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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.
Excellent book. Gives a balanced perspective on the policy and economic drivers of the race issues in the US.Published 16 days ago by Bostonsalchow Family
While his theme is repeated by others, few have more credibility and perspective than Mr. Williams.Published 2 months ago by Jeffrey Svestka
This is a tremendous book! I've always wanted to understand economics, even though those who control it don't want us to understand. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Robert V. Rose, retired education researcher
Mr. Williams shares a view that not many in the black community embrace, but he uses facts to support his position.Published 5 months ago by Opinionator
Prof Williams provides a realistic view of race and economics.Published 6 months ago by Openh2orower
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 morePublished 8 months ago by Brian W.