and ethnic preferment can be as unjust as primary discrimination. The answer to the question probably rests with creating increased equality of opportunity by providing safeguards to ensure honest competition and by providing increased services to give children at an early age the competency necessary to compete in their adult lives.
Any country that relies on caste rather than on competency can expect declining productivity and lessened social mobility for all. Affirmative action will not compensate for the inadequate preparation given poor children to compete when they reach adulthood.
Other laws designed to protect minorities include guarantees against garnisheement of workers' wages by creditors in some states. Home- steading of a family home, car, and furniture of a person is another example of some state provisions to protect families from being pressed into extreme poverty by creditors. Many states have tenant protection laws which provide for eviction only after careful due process. In the interim, tenants in danger of losing housing have the opportunity to retain their housing or to seek other housing. Consumer protection law requires manufacturers and retailers to make good on their products, and in this way families are protected against these financial hazards. Recent laws requiring truth in lending also protect borrowers by clearly setting out the costs of loans and credit.
Another type of legislation in the protection category relates to protecting the individual's right to equally effective public education. This law can mean a great deal in preparing the individual to compete on an equal basis. (This legislative effort is presented in Chapter 8.)
All of the laws in the protective category safeguard individuals and families from hazards that would interfere with their equal opportunities and that might otherwise be beyond their control. As such, they are designed to protect individuals and families from a certain degree of poverty deriving from their less secure position in the society.
In 1980 the Department of Health, Education and Welfare was divided into a Department of Health and Human Services and a Department of Education. Presumably, the programs listed in this chapter (other than Basic Educational Opportunity Grants) will be delegated to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Axinn June and Herman Levin. Social Welfare--A History of the American Response to Need. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1975.
Durkheim Emile. Division of Labor in Society. Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press, 1933.
Friedlander Walter A., and Robert Z. Apte. Introduction to Social Welfare. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1975.