The Political Economy of Hope and Fear: Capitalism and the Black Condition in America / Edition 1

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Andrews' aim is to paint an intellectually defensible and decidedly anti-conservative picture of the complicated tie between race and economic wellbeing."


"Fiery, passionate, and provocative, but also unflinchingly rigorous in its argument. It is rare for an economist to write with such fire bolstered by such a commitment to logical reasoning."

-William A. Darity Jr.

"Deserves the close attention of both academic experts and the lay public alike. Marcellus Andrews's rare and wonderful achievement is to combine the compassion and intensity of the engaged social critic with the analytical detachment and discipline of the social scientist. His argument—for which the stake is nothing less than the soul of our nation&#8212will unsettle the reader, and that is exactly as it should be."

-Glenn C. Loury,Boston University

"Marcellus Andrews has written a fascinating and theoretically grounded account of the relationship between America's market economy and the prospects faced by African Americans."

-The Journal of Economic Issues

"Andrews does a superb job in offering solutions to familiar problems for African Americans. Complete with charts, graphs, facts and figures, the author provides readers with a vivid display of how the scales of equality, wealth and power are tipped against people of color."


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814706800
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcellus Andrews is a Lillie and Nathan Ackerman Professor of Equality and Justice in America, Baruch College—CUNY.

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Table of Contents

A Preface in Three Parts 1
Economics as a Razor 1
Conservative and Anti-conservative 6
A Note on the Vocabulary of Color 9
1 The Color of Prosperity: A Few Facts about Black Economic Well-Being in America 15
Color and Well-Being in America 15
"Merit," Economic Change, and the Racial Blame Game 32
Conservatives and the "Culture of Poverty" 46
Taking Society Seriously 51
Next Steps 54
2 Race and the Market 57
Capitalism and the Political Economy of Color 57
Discrimination in Market Society: Insights from Economists 61
Overcoming Racial Inequality: The Conservative Stance 83
Beyond Race: Capitalism, Individualism, and Family Meltdown 88
Social Capital and Black Self-Help 97
About Dynamics and the Color of Political Economy 102
App Discrimination and Human Capital in a Dynamic Becker Model 105
3 Confusion and Woe: Race, Capitalism, and the Retreat from Social Justice in America 114
Race and Macroeconomics 114
Productivity 115
Productivity Arithmetic 123
The Economics of Liberal Racial Reform 125
Budget Deficits and Racial Reform 132
Race, Welfare, and the "Modern Class Conflict" 140
Race and Markets Kill Social Decency: A Restatement 148
Conservatives and the American Dilemma 149
App The "Rule of 70" 163
4 The Political Economy of Hope and Fear 166
The Predicament 166
Black and Blue and Very Scared 169
On Race, Poverty, and Prisons 175
The Choice 185
The Next Black Rebellion 196
Notes 199
Works Cited 215
Index 221
About the Author 224
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