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The Political Economy of Hope and Fear

The Political Economy of Hope and Fear: Capitalism and the Black Condition in America

Marcellus Andrews
Copyright Date: 1999
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Political Economy of Hope and Fear
    Book Description:

    Popular liberal writing on race has relied on appeals to the value of "diversity" and the fading memory of the Civil Rights movement to counter the aggressive conservative assault on liberal racial reform generally, and on black well-being, in particular. Yet appeals to fairness and justice, no matter how heartfelt, are bound to fail, Marcellus Andrews argues, since the economic foundations of the Civil Rights movement have been destroyed by the combined forces of globalization, technology, and tight government budgets. The Political Economy of Hope and Fear fills an important intellectual gap in writing on race by developing a hard-nosed economic analysis of the links between competitive capitalism, racial hostility, and persistent racial inequality in post-Civil Rights America. Andrews speaks to the anger and frustration that blacks feel in the face of the nation's abandonment of racial equality as a worthy objective by showing how the considerable difficulties that black Americans face are related to fundamental changes in the economic fortunes of the U.S. The Political Economy of Hope and Fear is an economist's plea for unsentimental thinking on matters of race to replace the mixture of liberal hand wringing and conservative mythmaking that currently passes for serious analysis about the nation's racial predicament.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-0528-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. iii-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
    (pp. 1-14)
  4. ONE The Color of Prosperity: A Few Facts about Black Economic Well-Being in America
    (pp. 15-56)

    Race in America is a complicated and embarrassing riddle. Americans rightly tell themselves that their allegiance to the values of fairness, hard work, responsibility, and individual liberty has created a generally free and rich society. Yet, economic well-being is linked to race in this country, so much so that we cannot really lump all Americans together when comparing them to citizens of other nations. It is certainly true that, on average, all Americans, no matter their color, are rich compared to most other people in the world. Though the American people can no longer boast that they enjoy the world’s...

  5. TWO Race and the Market
    (pp. 57-113)

    The deepening poverty and social distress among poorly educated and low-wage black populations that inspired Murray and D’Souza to write their tomes reflect larger economic forces that are reducing the living standards and life chances of all poorly educated people. The modern American problem of racial inequality in post-segregation America is that blacks are disproportionately trapped in the low-wage, low-skill sectors of the labor market at a time of fundamental economic and technological change, and, more importantly, in a nation that has largely abandoned attempts to promote economic equality. In addition, black middle-class men and women are trying to make...

  6. THREE Confusion and Woe: Race, Capitalism, and the Retreat from Social Justice in America
    (pp. 114-165)

    It may at first seem odd to tie race and macroeconomics together. Macroeconomics—the study of the evolution of employment, unemployment, prices, wages, interest rates, and wealth of national economies—is usually divorced from questions of race, in part because the subject is difficult enough without also having to consider the diverse fortunes of opposing racial and ethnic groups. Yet, the fortunes of black Americans have been strongly affected by the overall state of economic activity and the course of economic policy throughout American history, especially in the past thirty years. In chapter 1 we saw that black family poverty...

  7. FOUR The Political Economy of Hope and Fear
    (pp. 166-198)

    Must markets and merit stitch race and well-being together forever in America? No, but we must acknowledge (though not accept) the fact that the combination of free markets and meritocracy is likely to hurt low-income people, especially poor and working-class black people, for a long time to come. Our predicament, as a nation, and especially for blacks, can be stated simply enough:the twin commitments to individual liberty and private property that are the pillars of American capitalism are perfectly consistent with long-term racial inequality, so long as racial disparities occur without the support of government power and do not...

  8. NOTES
    (pp. 199-214)
    (pp. 215-220)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 221-223)
    (pp. 224-224)