Midterm Review

Below is a list of the key processes in the history of urban development as it pertains to wealth and income inequality today.  You should be able to identify and define/explain the key events and key terms related to each of the processes, the intricacies of each event (the racial implementation of suburbanization, for example – how? Consequences of this?), and this relates to the income and wealth gaps we see today.  You should also have an understanding of the factors of race and gender when relevant.

I would recommend drawing a timeline as I have done on numerous occasions in class, and being sure you can fill in the timeline and explain what is happening with respect to urban development, the development of the United States, wealth and income gaps and disparities in wealth and income by gender and race.

  • Great Migration, Suburbanization (Why and Discriminatory implementation of) & Deindustrialization (why?) and the making of the American ‘ghetto’
  • Fiscal Crisis, Economic restructuring and shifting economic priorities of the city
  • Globalization and changing nature of labor market (include labor inequality)
  • New Deal policies – before and after 1965 (how/why this change occurred) and the consequences for the lives of American citizens (including welfare reform)

In addition to these general overviews:

  • You should use the glossary term list as a list of key terms that should be familiar with.
  • And, here (below) are some questions for each week that you should be able to answer.

We will have an in-class review session on Monday October 17th.  This will serve as a supported study session.  Please bring questions you may have regarding this material.  You may also email me directly in the interim.  If you email me, be specific about what you are unsure of, and where you are getting confused (in this reading it says ‘this’, but here it says ‘this’, and I’m not sure how to recify that ‘this’ is — in other words, do not email me and say, I don’t know what ‘this’ is, plesae tell me  You should have tried to find the answer on your own first, and there should be proof of that).  Our midterm will be held on Wednesday October 19th – there are no make-ups so do not miss this class.

Best of luck with your studying!

Polarization of Wealth and Income in the 21st C
1. What is inequality? What is economic inequality?
2. When thinking about economic inequality, we must think about wealth and income inequality.  Approximately what does wealth inequality look like today?  What about income inequality?  How can we explain the differences between wealth and income inequality over time?  (Think about their different qualities..)
3. What is the racial economic divide?
4. What is financial wealth?  How does it differ from net worth?  Why is this difference significant?  How does this difference relate to how families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds fared during the Great Recession?

Labor Inequality
1. The graph of income inequality over the last 100 years represents a U-shape.  How can we break up this graph (into 3 time periods) to describe the general changes in income inequality over time, and what are the approximate years?
2. Autor talks about the ‘hollowing out of the labor market’ or the ‘polarization of the labor market’.  These phrases mean the same thing.  What phenomenon is Autor trying to describe?  What reasons does Autor give to explain this phenomenon?
3. An important component of labor inequality are the different experiences and different outcomes of workers, or those seeking work, by race.  How does race play out in labor market disparities?

Poverty Perspectives
1. What are the different poverty perspectives?  Compare the different ways they explain poverty, and their varying perspectives on solutions that may resolve poverty?

Historical Development of Cities
1. How would you characterize the ‘industrial city’ (1840-1920)?
2. What is the Great Migration and when/why does it occur?
3. When does suburbanization begin and what mechanism(s) allows it to occur on such a massive scale?  Who is able to suburbanize and who is not and why?  Why are people moving to the suburbs?  (At least two reasons..)  How does suburbanization relation to the racial economic divide we see in our country today?
4. What is deindustrialization and when/why does it occur? How do ‘company towns’ relate to deindustrialization?  What are they?  In describing deindustrialization, we much think about two shifts – the initial shift to the suburbs and the subsequent shift ‘from the rust belt to the sun belt’.  What is the ‘rust belt’?  What is the ‘sun belt’?  And why is this movement occurring?
5. How is the movement out of the city affecting those living in (and perhaps trapped in) the city?  Why does suburbanization and deindustrialization have an effect on what’s going on in the cities?
6. What are, and how are city-centric processes such as redlining and urban renewal altering the landscape of the city and affecting the lives of city residents?
7. What is the Kerner Commission, why does it come about, what is it tasked with, and what does it find?
8. What is the ‘economic restructuring’ and what role does the fiscal crisis play in this process?  How does the economic restructuring alter economic policy development in cities?  In other words, what are the new economic policy orientations of the city?
9. What is and how does this new policy orientation relate to planned shrinkage?

Globalization and ‘Exceptional’ Inequality
1. What is globalization in general, and how is globalization taking place today?  What is the main characterization of the new phase of globalization today?  What is the main policy mechanism by which this phase of globalization is carried out?
2. In relation to this new phase of globalization, explain the ‘race to the bottom’ politics that countries and cities are participating in today.
3. In relation to this new phase of globalization, explain what flexible labor practices are and how they have become the norm.
4. According to Douglas Massey, though globalization does increase inequality within nations, this is not the main reason inequality is so bad in the United States.  Explain why inequality in the United States is so ‘exceptional’ in relation to other similar countries.  Discuss the general, long term event that leads to such exceptional inequality, as well as the minute specific points Massey highlights.
5. According to Massey, what watershed moment can this change towards exceptional inequality be attributed to?  Explain the political restructuring that occurs because of this moment, and how this contributes to creating the exceptional inequality that we see today.
6. How does globalization and the mechanisms by which we have arrived at this exceptional inequality relate to the realities of our ‘New Economy’ (rise in service sector employment, two-tiered labor market, wage stagnation or declines in ‘real’ wages for the majority of workers).
7. How do the changes discussed by Massey affect the political potential of those affected by these changes, and subsequently make it very difficult to reverse the trends of these policies?

Low wage work and Welfare:
1. How is poverty measured in the United States?  What are the pros and cons of this measurement?  Why does it matter how poverty is measured in this country?
2. How are the supplemental poverty measure and self-sufficiency measures improvements to measuring ‘need’ in this country?  What would be the affect if we started using either of these measures in the next year?
3. What is underemployment and what does it say about how our economy is doing and how the people of the United States are doing?  How does underemployment relate to the changing nature of the labor market (i.e. the hollowing out of the labor market/polarization of the labor market)?
4. When talking about poverty and low wage work, why is it important to discuss women specifically?  Further, why it is important to consider race and motherhood when thinking about poverty and low wage work?  (Also know the key terms related here).
5. What do we mean by ‘gender stratification of labor’?  Give an example.
6. Explain the two sides of the gender wage/pay gap theory.
7.  What are the three provisions of the Social Security Act? What larger social policy package was it a part of?  How were the provisions of the Social Security Act initially racially implemented and how were these provisions eventually opened up to women of all races?
8. In 1996, President Clinton signs into law the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act.  This legislation is known to have ‘ended welfare as we know it’.  How does this legislation change the way welfare is distributed in this country (what are the different provisions of welfare before and after 1996)?  Why is there a push for welfare reform during the 80’s and 90’s?
9.  The shift in welfare is supported by a number of myths.  What are the myths, why are they myths?

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