What does it mean to be poor in America at the dawn of the 21st century? For that matter, what does it mean to be rich? And how are the two related to each other? These apparently simple questions present enormous theoretical and empirical challenges to any student or social scientist.
Wealth and Poverty in America is a collection of over 20 important essays on the complex relationship between the rich and poor in the United States. The authors include classical and contemporary thinkers on a wide variety of topics such as economic systems, the lifestyles of the rich and poor, and public policy. An editorial introduction and suggestions for further reading make this a useful and valuable source of information and analysis on the realities of the American rich and American poor.
Collects 23 of the most important essays by classic and contemporary thinkers on wealth and poverty in America.
Covers economic systems, lifestyles of the rich and poor, and public policy.
Includes editorial introduction and a further reading list.
Dalton Conley is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director for the Center for Advanced Social Science Research at New York University. He is the author of Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America (1999) and Honky (2000).
Acknowledgments vii Introduction: Wealth and Poverty in the Affluent Society 1 Part I: On the Origins and Causes of Wealth and Poverty: Systemic Explanations 11 1. Of the Division of Labor 13Adam Smith 2. Absolute and Relative Surplus Value 21Karl Marx 3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 29Max Weber 4. Some Principles of Stratification 43Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore 5. Winner-Take-All Markets 53Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook Part II: Who's Rich, Who's Poor: How Resources Affect Life Chances 67 6. Inequality 69Christopher Jencks 7. What Money Can't Buy: Family Income and Children's Life Chances 76Susan Mayer 8. Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Policy in America 83Dalton Conley 9. Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class 96Mary Patillo-McCoy 10. Ain't No Making It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood 115Jay MacLeod Part III: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 127 11. From Democracy in America 129Alexis de Tocqueville 12. The Miser and the Spendthrift 135Georg Simmel 13. The Very Rich 140C. Wright Mills 14. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How they Got There 161David Brooks 15. The Case of Pullman, Illinois 172Michael Walzer Part IV: Lifestyles of the Poor and Anonymous 179 16. Swapping 181Carol Stack 17. The Code of the Streets 190Elijah Anderson 18. Sidewalk Sleeping and Crack Bingeing 201Mitchell Duneier 19. Whores, Slaves, and Stallions: Languages of Exploitation and Accommodation Among Prizefighters 211Loic Wacquant Part V: What is to Be Done? Wealth, Poverty, and Public Policy 223 20. In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America 225Michael Katz 21. The Hidden Agenda 254William Julius Wilson 22. The Stakeholder Society 267Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott 23. Black Economic Progress in the Era of Mass Imprisonment 278Bruce Western, Becky Pettit, Josh Guetzkow Additional Readings 291 Index 293