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TransHistorical Restitutions: The Political Economy of Reparations

Paper Session

Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 10:15 AM - 12:15 PM

Loews Philadelphia, Congress A
Hosted By: Union for Radical Political Economics
  • Chair: Rajani Kanth, Harvard University

The Arc of Justice

William A. Darity Jr.
Duke University


The paper will explore the structure for actual execution of a reparations programs, in general, and, in particular, for black Americans. Reparations potentially is a powerful instrument for overcoming existing patterns and many of the ongoing effects of group specific injustices inflicted upon the community making a claim for compensation. How best to do it will be the subject of the paper.

The 14th Amendment and the Poverty of African Americans

Ravi Batra
Southern Methodist University


Following the Civil War Congress passed the first civil rights act as the 14th amendment to the constitution. It granted citizenship to African Americans and forbade any state government from taking away life, liberty or property of any person without due process of law. However, the amendment benefited the corporations with little help to black Americans. Each time a state decided to curb the monopoly power of a business conglomerate, the courts would step in and proclaim that the state flouted the due process clause. This collusion between the government and corporations has contributed to high rates of poverty in America, especially among African American communities.

On Transhistorical Restitution: A Moral Primer

Rajani Kanth
Harvard University


In societal history, the issue of Restitution and Reparation is first and foremost a Question of Moral Philosophy, before it is anything else. This short excursus addresses, broadly, that set of considerations , involving cross generational and cross cultural evaluations.

A Blueprint for Structural Reparations in the Middle East

Fadhel Kaboub
Denison University


This paper argues that the Western colonialism in the Middle East was not merely about resource extraction and geo-strategic control. In other words, it was not just an economic/financial nuisance that the region needs to be compensated for. Colonialism was (and continues to be) about undoing the socioeconomic, political, and legal makeup of a non-Western social fabric and replacing it with a eurocentric institutional framework. As such, "reparations" should not be thought of as "cash transfers" or monetary compensations, instead they ought to be conceived as a mechanism to repair a broken institutional fabric. Reparations are meaningless in the context of neocolonialism and neoliberalism. Structural reparations do not mean a return to lower standards of living and a rejection of contemporary technology, it is rather a structural healing process to envision a new path to justice, prosperity, sustainability, and social cohesion. The paper will outline specific strategies to implement such reparations.

$MeToo: The Economic Cost of Sexual Harassment

Lynn  Parramore
Institute for New Economic Thinking


Attention to the economic cost workplace sexual harassment in the U.S. is typically focused on the price of lawsuits and settlements to companies and organizations. However, there is a need to measure not only the cost to victims of sexual harassment, most typically women, but also the cost to the overall economy. This paper examines some of the preliminary research into this topic as well as what interventions might best combat the economic and financial challenges women face as a result of targeting by sexual harassment and mitigate the burdens that disproportionately impact them.
Eiman Zein-Elabdin
Franklin & Marshall College
JEL Classifications
  • I3 - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
  • F5 - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy