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The author set himself a tall order to solve Max Weber's problem of founding socio-economic policies on evaluations of empirical facts where critical value-judgments would be based on valid normative standards and on an understanding of the ideas behind such values. The task becomes even more daunting since the specific value at hand is social justice. Does the book succeed in solving this problem? I think it does. It consists of two parts. Following his overall sociological method of deconstruction and reconstruction, Emanuel Smikun first derives standards of social justice from a hermeneutic interpretation of sociological classics grounded in their detailed preliminary exposition. The normative standards are articulated as two-way mutual consistency between structures of social status groups and of their socio-economic class interests. Using these standards the author then shows how levels of unfairness in status distribution and in exchange of occupational and management class interests can be empirically evaluated for American social conditions. This is achieved with the help of an innovative quantitative method of multinomial ordinal probit analysis. Of special interest are the author's thoughts about the growing role of non-profit organizations as institutions of civil society complementing and balancing the power of big corporations. It would not be an exaggeration to say that what we get is a fresh solution to some of the most vexing problems of the social science.
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