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Race and Economics: How Much Can Be Blamed on Discrimination? (Hoover Institution Press Publication) [Kindle Edition]

Walter E. Williams
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Walter E. Williams applies an economic analysis to the problems black Americans have faced in the past and still face in the present to show that that free-market resource allocation, as opposed to political allocation, is in the best interests of minorities. He debunks many common labor market myths and reveals how excessive government regulation and the minimum-wage law have imposed incalculable harm on the most disadvantaged members of our society.

Editorial Reviews


"Restrictive laws are just as harmful to blacks, whether they were written with the explicit intent, as in the past, to eliminate black competition or, as they are written today, with benign goals such as protecting public health, safety, and welfare and preventing worker exploitation."--Chapter Two. Pg. 25

From the Inside Flap

The black experience in America naturally gives rise to thinking of today’s black experience in terms of racism and oppression. But the most difficult problems black Americans face, particularly those who are poor, cannot adequately be explained by current racial discrimination. In Race and Economics, Walter Williams argues that many problems are a result of policies, regulations, and restrictions emanat­ing from federal, state, and local govern­ments. It is not free markets and the profit motive that have reduced opportunities, the author asserts; instead, it is the power of vested interest groups, as a means to greater wealth, to use the coercive powers of government to stifle market competition.

Williams debunks many common labor market myths and reveals how the minimum- wage law has imposed incalculable harm on the most disadvantaged members of our society. He explains that the real problem is people are not so much underpaid as underskilled and that the real task is to help unskilled people become skilled. The author also reveals how licensing and regulation reduce economic opportunities for people, especially those who might be described as discriminated against and having little political clout. Using the example of the trucking industry before and after deregulation, he illustrates how government regulation closes entry and reinforces economic handicaps, whereas deregulation not only has helped minorities enter an industry in greater numbers, but also has benefited consumers.

People will not engage in activities, including racial discrimination, says Williams, if the cost is too high. In markets, because transactions are mostly an individual affair, it is unnecessary to win the approval or permission of others; the costs and benefits are a private matter. But in the political arena, each citizen has only one vote, meaning that, unlike the free market, a minority cannot register the intensity of his preference. Further, increased concentration of political power at the national level handicaps minorities in the sense that their votes become diluted. The author ultimately shows that free-market allocation, not political allocation, is what is truly in the best interests of minorities in America.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1629 KB
  • Print Length: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Hoover Institution Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005LH2CLW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,303 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
96 of 102 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cost and Racism May 2, 2011
Many people see racism as a problem that exists in the private sector, that can be solved by officials in the public sector. Walter Williams turns this popular view of racism on its head. Public policies often put minorities at a disadvantage. Racists often find it easier to discriminate through public policy than through private enterprise. Williams is extending the cost-driven theoretical arguments of Gary Becker on the economics of discrimination. He uses many interesting examples to support the idea that government intervention serves as the primary means of discrimination: minimum wage laws, licensing, and other restrictions on otherwise free markets. These are controversial propositions that will offend some readers. Hopefully most people will read it critically and in so doing benefit from its well reasoned and supported arguments.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read from Williams June 10, 2011
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A home-run by Williams. This is another book I wish I could afford to buy for every member of Congress. It explains, clearly enough for a statist to understand, how government policiy has disadvantaged black people in the last 60 years. We are going to pay a terrible price for these bone-headed policies. Get a copy for your legislators as well.

Robert A. Hall
Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
(All royalties go to a charity to help wounded veterans)
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45 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars moving forward by looking backward May 31, 2011
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This book clearly shows that the government, read democrat, aid for minorities, read black, have harmed rather than helped black economic advancement. Contrary to other fantasies, economic reality would help all minorities advance. Easy reading.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book all college students should read July 11, 2011
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I am a college student who was forced to read Piven & Cloward's work last semester. I remember questioning their theories and wondering why they continued to use blame and resentment as a form to support their assertion that more gov't central planning benefits blacks and minorities. This book proves that all gov't intervention has proven to infact harm blacks and minorities, instead of helping them climb out of poverty. I think this is a great book that would help Blacks to understand that the so called glorious New Deal programs ended up resulting in more unemployment for their race. Don't just listen to the liberal crap universities want to push down your throat. READ, READ AND READ, and then come to your own conclusions.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for all! June 11, 2011
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This book should be read by all old and young. It should be used as an instructional manual in High Schools. But I'll bet it will never be permitted by school boards. Love Walter Williams work and throughly enjoy reading his books. It is very easy to read and an extremely interesting account of US History, US policies/Laws and how they relate to economics. If you care to know the truth of what makes this country tick this is a great starting point.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book June 16, 2011
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This is a brilliant, brilliant book, filled with sharp, original, compelling ideas on every page. Soundly argued and authoritatively supported. Deep scholarship matched with downright common sense. It would be impossible, I should think, for anyone to read this book and not learn something new. One of the best books I have read in years (and I read a lot).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unintended Consequences of Anti-Discrimination Laws August 8, 2011
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This book is a thoughtful, well-researched look at how the government's attempts to solve perceived 'racial discrimination' problems have created the opposite of intended results. The author exposes not only the fallacy of much of this thinking, but also how the government solutions have worsened the plight of minorities. To anyone interested in actually helping their fellow American, this is a very valuable work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic and Insightful Book! June 19, 2011
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A must-read for anyone who thinks free markets don't work. This should be required reading for anyone planning to hold a public office.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 16 days ago by Michael Spangler
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommend!!
An important and timely book to read.
Published 20 days ago by Stuart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Prof Williams provides a realistic view of race and economics.
Published 1 month ago by Openh2orower
5.0 out of 5 stars This will change how you view economics and race. It should be...
Just an outstanding read from one of the premier economists of our time. In Race & Economics Walter Williams lays out in black and white the history of economic policies that have... Read more
Published 2 months ago by B. white
5.0 out of 5 stars very informative book by a really great, common sense economist
Bought some time back, more pertinent now than EVER; assuage some of your unhelpful white guilt and learn what I have in life and more in this well documented, very informative... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michael D. Morris
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
gift purchase
Published 4 months ago by goober1097
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, well researched, all-around excellent
This is easily the best book I have read all year. Not just best non-fiction. Best book period.

I've known of Walter Williams for a long time and have been wanting to... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Travis Uribe
5.0 out of 5 stars Williams is doing a great job (as usual)
I am still making my way through the book, but Dr. Williams is doing a great job (as usual).
Published 8 months ago by Michael F. Holman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
Great book, Walter Williams is amazing, he should be an idol in classrooms around the world. The world would be a much better place if the read and understood his ideas.
Published 9 months ago by Stephen R. Keierleber
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great to work with
Published 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
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