A new framework for analyzing the role of blacks in the U.S. economy
The book is a heroic attempt to organize the relevant facts about black economic involvement in the U.S. economy. Its major objective is the construction of a theoretical framework for explaining the mechanisms by which the black population of the United States reproduces itself as a black population. Who they are today and what survival strategies keep breath in their bodies are consequences of a set of historical forces which have generated them out of some primordial earth matter about three million years ago, propelled them through many and varied social-economic formations, and finally solidified their present defining characteristics as well as their physical location within the bowels of the most powerful capitalist nation that the world has ever known.
Previous economic-theoretic works in this field have concentrated on a set of isolated data, mainly centering around black-white differences in various measures of economic performance or rewards. This book, on the other hand, develops a systematic framework for understanding black people as a distinct population in historical transition from primordial beginnings in Africa, through slave labor in North America, thence undergoing a sharecropping existence, and finally being transformed into a full-fledged wage-working population.
The method exploits the rich and changing history of blacks as a people. At the same time, it emphasizes their survival activities which are peculiar to each historical epoch in their development.
A major conclusion of the book is that black people have been locked in an historical embrace over the centuries, reproducing among themselves to the exclusion of all other people, undergoing a set of transformations which brought them from slavery through sharecropping and thence into the American wage-working class. This perspective makes for a deeper understanding of the racial oppression which they have experienced. At the same time it provides insights into the progressive elimination of the racist malaise over time.
The book ends with some interesting speculations about the future of blacks in the U.S.
"There is no single source available which attempts to establish fundamental theoretical principles for approaching the new discipline of black political economy with the same skill and methodology presented here," said Manning Marable, author of How Capitalism Underdeveloped Black America (South End Press, 1983) "I think that the book is a tremendous advance over the entire body of literature currently availble on the subject."
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Lloyd Hogan studied economics at The University of Chicago. He has taught economics and statistics at a number of black colleges in Virginia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. He has also served as visiting faculty at Harvard University, Cornell University, Amherst College, and Gettysburg College. He is a retired Associate Professor of Economics at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is editor of Black Community Revitalization (Transactions Books, 1980) and Government Subsidies for Low Income People (Transactions Books, 1981). He also served as editor of The Review of Black Political Economy (vols. 8-12, 1974-1982). He is currently completing research for a book on human population dynamics.
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