3 Double Spaced Paper on Debate Scenario

After reading through the scenario, write a paper that incorporates some of the scholarship we have read.Do you recognize themes that we have covered?If so, explain.How would specific scholars respond to this scenario?Explain. The paper should not be longer than 4 pages. I have attached some of the readings that we covered, this will help to answer the questions. The themes of the debate which incorporates some of the scholarship so it is important to know them.


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Ethnic and Racial Studies
ISSN: 0141-9870 (Print) 1466-4356 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rers20
When work disappears: new implications for race
and urban poverty in the global economy
William Julius Wilson
To cite this article: William Julius Wilson (1999) When work disappears: new implications for
race and urban poverty in the global economy, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 22:3, 479-499, DOI:
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/014198799329396
Published online: 07 Dec 2010.
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Date: 05 September 2017, At: 18:26
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We publish below the seventh Annual ERS/LSE Lecture, given by
William Julius Wilson before an invited audience in the Old
Theatre at the London School of Economics and Political Science
on Thursday 25 June 1998. The chair was taken by LSE Director
Anthony Giddens. The event was held in association with the
ESRC Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion.
When work disappears: new
implications for race and urban
poverty in the global economy
William Julius Wilson
This study highlights some of the main arguments raised in my latest book,
When Work Disappears (1996), and discusses their implications for understanding issues related to race and urban poverty in Britain and other European countries. I emphasize that public understanding of these issues has
been hindered by two pernicious effects of racial ideology in America: (1) a
tendency among those on both the left and the right to disassociate the high
inner-city jobless and welfare receipt rates from the impact of changes in the
global economy, and (2) weak support for government programmes to
alleviate economic distress in the inner city. I argue for a vision that acknowledges racially distinct problems and the need for certain race-speci ?c remedies, but at the same time emphasizes the importance of transracial solutions
to share problems.
Keywords: Inner city; racism; joblessness; poverty; public policy; labour demand.
It was a pleasure to return to the LSE to address an issue that I care
deeply about, the decreased relative demand for low-skilled labour and
its implications for the urban poor and race relations. In drawing out this
Ethnic and Racial Studies Volume 22 Number 3 May 1999
© Routledge 1999 0141-987 0
William Julius Wilson
issue, I want, ?rst, to highlight some of the main arguments raised in my
latest book, When Work Disappears (1996). Then, secondly, I want to
discuss how to shape the policy debate in United States and Britain so
that the problems of the low-skilled labour force, including the lowskilled minority labour force, are not isolated from those that stem from
global economic change.
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Inner-city jobless poverty
There is a new poverty in American metropolises that has consequences
for a range of issues relating to the quality of life in urban areas, including race relations. By the ‘new urban poverty,’ I mean poor, segregated
neighbourh oods in which a majority of individual adults are either unemployed or have dropped out or never been a part of the labour force. This
jobless poverty today stands in sharp contrast to previous periods. In
1950 a substantial portion of the urban black population in the United
States was poor but they were working. Urban poverty was quite extensive but people held jobs. However, as we entered the 1990s most poor
adults were not working in a typical week in the ghetto neighbourho ods
of America’s larger cities. For example, in 1950 a signi?cant majority of
adults held jobs in a typical week in the three neighbourho ods that represent the historic core of the Black Belt in the city of Chicago – Douglas,
Grand Boulevard and Washington Park – the three neighbourho ods of
Chicago that received the bulk of black migrants from the South in the
early to mid-twentieth century. But by 1990 only four in ten in Douglas
worked in a typical week, one in three in Washington Park, and one in
four in Grand Boulevard. In 1950, 69 per cent of all males aged fourteen
and over who lived in these three neighbourho ods worked in a typical
week, and in 1960, 64 per cent of this group were so employed. However,
by 1990 only 37 per cent of all males aged sixteen and over held jobs in
a typical week in these three neighbourh oods.
The disappearan ce of work has adversely affected not only individual s
and families, but the social life of neighbourh oods as well. Inner-city joblessness in America is a severe problem that is often overlooked or
obscured when the focus is mainly on poverty and its consequences.
Despite increases in the concentration of poverty since 1970, inner cities
in the United States have always featured high levels of poverty, but the
levels of inner-city joblessness reached during the ?rst half of the 1990s
was unprecedented.
I should note that when I speak of ‘joblessness’ I am not solely referring to of?cial unemployment. The unemployment rate, as measured in
the United States, represents only the percentage of workers in the
of?cial labour force, that is, those who are actively looking for work. It
does not include those who are outside or have dropped out of the labour
market, including the nearly six million males aged twenty-?ve to sixty
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When work disappears
who appeared in the census statistics but were not recorded in the labour
market statistics in 1990 (Thurow 1995).
These uncounted males in the labour market are disproportionately
represented in the inner-city ghettos. Accordingly, in my book, When
Work Disappears (1996), I use a more appropriate measure of joblessness that takes into account both of?cial unemployment and non-labourforce participation. That measure is the employment-to-population ratio,
which corresponds to the percentage of adults aged sixteen and older
who are working. Using the employment to population ratio we ?nd, for
example, that in 1990 only one in three adults aged sixteen and older held
a job in the ghetto poverty areas of Chicago, areas with poverty rates of
at least 40 per cent and that represent roughly 425,000 men, women and
children. And in the ghetto census tracts of the nation’s 100 largest cities
for every ten adults who did not hold a job in a typical week in 1990 there
were only six employed persons (Kasarda 1993).
