Individual sociologists have been effective in solving organizational problems. They have been spectacularly unsuccessful in solving persistent social problems such as poverty. These ultimate troubles may never be solved but they must always be worked with. Sociological ideas cannot be the only knowledge system used in working with social difficulties. No reductionistic system has ever been successful. Creating the conditions which will even improve any deleterious social behavior requires a wider perspective and more resources than the sociologist, as sociologist, can muster. Practicing sociologists can make their greatest contribution to ameliorating major social malfunctions by putting increased emphasis on their traditional role as debunkers. That is, by showing when policies or programs are based on false perceptions or poor data.

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