...As Thomas Piketty’s groundbreaking book “Capital in the 21st Century” has detailed: wealth has a tendency in a capitalist economy to concentrate into the hands of a few and travel down generations through gifts and inheritances. Even if racism were wiped out tomorrow and equal treatment became the norm, it would never cease being the case that the average white person has more wealth than the average black person. We could equalize everything else in society, and racial wealth inequality–plus all of the political power disparities that accompany such a thing–would continue into perpetuity.
Thus, those actually serious about righting the wrongs of enslavement and Jim Crow apartheid must support more drastic leveling efforts. Beefed up anti-discrimination, which is both necessary and good, will not be enough. Ideally, we could work towards reparations in the form of redistributing wealth along racial lines. With that an unlikely possibility though, we can at least think about ways to redistribute wealth more generally from those with wealth to those without it, something that would have a similar, albeit more attenuated, effect as reparations given who the wealthy and non-wealthy happen to be.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Glaring limits of the Civil Rights Act: We need to redistribute wealth - Salon.com: