Tanner Lectures are serious business. I was asked to choose a topic, and even outline briefly what I intended to say, about eighteen months in advance of the lectures themselves. “Welfare and Work” sounded just about right for lectures on “human values,” especially because I had had, over the years, a particular sort of association with an important body of research on the underlying issues, from a slightly unusual angle. It seemed highly unlikely, at that moment, that a major welfare reform act—I cannot bear to write down the fatuous title that Congress gave it—embodying a fairly strong work requirement would already be law by the scheduled date of the lectures.
Robert M. Solow