Exploitation and Race
Friday, Jan. 7, 2022 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EST)
- Chair: Zoe Sherman, Merrimack College
The “Black Second”: Intersection between (White) Progressivism and White Supremacy
AbstractArguably, two of the most notable achievements of the Progressive Era were the enactment of the federal income and estate taxes. Each enabled the eventual shift in federal taxation from a regressive, consumption- based system – primarily tariffs and excise taxes – to a more progressive, income-based tax system. Both bills were shepherded through the US Senate by Furniford M. Simmons, Senate Finance Committee chairman. Before reaching the Senate, Simmons served in the House, representing North Carolina in the 2nd District, colloquially known as the “Black Second”. Due to its large black electorate, this seat was held by four different black lawmakers over the last quarter of the 19th century, making it the most contested seat of its era. After serving one term in this seat, Simmons lost his 1888 reelection bid to Henry P. Cheatham, like Simmons was born on a plantation, but as an enslaved child. Losing again in 1890, Simmons later became head of the NC Democratic Party and orchestrated the infamous 1898 election. Democrats swept back into power defeating the “Fusionist” candidates promoting the primacy of “Anglo-Saxon blood” and organizing “Red Shirt” vigilantes to threaten voters. Immediately after the election, White citizens of Wilmington ousted their “Fusionist” local officials and rampaged through black neighborhoods killing residents and destroying property. Simmons subsequently authored the disfranchising amendment to the state constitution. The subsequent voter suppression ended the term of George Henry White, current occupant of the 2nd District and the last black lawmaker to serve in Congress for nearly 30 years.
Housing Exclusion in Westchester County, NY
AbstractAs municipalities across the United States struggle to provide affordable housing for its citizens, they face a myriad of ethical, legal, legislative, economic and social challenges. Westchester County, NY, which is contiguous to New York City, is the 16th wealthiest county in the United States in terms of per-capita income and simultaneously, the 14th ranked county in terms of the highest income inequality. Of the 63 or so municipalities where a municipality can be considered: a city, a town, a village or a hamlet; 31, about one-half, were cited for exclusionary housing practices by the federal government. I say “or so” because in the crazy-quilt world of local government, often legislation of one government entity is at loggerheads with another – for example in particular - zoning regulations. As a case study paper, it traces the ethical and moral reasons for municipalities providing affordable housing and then synthesizes national and local legislative pieces related to affordable housing. To investigate the exclusionary practices that distinguish a non-exclusionary municipality from a municipality practicing exclusionary practices, the paper compares voter approved capital budgets via bond financing between the two municipality categories. For example, I use bond authorization for various public good projects as a proxy of municipality choice. Comparing and contrasting the various demographic and economic factors separating the two municipality groups accomplish this. The variables include: race, ethnicity, household income, home prices and educational outcomes (high school grades) and finds a distinct difference. Next, local, voter-supported bond-funded capital budgeting decisions reveal a stark difference in the bundle of capital projects approved. The Tiebout Hypothesis is used as the theoretical backdrop to explain that local government budgeting decision-making processes may indirectly lead to housing exclusion. The paper concludes with alternative policy proposals to ameliorate this externality.
Class and Race: A Broken-Up Couple
AbstractThe aim of the paper is to account for how social classes and racism jointly relate to inequality in modern economies. A Marxist-inspired approach by is that inequality results from the wage relation, so that racism is simply a collateral feature of society. An alternative approach is that race is socially construed in order to extract revenues from weaker sections of society. A tentative synthesis distinguishes between exploitation and expropriation, thereby suggesting a joint account for both types of inequality, but is far from satisfactory. All of these approaches explain why and how extracting revenue from the weaker sections of society is possible and convenient but they fail to explain what the rationale for racialization – i.e. the singling out of a specific (black, Jewish, Polish, etc.) race - is. The paper focuses on two types of racial ascription that relate to inequality. In the first type, racialization is a ceremonial attempt to adapt to the extant status quo and ideology of inequality (“Emulate the Jones; don’t mingle with the Blacks”). In the second, it reflects a failure to adapt to the status quo and the attempt to ‘explain’ inequality and social debasement by construing a scapegoat-centered ideology that singles out the powerful (e.g. the Jewish bankers) and the underdogs. Both accounts contrast the view that racist beliefs are exogenous relative to the economy. Both suggest policies against racism and overall inequality must go together.
Orthodox Economics and the Economics of Harm
AbstractOrthodox economics understands productive activity, which obtains income by benefiting others, but does not have an adequate conception of activity which obtains income by harming others. There is a broad and important range of activities which obtain income by harming others. This article considers the analysis of some of these including conflict theory, rent-seeking, corruption, harm of workers, consumers, and nature, the varieties of discrimination, and economic historians’ consideration of extractive political and economic institutions. The omission of harm is evident in undergraduate textbooks in microeconomics and public economics. The fundamental political economic system of past and present, a productive plus harmful one, is not being taught to economics students.
- B5 - Current Heterodox Approaches
- Z0 - General