The award-winning book on urban poverty—now thoroughly revised and updated
Poverty and Inequality in U.S. Cities
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William W. Goldsmith and Edward J. Blakely
"Economic and political forces no longer combat poverty—they generate poverty!" exclaim William Goldsmith and Edward Blakely in their report on the plight of America's urban poor. In this revised and updated edition of their 1992 book Separate Societies, the authors present a compelling examination of the damaging divisions that isolate poor city minority residents from the middle-class suburban majority. They pay special attention to how the needs of the permanently poor have been unmet through the alternating years of promises and neglect, and propose a progressive turn away from 30 years of conservative policies.
Separate Societies vividly documents how the urban working class has been pushed out of industrial jobs through global economic restructuring, and how the Wall Street meltdown has aggravated underemployment, depleted public services, and sharpened racial and class inequalities.
The authors insist that the current U.S. approach puts Americans out of work and lowers the standard of living for all. As such, Goldsmith and Blakely urge the Obama administration to create better urban policy and foster better metropolitan management to effectively and efficiently promote equality.
"[A] coherent account that draws on an extensive array of sources to describe the divisions that isolate poorer residents from the majority of the population....After a thoughtful overview, they amass their evidence to shed light on ‘separate assets’ (income distribution, and differences by race and gender), ‘separate opportunities’ (participation in the labour market, international comparisons) and ‘separate places’ (the changing social and economic contours of city regions). For many readers...the chapter on the changing shape of the American metropolis will be of most interest.... [A] generally incisive and well-argued book."
"When the authors concluded the first edition with an optimistic appraisal of policy options that could alleviate poverty and inequality, they could not have known that the nation was on the cusp of a political and economic transformation that would greatly exacerbate existing inequalities. Therefore, this second edition is all the more welcome."
"With this second edition of Separate Societies, Goldsmith and Blakely update their arguments from twenty years ago with new data and analyses of contemporary trends of increasing inequalities.... Separate Societies remains a classic text, offering a solid overview of social and economic theories on the roots of poverty and inequality, and providing timely and comprehensive data. Goldsmith and Blakely do this admirably.... As such, it remains an important tome on social, economic, and political stratification in the United States for both those new to the material and those relatively familiar with it.... [T]he authors provide much food for thought to inspire yet another generation of policymakers, planners, and scholars in their pursuit of ending poverty in the United States."
"[T]his is a strong book. It offers good overviews and critical assessments of theories and past policies.... But there is more: its greatest strength lies in the persuasive evidence it presents in its state of the art on urban and inner-suburban poverty...and in its exposition of the consequences of the changing economy, the failure of past policies, racism and discrimination. In the end, the overall grim picture collides with the optimistic one that policies can change."
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