.
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