The Wealth of Races: The Present Value of Benefits from Past Injustices

The Wealth of Races: The Present Value of Benefits from Past Injustices

by Richard F. America


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This collection of essays examines the question of how injustices of the past affect entire groups of people today and outlines the current beneficiaries of these injustices. Although discriminatory practices can be based on ethnicity, religion, and gender, this book focuses on one important type—racial discrimination—and deals with the way it affects both blacks and whites. The authors address the question from different perspectives and, although there is no real consensus as to what extent unjust enrichments currently exist because of past discrimination, the focus of several essays is on the need to systematically and equitably redistribute wealth. In beginning to explore these questions, the volume addresses the larger issues of how the costs and benefits of past practices can be measured and how historical injustices should affect current public policy matters.

The volume is organized in a straightforward manner intended to create an integrated discussion. An introductory essay charts the development of the project and offers a summary and critique of each essay. The first section explores the issue of slavery and current policy and considers the caution required when developing policy based on disputed models and assumptions. The second section examines the economic impact of slavery and discrimination on the functioning of the labor market. In the final section, some of the implications of redistribution policies are considered in relation to the various cost and benefit analyses. A final essay and conclusion sum up the study and outline the broad policy setting in which this work can take place. The book will be an important resource for courses in history, sociology, and public policy and an important addition to public and university libraries.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313257537
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 08/24/1990
Series: Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies: Contemporary Black Poets Series , #13
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 401,327
Product dimensions: 6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

RICHARD F. AMERICA is a policy analyst in Washington, D.C. He is coauthor of Moving Ahead: Black Managers in American Businessand author of Developing the Afro-American Economy.

Table of Contents


Overview and Summary

Forty Acres and a Mule: Placing a Price Tag on Oppression

Economic History and the Current Benefits and Costs of Slavery

Past History and Current Policy: The Legacy of Slavery

Who Pays for Slavery?

An Appraisal of the Estimated Rates of Slave Exploitation

Slavery and the Economics of Discrimination

Black Labor in the American Economy since Emancipation: What Are the Legacies of History?

A Calculation and Comparison of the Current Benefits of Slavery and an Analysis of Who Benefits

Estimated Present Value of Income Diverted during Slavery

Black Exploitation and White Benefits: The Civil War Income Revolution

Slave Exploitation in Neoclassical Economics: Criticism and an Alternative Direction

Achieving Racial Equality through Restitution

Racial Inequality and Reparations

An Illustrative Estimate: The Present Value of the Benefits from Racial Discrimination, 1929-1969

Income Transfers: Are They Compensation for Past Discrimination?

The Social Debt to Blacks: A Case for Affirmative Action

What Was Lost: The Cost of Slavery and Discrimination for Blacks

Achieving Parity through Reparations


Selected Bibliography


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