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Economics and African Americans

Although social scientists generally acknowledge the continued growth of the black political economy, almost all agree that much improvement is needed. The primary beneficiaries of occupational gains have been higher skilled, higher educated blacks, thus creating an impoverished black underclass languishing in inner city ghettoes. Also, blacks lag far behind their white counterparts in the accumulation of income-producing wealth, an important determinant of prosperity. Only a long-term, comprehensive commitment to economic development in black communities can improve the position of African Americans in mainstream society.

Hogan defines a political economy as "a human population undergoing the act of social reproduction, over a protracted period of time, under a set of rules promulgated and enforced by a political state, within a bounded geographical domain" (1984, p. 12). The black political economy forms a separate economy because it fulfills all the requirements of this definition. Blacks represent a distinct human population, partly because of the barriers to kinship with white, mainstream society. (Intermarriage between blacks and whites occurs on a limited basis; therefore, blacks generally reproduce black offspring, thus perpetuating their distinctiveness.) Further, the presence of African Americans in the United States for four and a half centuries qualifies as a protracted period of time. Since, during this time period, blacks have never attained the status of the ruling class, they have been subjected to the rules and distribution processes of the political state. Lastly, blacks inhabit a common geographic domain: African Americans reside in the United States, the majority in major cities in the North and South.

Hogan uses Marxist theories to explain the chronic weakness of the black political economy. Marx distinguishes four types of political economies--communalism, slavery, feudalism, and capitalism--whi...

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Economics and African Americans. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:08, March 26, 2019, from