Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Race and Economics (Sowell on Walter Williams)
Creators Syndicate ^ | April 26, 2011 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 04/25/2011 9:17:51 PM PDT by jazusamo

Walter Williams fans are in for a treat— and people who are not Walter Williams fans are in for a shock— when they read his latest book, "Race and Economics."

It is a demolition derby on paper, as Professor Williams destroys one after another of the popular fallacies about the role of race in the American economy.

I can still vividly recall the response to one of Walter's earliest writings, back in the 1970s, when he and I were working on the same research project in Washington. Walter wrote a brief article that destroyed the central theme of one of the fashionable books of the time, "The Poor Pay More."

It was true, he agreed, that prices were higher in low-income minority neighborhoods. But he rejected the book's claim that this was due to "exploitation," "racism" and the like.

Having written a doctoral dissertation on this subject, Walter then proceeded to show why there were higher costs of doing business in many low-income neighborhoods, and that these costs were simply passed on to the consumers there.

What I remember especially vividly is that, in reply, someone called Walter "a white racist." Not many people had seen Walter at that time. But it was also a sad sign of how name-calling had replaced thought when it came to race.

The same issue is explored in Chapter 6 of "Race and Economics." The clinching argument is that, despite higher markups in prices in low-income neighborhoods, there is a lower than average rate of return for businesses there— one of the reasons why businesses tend to avoid such neighborhoods.

My own favorite chapter in "Race and Economics" is Chapter 3, which I think is the most revealing chapter in the book.

That chapter begins, "Some might find it puzzling that during times of gross racial discrimination, black unemployment was lower and blacks were more active in the labor force than they are today." Moreover, the duration of unemployment among blacks was shorter than among whites between 1890 and 1900, whereas unemployment has become both higher and longer-lasting among blacks than among whites in more recent times.

None of this is explainable by what most people believe or say in the media or in academia. But it is perfectly consistent with the economics of the marketplace and the consequences of political interventions in the marketplace.

"Race and Economics" explains how such interventions impact blacks and other minorities, whether in housing markets, the railroad industry or the licensing of taxicabs— and irrespective of the intentions behind the government's actions.

Minimum wage laws are classic examples. The last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930. That was also the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage law.

The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was in part a result of a series of incidents in which non-union black construction labor enabled various contractors from the South to underbid Northern contractors who used white, unionized construction labor.

The Davis-Bacon Act required that "prevailing wages" be paid on government construction projects— "prevailing wages" almost always meaning in practice union wages. Since blacks were kept out of construction unions then, and for decades thereafter, many black construction workers lost their jobs.

Minimum wages were required more broadly under the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, with negative consequences for black employment across a much wider range of industries.

In recent times, we have gotten so used to young blacks having sky-high unemployment rates that it will be a shock to many readers of Walter Williams' "Race and Economics" to discover that the unemployment rate of young blacks was once only a fraction of what it has been in recent decades. And, in earlier times, it was not very different from the unemployment rate of young whites.

The factors that cause the most noise in the media are not the ones that have the most impact on minorities. This book will be eye-opening for those who want their eyes opened. But those with the liberal vision of the world are unlikely to read it at all.



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: economics; labor; minimumwage; race; sowell; thomassowell; walterwilliams

1 posted on 04/25/2011 9:17:54 PM PDT by jazusamo
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: abigail2; Amalie; American Quilter; arthurus; awelliott; Bahbah; bamahead; Battle Axe; ...
*PING*
Thomas Sowell

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Recent columns
Taxes and Politics
To Cut Deficits, It’s Best To Pick Low-Flying Fruit
Of Assumptions That Reassure

Please FReepmail me if you would like to be added to or removed from the Thomas Sowell ping list…

2 posted on 04/25/2011 9:21:39 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

I hope that both men are willing to be part of the next GOP Presidential administration. They would be very helpful.


3 posted on 04/25/2011 9:22:08 PM PDT by johnthebaptistmoore (If leftist legislation that's already in place really can't be ended by non-leftists, then what?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

Two of our very best and most deserving of respect American citizens.


4 posted on 04/25/2011 9:27:07 PM PDT by Elsiejay
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: johnthebaptistmoore

They certainly would. I have my doubts that Thomas Sowell would be anxious to get involved in politics, he’s 80 now. Would love to see Walter Williams get involved.


5 posted on 04/25/2011 9:27:40 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Elsiejay
Two of our very best and most deserving of respect American citizens.

Amen to that, it bears repeating!

6 posted on 04/25/2011 9:29:07 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

Please bump the Freepathon or click above and donate or become a monthly donor!

7 posted on 04/25/2011 9:29:50 PM PDT by jazusamo (His [Obama's] political base---the young, the left and the thoughtless: Thomas Sowell)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

The year that Katrina hit New Orleans, 47% of the residents could not read or write.


8 posted on 04/25/2011 9:41:40 PM PDT by blam
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Would love to see Walter Williams get involved.

Walter Williams is no spring chicken anymore. He is 75. These two old guys still put out some very sharp stuff.


9 posted on 04/25/2011 9:50:37 PM PDT by Lazlo in PA (Now living in a newly minted Red State.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

BLACK by popular demand! ( I love it when he fills in for Rush)


10 posted on 04/25/2011 9:53:56 PM PDT by Drango (NO-vember is payback for April 15th)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drango
He used to crack me with some of his stories about Mrs. Williams (RIP). He would say things like she wasn't allowed to leave the house because she was under punishment. Another time he said he gave Mrs. Williams a broom for her birthday.
11 posted on 04/25/2011 10:17:32 PM PDT by Ken H
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

William is over 70, and now sane college professor over the aqe of 70 is about to go into politics..


12 posted on 04/25/2011 11:02:34 PM PDT by RobbyS (Pray with the suffering souls.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

Fascinating research.


13 posted on 04/26/2011 1:40:54 AM PDT by newzjunkey
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Drango

Re. #10: Ditto.


14 posted on 04/26/2011 2:25:21 AM PDT by fella (... if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. Prov.1:10)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Thanx for the pings jazusamo !
15 posted on 04/26/2011 3:08:28 AM PDT by steelyourfaith (If it's "green" ... it's crap !!!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

bump


16 posted on 04/26/2011 3:08:53 AM PDT by XHogPilot
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

I love Sowell and Williams, two of our very finest Conservative minds.


17 posted on 04/26/2011 4:07:35 AM PDT by TheOldLady
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo

Thanks for the ping jaz.


18 posted on 04/26/2011 4:08:23 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: jazusamo
Minimum wage laws are classic examples. The last year in which the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930. That was also the last year in which there was no federal minimum wage law.

hopey-changy...more of the same 'progressive' slavery...

19 posted on 04/26/2011 4:58:56 AM PDT by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: RobbyS

What?


20 posted on 04/26/2011 5:55:07 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (For love of Sarah, our country and the American Way of Life.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Louis Foxwell

I think you should read that as “no sane”.


21 posted on 04/26/2011 6:38:20 AM PDT by green iguana
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson