I have a new piece in GOOD (one that didn’t get rejected for being critical of their sponsor!). And now I’m starting to get emails asking, “so, what is to be done?” I get this question a lot, particularly in classrooms. In a recent interview on inequality by Channel Arte, I’m pretty sure I pissed off the interviewer by basically saying, “I have no idea.” I often find the last chapters of books — the ones that are proscriptive — to be the worst. In my own work I’m very hesitant to talk about “should” statements. But for most non-academics, this can be really annoying — we’re all about criticism and have nothing to say about solution. One of my colleagues has a stock answer to all of this: “This is the kind of question you should ask policy people; those who are trained to think through these things.” I don’t find this to be satisfying. But I do think the impulse to think about the necessity of policy training for “should” claims to be an interesting one. To a degree I think some of the problem has to do with the logic of scientific inquiry. One wherein we seek to reject rather that affirm propositions. But I’m curious how others handle these questions. How do you answer the, “what should we do?” question? I often talk about what has be shown not to be effective, but I really hedge on positively affirming a particular position. In my next piece for GOOD I’m going to go out on a limb and see how that goes. But I’m curious if others have felt more confident with should statements, and if so, how/why.