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The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America Hardcover – January 17, 2014


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The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America + The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 282 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (January 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814760554
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814760550
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Through clear and evocative prose, The Price of Paradise makes the movement for regional equity accessible to the broader public and all those hurt by the disadvantages of regional inequality.It is a clear call for a better and more unified America."-Myron Orfield,author of American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality

"Troutt definitively demonstrates why no community is an island, and why caring about those people in the neighborhoods on the other side of the tracks can be the best move you could make to secure your own economic future.Troutt's chapter on remaking communities through metropolitan equity should be required reading for policymakers, activists and urban economists alike."-Daria Roithmayr,author of Reproducing Racism: How Everyday Choices Lock in White Advantage

"A rare and compelling account of how local governance practices produce racial inequality at every level of American life—and of what we can do about it. Ambitious but pragmatic, the Price of Paradise offers fresh and concrete ideas for solving the most entrenched social problem in American history."-Devon Carbado,co-author of Acting White? Rethinking Race in "Post-Racial" America

"A forcefully presented eye-opener sure to provoke controversy as well as interest."-Kirkus,

"David Troutt's The Price of Paradise is a careful analysis and also a personal, passionate critique of the widely held assumptions that have helped generate metropolitan inequity in the United States.The critique and analysis are written in an engaging and readable style, and they are powerful and persuasive. This is a book everyone should read, because the lives of all Americans are structured by the inequities Troutt describes and seeks to overcome." -Gerald Frug,author of City Bound: How States Stifle Urban Innovation

About the Author

David Dante Troutt is Professor of Law and Justice John J. Francis Scholar at the Rutgers University-Newark Law School. He also serves as Director of the Center on Law in Metropolitan Equity at Rutgers Law School. Troutt is a columnist, novelist, and the author of several works of nonfiction, most recently After the Storm: Black Intellectuals Explore the Meaning of Hurricane Katrina.


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Samuel J. Sharp on April 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Troutt's book is a challenging look at how poverty interacts with place and race in America. Stated briefly, he argues that concentrating poor residents in part of a community is bad for everyone. The increased costs of social services for the residents of these dysfunctional communities is an effective tax on citizens of the governmental entity providing those services. It would be far better to implement a suite of policies that Troutt terms "metropolitan equity." These policies, such as inclusive zoning and regional tax revenue sharing, are designed to deconcentrate poverty thus expose poor residents to the higher quality schools, better job opportunities, and safer streets of middle class communities.

Troutt spends much energy linking the issue of poverty to race, and thus his inclusionary policies are defacto desegregation policies. He argues that poor whites have been welcomed to middle class communities in ways that poor blacks have not. This pattern has over time created a poor underclass that continues to face dim social prospects.

Overall, this is a well argued account of a pressing issue. Troutt's policy arguments are sensible, and he acknowledges the political difficulties of asking wealthy neighborhoods to take an inclusionary stance toward impoverished families. Troutt argues that such inclusion ultimately benefits everyone, and extending opportunities to poor people is much more effective than extending government services. Sadly, the book is missing good examples of Troutt's policy ideas being successfully implemented.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul A. Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Rutgers law professor David Dante Troutt has a dream. He has a dream that the American dream, and Martin Luther King's dream can coalesce "to stabilize economic life for many more Americans and to discover along the way our common good. . . . A beloved community may be within a generation's reach." In The Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America, Troutt argues that in pursuit of the American dream, middle-class Americans and the U.S. government have left behind large swaths of poor minorities.

The American middle class holds self-sufficiency and self-determination as central values. But Troutt argues that much of the foundation of the middle class is built on preferential government policies and subsidies. The list is lengthy: suburbanization spurred by the National Highway Act; redlining, which made home loans difficult or impossible to obtain, and which was endorsed by the Home Owners Loan Corporation; urban renewal, which razed or broke up poor and immigrant neighborhoods; and, of course, segregation. (I was reminded of Eric Schansberg's arguments in his book, Poor Policy: How Government Harms the Poor.) These policies, among others, achieved the goal of "preserving middle-class stability by keeping the poor at a distance."

For a remedy, Troutt looks to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s idea of mutuality,which he expands to "progressive mutuality, the kind that recognizes that interdependency is not neutral if it rests in part on exclusion and must account for our effects on others." But interdependency has not been the norm. To the contrary, whites, as a rule, did all they could to live separately from poor blacks.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An extremely thoughtful, but sometimes oversimplified, analysis on place politics - the idea that where one is located severely determines their opportunities in life. The author (law professor at Rutgers) argues that colorblindedness perpetuates policies (ie: redlining) that segregate and isolate the poor from affluent communities. Thus, a system of oppression more forcefully prevents the poor from having access to the resources (ie: good schools) for upward mobility. This impacts African American poor differently than the white poor. The black poor largely become labeled and victimized in a punitive society. Whereas the white poor are often mixed into affluent communities and given access to better resources. To resolve this disparity, the author proposes integrative socio-economic strategies to achieve a beloved community that is undergirded by mutuality. I would have liked the author to do more with criminality and prisons as well as extend his conclusion to illustrate his proposal with models/examples. I would have also liked more of an emphasis on the hybridity/complexity of constructs that impede the opportunities for black poor which is not just place but so much more. Overall, this book does great work in contributing to an important social ill of poverty. I highly recommend!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a compelling read! In "The Price of Paradise", author David Troutt debunks myths about the poor, the middle class and more to show how "place" - where we live - plays a major role in the opportunities and outcomes of our lives. Place determines the quality of our education, our access to employment and health facilities, our exposure to people of other races and backgrounds, etc. He builds a strong case for viewing our best interests at the regional level rather than at the local town and municipal level, if we are to achieve the best fiscal, as well as social benefits. I truly enjoyed his persuasive combination of storytelling with data and research findings to bring the reader along to his point of view.
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