The consequences of high neighbourh ood joblessness are more devastating than those of high neighbourho od poverty. A neighbourh ood in
which people are poor, but employed, is very different from a neighbourhood in which people are poor and jobless. In When Work Disappears (1996) I attempt to show that many of today’s problems in
America’s inner-city ghetto neighbourh oods – crime, family dissolution,
welfare, low levels of social organization and so on – are in major
measures related to the disappearan ce of work.
It should be clear that when I speak of the disappearan ce of work, I
am referring to the declining involvement in or lack of attachment to the
formal labour market. It could be argued that in the general sense of the
term ‘joblessness’ does not necessarily mean ‘non-work.’ In other words,
to be of?cially unemployed or of? cially outside the labour market does
not mean that one is totally removed from all forms of work activity.
Many people who are of?cially jobless are none the less involved in informal kinds of work activity, ranging from unpaid housework to work in
the informal or illegal economies that draw income.
Housework is work; baby-sitting is work; even drug dealing is work.
However, what contrasts work in the formal economy with work activity
in the informal and illegal economies is that work in the formal economy
is characterized by, indeed calls for, greater regularity and consistency in
schedules and hours. Work schedules and hours are formalized. The
demands for discipline are greater. It is true that some work activities
outside the formal economy also call for discipline and regular schedules.
Several studies reveal that the social organization of the drug industry in
the United States is driven by discipline and a work ethic, however perverse (Bourgois 1995; Venkatesh 1996). However, as a general rule, work
in the informal and illegal economies is far less governed by norms or
expectation s that place a premium on discipline and regularity. For all
these reasons, when I speak of the disappearan ce of work, I mean work
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William Julius Wilson
in the formal economy, work that provides a framework for daily behaviour because of the discipline, regularity and stability that it imposes.
In the absence of regular employment, a person lacks not only a place
in which to work and the receipt of regular income but also a coherent
organization of the present: that is, a system of concrete expectations and
goals. Regular employment provides the anchor for the spatial and temporal aspects of daily life. It determines where you are going to be and
when you are going to be there. In the absence of regular employment,
life, including family life, becomes less coherent. Persistent unemployment
and irregular employment hinder rational planning in daily life, a necessary condition of adaptation to an industrial economy (Bourdieu 1965).
Thus, a youngster who grows up in a family with a steady breadwinner
and in a neighbourh ood in which most of the adults are employed will
tend to develop some of the disciplined habits associated with stable or
steady employment – habits that are reected in the behaviour of his or
her parents and of other neighbourho od adults. These might include
attachment to a routine, a recognition of the hierarchy found in most
work situations, a sense of personal ef?cacy attained through the routine
management of ?nancial affairs, endorsement of a system of personal
and material rewards associated with dependability and responsibility,
and so on. Accordingly, when this youngster enters the labour market,
he or she has a distinct advantage over the youngsters who grow up in
households without a steady breadwinner and in neighbourho ods that
are not organized around work; in other words, a milieu in which one is
more exposed to the less disciplined habits associated with casual or
infrequent work.
With the sharp recent rise of lone-parent families in the United States,
black children who live in inner-city ghetto households are less likely to
be socialized in a work environment for two main reasons. Their
mothers, saddled with child-care responsibilities, can prevent a slide
deeper into poverty by accepting welfare. Their fathers, removed from
family responsibilities and obligations, are more likely to become idle as
a response to restricted employment opportunities, which further
weakens their inuence in the household and attenuates their contact
with the family. In short, the social and cultural responses to limiting constraints and changing norms are reected in the organization of family
life and patterns of family formation; there they have implications for
labour force attachment as well.
Explanation s of the growth of inner-city jobless poverty
What accounts for the much higher proportion of jobless adults in
America’s inner cities since the mid-twentieth century? An easy explanation would be racial segregation. However, a race-speci?c argument is
not suf?cient to explain recent changes in such neighbourho ods. After
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When work disappears
all, the historical black belt neighbourh oods that I have just discussed
were as segregated by skin colour in 1950 as they are today, yet the level
of employment was much higher then. One has to account for the ways
in which racial segregation interacts with other changes in society to
produce the recent escalating rates of neighbourho od joblessness.
Several factors stand out.
The disappearance of work in many inner-city neighbourho ods is in
part related to the nation-wide decline in the fortunes of low-skilled
workers. The sharp decline in the relative demand for unskilled labour
has had a more adverse effect on blacks than on whites in the United
States because a substantially larger proportion of African Americans
are unskilled. Although the number of skilled blacks (including managers, professionals and technicians) has increased sharply in the last
several years, the proportion of those who are unskilled remains large,
because the black population, burdened by cumulative experiences of
racial restrictions, was overwhelmingly unskilled just several decades ago
(Schwartzman 1997) .
