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Wealth and Poverty in America: A Reader

Wealth and Poverty in America: A Reader

Dalton Conley (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-631-23179-0

Nov 2002, Wiley-Blackwell

312 pages

In Stock

$185.00

Description

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.
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 13
Adam Smith

2. Absolute and Relative Surplus Value 21
Karl Marx

3. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism 29
Max Weber

4. Some Principles of Stratification 43
Kingsley Davis and Wilbert Moore

5. Winner-Take-All Markets 53
Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook

Part II: Who's Rich, Who's Poor: How Resources Affect Life Chances 67

6. Inequality 69
Christopher Jencks

7. What Money Can't Buy: Family Income and Children's Life Chances 76
Susan Mayer

8. Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth and Social Policy in America 83
Dalton Conley

9. Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class 96
Mary Patillo-McCoy

10. Ain't No Making It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-Income Neighborhood 115
Jay MacLeod

Part III: Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous 127

11. From Democracy in America 129
Alexis de Tocqueville

12. The Miser and the Spendthrift 135
Georg Simmel

13. The Very Rich 140
C. Wright Mills

14. Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How they Got There 161
David Brooks

15. The Case of Pullman, Illinois 172
Michael Walzer

Part IV: Lifestyles of the Poor and Anonymous 179

16. Swapping 181
Carol Stack

17. The Code of the Streets 190
Elijah Anderson

18. Sidewalk Sleeping and Crack Bingeing 201
Mitchell Duneier

19. Whores, Slaves, and Stallions: Languages of Exploitation and Accommodation Among Prizefighters 211
Loic 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 225
Michael Katz

21. The Hidden Agenda 254
William Julius Wilson

22. The Stakeholder Society 267
Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott

23. Black Economic Progress in the Era of Mass Imprisonment 278
Bruce Western, Becky Pettit, Josh Guetzkow

Additional Readings 291

Index 293

"All too many collections of social science writings are almost literally slapped together, devoid of purpose and focus. This useful volume, however, is a striking exception. It is a 'reader' with a clear focus that consists of 23 well-chosen selctions and a helpful appendix that lists additional readings." Tom Pettigrew, University of California Santa Cruz, Journal of Ethinic and Migration Studies, Vol 32 No 7

"This book is a wonderful resource for teaching. Dalton Conley has accumulated a set of important readings on both spectrums of the social stratification ladder."

Martin Sanchez-Janowski, University of California at Berkeley


  • 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.