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The State Against Blacks Hardcover – October 1, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0070703780 ISBN-10: 0070703787 Edition: 3rd

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 183 pages
  • Publisher: Mcgraw-Hill; 3rd edition (October 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0070703787
  • ISBN-13: 978-0070703780
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,115,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Tomm Carr (TommCatt@computer.org) on November 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book goes into meticulous detail how government programs, ostensibly meant to help the common American worker, actually exacts a tremendous toll on all of American society. However, as Williams so well documents, the costs of these programs fall disproportionately on blacks and other minorities.
One example from the book is the taxi licensing in New York City. Licensing was implemented in the 1930's, and, due to the political pull of existing license holders, not one additional license (medallion) has been issued in more than 60 years. To handle the increased demand for taxi service (there are, after all, a few more people in NYC today than in the '30s) a black market fleet of thousands of illegal taxi drivers has "plagued" the city from almost the very beginning. These "Gypsy" taxis handle the perpetual overflow caused by too many passengers trying to catch too few taxis. They are often the only service to and from the poorer New York neighborhoods that the licensed taxis will not enter.
No one knows exactly how many Gypsy taxis there are at any one time traveling the streets of New York. But the Gypsy taxi driver is almost invariably a poor black or Puerto Rican man who is just trying to eke out an honest living despite the best intentions of the city government.
If you are of the opinion that government programs have aided minorities, and helped them on the way to realizing the American dream, you need to read this book.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jeanmarie Todd on December 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have a copy of this stored somewhere and am looking for another ``loaner'' copy. This book had a huge impact on my thinking when I first read it in my mid-20s. Walter Williams has a gift for making economics clear and nonthreatening to the average reader. The video based on the book is also excellent if you can find it. Exposes the terrible toll America's myriad laws constraining working people, including the minimum wage, have taken on blacks among others. Raises important issues related to the unintented consequences of laws and regulations. Or, in many cases, intended but hidden consequences. Taxi medallions (licenses) benefit not riders or would-be drivers but the few who can get their hands on one, to cite one example. Find it, read it. You owe it to yourself to read this if you care at all about public policy, freedom, or society.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mark Horne on August 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The only reason I don't give this five stars is that it is decades old now. Why doesn't Walter Williams get his students to do some up-to-date research and come up with an expanded edition?
But the book is awesome--easily (apart from datedness) worth six stars out of five. And because it explains really well why the average person of color came from a poorer family in the eighties, one could even argue that it remains quite contemporary. More importantly, the principles articulated here are quite easily applied to a variety of other situations.
The basic thesis (I'm going by memory here) is that even though "jim crow" laws have been removed from the state governments, that the federal, state, and local governments have in fact passed laws and (especially!) regulations that disproportionately hurt blacks and promote their poverty rather than their prosperity. One reviewer has already mentioned the taxicab example. At one time, if one had a car, one could offer one's services as a taxi cab driver. But now the City government has made it illegal for a person to offer that service. Walter Williams discusses the proffered rationales for this use of state violence (Williams's tone is not nearly as severe as mine, but what can I say?: All laws are statements threatening people with violence who don't comply.). But they are easily shown as bogus. The existing cab drivers are lining their pockets with money from all other potential cab drivers. This is a colorblind system of robbery, but it is not economically blind. It hurts those who have a car and can drive but who don't have other more lucrative opportunities. Due to past injustices that were not color-blind, this injustice ends up not being color-blind either.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James J. Bjaloncik on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Prof. Walter E. Williams (George Mason U. - VA) is, along with his colleague Prof. Thomas Sowell (Hoover Institute - CA), one of the absolute PREMIER economists and social commentators in the country. He pulls no punches, he doesn't pussyfoot around, he gets to the heart of the matter, and this book is no exception. He explains in detail why Big Government (The State) is no friend of African-Americans, and why it prevents them from achieving everything they need to and want to. Of course, Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, among others, have done their people no favors either. Prof. Williams, along with Prof. Sowell and and others like Shelby Steele, Larry Elder, Ken Blackwell and others, have shone the harsh light of reality on this situation time and time again. Eventually, it may sink in. Prof. Williams scores a HOME RUN again with this book, just like his others.
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