The factors involved in the decreased relative demand for unskilled
labour include the computer revolution (that is, the spread of new technologies that displaced low-skilled workers and rewarded the more
highly trained), the rapid growth in college enrolment that increased the
supply and reduced the relative cost of skilled labour, and the growing
internationalization of economic activity, including trade liberalization
policies which reduced the price of imports and raised the output of
export industries (Katz 1996; Krueger 1997; Schwartzman 1997).
Whereas the increased output of export industries aids skilled workers,
simply because skilled workers are heavily represented in export industries, increasing imports, especially those from developing countries that
compete with labour-intensive industries (for example, apparel, textile,
toy, footwear and some manufacturing industries) hurt unskilled labour
(Schwartzman 1997), and therefore would have signi?cant negative
implications for American black workers. For example, 40 per cent of the
workforce in the apparel industry is African American.
But, inner-city workers in the United States face an additional problem:
the growing suburbanization of jobs. Most ghetto residents cannot afford
an automobile and therefore have to rely on public transit systems that
make the connection between inner-city neighbourhoo ds and suburban
job locations dif?cult and time consuming. Although studies based on
data collected before 1970 showed no consistent or convincing effects on
black employment as a consequence of this spatial mismatch, the employment of inner-city blacks relative to suburban blacks has clearly deteriorated since then. Recent research, conducted mainly by urban and labour
economists, strongly shows that the decentralization of employment is
continuing and that employment in manufacturing, most of which is
already suburbanized, has decreased in central cities, particularly in the
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William Julius Wilson
Northeast and Midwest (Holzer 1991; Ihlanfeldt, Keith and Sjoquist 1991;
Zax and Kain 1992; Holzer, Ihlanfeldt and Sjoquist 1994).
As pointed out in When Work Disappears, blacks living in central cities
have less access to employment, as measured by the ratio of jobs to
people and the average travel time to and from work, than do centralcity whites. Moreover, unlike most other groups of workers across the
urban/suburban divide, less educated central-city blacks receive lower
wages than suburban blacks who have similar levels of education. And
the decline in earnings of central-city blacks is related to the decentralization of employment, that is, the movement of jobs from the cities to
the suburbs, in metropolitan areas.
Although the relative importance of the different underlying causes in
the growing jobs problems of the less-skilled, including those in the inner
city, continue to be debated, there is little disagreement about the underlying trends. They are unlikely to reverse themselves. In short, over a sustained period the labour market in the United States has twisted against
disadvantage d workers – those with limited skills or education and/or
from poor families and neighbourh oods – and therefore greatly diminished their actual and potential earnings (Katz 1996).
Changes in the class, racial and demograph ic composition of inner-city
neighbourh oods have also contributed to the high percentage of jobless
adults in these neighbourh oods. Because of the steady outmigration of
more advantaged families, the proportion of non-poor families and
prime-age working adults has decreased sharply in the typical inner-city
ghetto since 1970 (Wilson 1987). In the face of increasing and prolonged
joblessness, the declining proportion of non-poor families and the overall
depopulatio n have made it increasingly more dif? cult to sustain basic
neighbourh ood institutions or to achieve adequate levels of social
organization. The declining presence of working- and middle-class blacks
has also deprived ghetto neighbourh oods of key resources, including
structural resources, such as residents with income to sustain neighbourhood services, and cultural resources, such as conventional role models
for neighbourho od children.
On the basis of our research in Chicago, it appears that what many high
jobless neighbourho ods have in common is a relatively high degree of
social integration (high levels of local neighbourin g while being relatively
isolated from contacts in the broader mainstream society) and low levels
of informal social control (feelings that they have little control over their
immediate environment, including the environment’s negative inuences
on their children). In such areas, not only are children at risk because of
the lack of informal social controls, they are also disadvantag ed because
the social interaction among neighbours tends to be con?ned to those
whose skills, styles, orientations and habits are not as conducive to
promoting positive social outcomes (academic success, pro-social behaviour, employment in the formal labour market, etc.) as are those in more
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When work disappears
stable neighbourh oods. Although the close interaction among neighbours in such areas may be useful in devising strategies, disseminating
information and developing styles of behaviour that are helpful in a
ghetto milieu (teaching children to avoid eye-to-eye contact with
strangers and to develop a tough demeanour in the public sphere for selfprotection), they may be less effective in promoting the welfare of children in the society at large.
Despite being socially integrated, the residents in Chicago’s ghetto
neighbourh oods share a feeling that they have little informal social
control over the children in their environment. A primary reason is the
absence of a strong organizational capacity or an institutional resource
base that would provide an extra layer of social organization in their
neighbourh oods. It is easier for parents to control the behaviour of the
children in their neighbourho ods when a strong institutional resource
base exists and when the links between community institutions such as
churches, schools, political organizations, businesses and civic clubs are
strong or secure. The higher the density and stability of formal organizations, the less illicit activities such as drug traf?cking, crime, prostitution, and the formation of gangs can take root in the neighbourh ood.
A weak institutional resource base is what distinguishes high jobless
inner-city neighbourh oods from stable middle-class and working-class
areas. As one resident of a high-jobless neighbourh ood on the South Side
of Chicago put it,
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