David Brooks: Poor people don't understand "the anatomy of decision-making" like I do

"We should have explicit decision-making curriculums in all schools," especially those that service the poor

By Scott Eric Kaufman

Published May 3, 2016 1:01PM (EDT)

David Brooks   (PBS)
David Brooks (PBS)

In his Tuesday New York Times column, self-proclaimed decision-making expert David Brooks chided the poor for their lack of decision-making skills, but he didn't blame them for it.

"[W]e should have explicit decision-making curriculums in all schools," he wrote.

"This is probably especially important for schools that serve the less fortunate. The explosion of choice places extra burdens on the individual. Poorer Americans have fewer resources to master decision-making techniques, less social support to guide their decision-making and less of a safety net to catch them when they err."

Brooks also expressed concern for the effect that "the stress of scarcity" can have on the impoverished, writing that

Those who experienced stress as children often perceive threat more acutely and live more defensively. A school principal I met in Pittsburgh observed that living in an area of concentrated poverty can close down your perceived options, and comfortably “relieve you of the burden of choosing life.” It’s hard to maintain a feeling of agency when you see no chance of opportunity...

Read the rest at the New York Times...

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David Brooks Decision Making New York Times Poverty