Traditional public policy toward the family, the authors of this book argue, has produced an array of fragmented mechanical programs in response to specific, perceived "dysfunctions" in family performance. Policy has been biased by a restrictive perception that families unlike the nuclear, two-parent household are either ailing or aberrant. In response to these observations, the authors portray the family as a natural, ongoing, and dynamically adaptive element of Western civilization. They suggest that legislators and policy analysts should view the household as a tangible social and economic asset and an appropriate technology with which a number of tasks (such as child care, education, health, disability and unemployment insurance, social security, and the welfare of the aged) now performed by more complex and costly formal institutions may be better accomplished.
Preface -- Introduction -- The Market and the Budget in Perspective -- Defining the Family for Post-Industrial Public Policy -- The Household School as Life-Span Learning Center -- Extended Familial Networks -- Familiar Groups as Molecules of Society -- The Family -- Discussant's Remarks -- Social Security in the Year 2000