Wilson, one of our foremost authorities on race and poverty, challenges decades of liberal and conservative pieties to look squarely at the devastating effects that joblessness has had on our urban ghettos. Marshaling a vast array of data and the personal stories of hundreds of men and women, Wilson persuasively argues that problems endemic to America's inner cities--from fatherless households to drugs and violent crime--stem directly from the disappearance of blue-collar jobs in the wake of a globalized economy. Wilson's achievement is to portray this crisis as one that affects all Americans, and to propose solutions whose benefits would be felt across our society. At a time when welfare is ending and our country's racial dialectic is more strained than ever, When Work Disappears is a sane, courageous, and desperately important work.
"Wilson is the keenest liberal analyst of the most perplexing of all American problems...[This book is] more ambitious and more accessible than anything he has done before."
--The New Yorker
An unofficial adviser to President Bill Clinton, Wilson has become a celebrity of sorts. A former University of Chicago professor, Wilson--currently on staff at Harvard--has been profiled in The New Yorker and dubbed one of America's most influential people by Time magazine. A respected thinker on issues of race and poverty, the author of The Declining Significance of Race and The Truly Disadvantaged offers his take on welfare and inner-city joblessness in When Work Disappears. Racism, Wilson argues, plays increasingly less of a role in urban problems. More significant, he claims, are changes in the global economy and the disappearance of unskilled but decent-paying jobs near cities; according to Wilson, these factors have deprived the urban working class of steady jobs, destroyed inner-city businesses, and caused younger, upwardly mobile residents to flee for the suburbs.