The income of blacks in most northern industrial states today is lower relative to the income of whites than in 1949.Fusfeld and Bates examine the forces that have led to this state of affairs and find that these economic relationships are the product of a complex pattern of historical development and change in which black-white economic relationships play a major part, along with patterns of industrial, agricultural, and technological change and urban development. They argue that today’s urban racial ghettos are the result of the same forces that created modern America and that one of the by-products of American affluence is a ghettoized racial underclass.
These two themes, they state, are essential for an understanding of the problem and for the formulation of policy. Poverty is not simply the result of poor education, skills, and work habits but one outcome of the structure and functioning of the economy. Solutions require more than policies that seek to change people: they await a recognition that basic economic relationships must be changed.