The ideologies of equal opportunity and individual responsibility that dominate American culture tend to obscure the casual connections between poverty and wealth. Uncovering these connections is one of the purposes of this book. Wealth and Poverty in America is an accessible collection of over 20 important essays on the complex relationship between the rich and poor in the United States. It first presents classic and contemporary selections that form theories of where wealth comes from and why wealth tends to concentrate in the hands of the few. This set of readings deals with wealth at a more systematic, rather than individual, level. Next, the book deals with the question of why certain individuals - based on position in the economy, or accident of birth - can expect to have greater or lesser chances of being rich (or poor), and how inequality gets reproduced. It goes on to offer a series of the most important classic and contemporary readings that focus on the life of the upper class and the daily experience of being poor in America. The final section opens up the question of what is possible in terms of the distribution of material rewards in America.
An editorial introduction and suggestions for further reading make this a valuable source of information and analysis on the realities of wealth and poverty in America.
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).
IAcknowledgments. ntroduction: Wealth and Poverty in the Affluent Society.Part I: On the Origins and Causes of Wealth and Poverty: Systemic Explanations:1. Of the Division of Labor: Adam Smith.2. Absolute and Relative Surplus Value: Karl Marx.3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism: Max Weber.4. Some Principles of Stratification: Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore.5. Winner-Take-All Markets: Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook.Part II: Who's Rich, Who's Poor: How Resources Affect Life Chances:6. Inequality: Christopher Jencks.7. What Money Can't Buy: Family Income and Children's Life Chances: Susan Mayer.8. Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Policy in America: Dalton Conley.9. Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class: Mary Patillo-McCoy.10. Ain't No Making It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood: Jay MacLeod.Part III: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous:11. From ocracy in America Alexis de Tocqueville.12. The Miser and the Spendthrift: Georg Simmel.13. The Very Rich: C. Wright Mills.14. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How they Got There: David Brooks.15. The Case of Pullman, Illinois: Michael Walzer.Part IV: Lifestyles of the Poor and Anonymous:16. Swapping: Carol Stack.17. The Code of the Streets: Elijah Anderson.18. Sidewalk Sleeping and Crack Bingeing: Mitchell Duneier.19. Whores, Slaves, and Stallions: Languages of Exploitation and Accommodation Among Prizefighters: Loic Wacquant.Part V: What is to Be Done? Wealth, Poverty, and Public Policy:20. In the Shadow of the Poorhouse: A Social History of Welfare in America: Michael Katz.21. The Hidden Agenda: William Julius Wilson.22. The Stakeholder Society: Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott.23. Black Economic Progress in the Era of Mass Imprisonment: Bruce Western, Becky Pettit, Josh Guetzkow.Additional Readings. Index.