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Thread: Slavery Reparations

  1. #591
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    Re: Slavery Reparations

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    You are familiar with the term, "I wash my hands of this." Yes?
    Yup, and I do. I'm no more to blame for slavery than someone stranger from Japan. People need to just move on.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
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    Re: Slavery Reparations

    Quote Originally Posted by bluesmoke View Post
    Only you and our contemporaries can possibly right the wrongs done of slavery, Jim Crow, etc. However, many use the excuse that because they weren't present at the time of wronging, they're not responsible so "wash their hands" of the matter. It is society that is responsible, but as long as people do not themselves accept that they are part and parcel of society and therefore responsible, wrongs of the past can never be righted. That's my take on the entire matter. It isn't personal against you. Its about you doing your part in society.
    The wrongs were righted. The laws don't exist any longer.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
    "Fly-over" country voted, and The Donald is now POTUS. #MAGA #WalkAway

  3. #593
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    Re: Slavery Reparations

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    IMO, to follow the straight and narrow, there’s a certain level of “buy-in” required. Growing up, probably well over 90% of the US posters here have never for one second doubted the “American Dream” was attainable. It’s reasonable to argue the numbers are reversed for black kids growing up in the decaying cities.

    By 1987, when the article was written, it was probably apparent to any black kid in Detroit that the brass ring could only be obtained by slinging dope and strapping on firearms. High risk, high reward careers earning $2000 a day. Hate to say, none of that is a result of Great Society liberalism. It’s sheer economics.
    yeah I agree with that. it is economics. When you have nothing to lose, risky but rewarding behavior, makes sense. Which is why I oppose the war on drugs-
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    Re: Slavery Reparations

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    I don't know, Dude. For an "economist" you sure do miss out factoring in the key ingredient that makes the world go around: Money.
    You are at leisure to do as you please, but in case you use quotation marks out of hesitation you should know that I actually am an economist.

    Now, as for the specifics of your comment, I am perfectly aware that people are not all equally at ease financially. What I am pointing out in virtually every discussion involving claims of discrimination is not that discrimination is never a factor, that people are never victims of sexism, racism, homophobia and other prejudicial attitudes. Most people proceed under the presumptions that

    (1) the prevalence of racism in western civilization is considerable
    (2) that people actually take actions consonant with those racist attitudes
    (3) that the effects at the scale of a society must be large.

    and it is with those ideas that I take issues. In particular, your point about money makes (2) very unlikely in a market economy even if (1) were true, which I doubt it is. In an openly racist regime under Apartheid in South Africa, some occupations were set aside only for white people. A government crackdown in the 1960s or 1970s revealed many such occupations were dominated by majorities of black employees. The color of your skin has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to take care of a set of tasks, but your ability to take care of a set of tasks has everything to do with the bottom line of the business. Passing over good employees because of the color of their skin is bound to cost you something. Either you will hire someone less competent, or you will have to pay higher wages to attract a sufficiently large pool of applicants to cherry-pick the "right kind of people."

    In the segregated South, laws were passed to enforce segregated seatings in public transportation at a time were many such services were operated by private businesses. Needless to say, officials later had to impose large fines and faced numerable challenges in courts by those businesses. Again, the majority of those people were white employers, living in a political climate where it would be curious if their views were so different from the parties voted into office by their constituencies. However, it is easy to see how segregated seatings is a very stupid way to manage transportation costs. In some cases, you have to refuse people because their reserved section is full, even if the section of the other group of people is completely empty. It might upset the client with no guarantee other companies will not risk a fine. Money from clients is money from clients, regardless of the color of their skin. I mentioned it earlier. Racists may hate someone, but they like themselves more than they hate anyone. The only consistent pattern in the above stories is that people do not act like racists when it is sufficiently costly to be a racist. On the other hand, government officials facing very different incentives from private businesses were perfectly free to enact racist laws that were sustained for decades. In fact, even if some of those politicians were not racists, you can make a case it was impossible to do anything about it. In front of a racist electorate, the idea that people should be treated the same regardless of the color of their skin is political suicide. The key questions for sustained discrimination, in my opinion, is always who decides and who suffers the consequences of those decisions. Everywhere racism or sexism is visibly costly to people making choices, it is unlikely that it will survive.

    Another relevant point concerns the cost of acquiring information. Information costs imply I will tend to use suboptimal rules of thumb to solve complicated statistical problems because improving my guess costs too much beyond some point. It is an unfortunate fact that proportionally more criminals are found among black people than white people. It is also an unfortunate fact that black people in the US tend to live in more criminally intensive neighborhoods. Short of being able to tell exactly who is trustworthy and where it is safe enough to set up shop, it's fairly possible everyone will stop short of looking at every detail and will resort to simplifications. On the surface, it will look like racism, but in reality, it will merely be a way to economize on the costs of information and analysis. You can tell this happens as opposed to real racism because real racism is impervious to facts. When this story is true, things as simple as a black person wearing a tie or allowing companies to run background checks can change everything. Some of the most virulent opposition to government housing projects in the US were black middle and upper-income families making this exact same case that having "those people" come into their neighborhood might make them tacitly guilty by association.

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    Re: Slavery Reparations

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    IMO, to follow the straight and narrow, there’s a certain level of “buy-in” required. Growing up, probably well over 90% of the US posters here have never for one second doubted the “American Dream” was attainable. It’s reasonable to argue the numbers are reversed for black kids growing up in the decaying cities.
    In which case, the comment would be true of white, asian, and other kids growing up in similar conditions.

    Quote Originally Posted by calamity View Post
    High risk, high reward careers earning $2000 a day. Hate to say, none of that is a result of Great Society liberalism. It’s sheer economics.
    This contains something that could be empirically tested. In general, does poverty cause crime? Another reasonable hypothesis is that crime and poverty both follow from another set of variable related to the kinds of choices people make such as the values they hold and the norms they internalized.

    As for your comment about it being economics, let's be specific. Not all people share the same degree of patience for delaying rewards, something which is required by any of the paths our society offers to people toward prosperity, short of growing with a silver spoon in your mouth. It is also true that not everyone has the same tolerance for risk. It is clear that the people who will be most likely drawn into a life of crime are precisely people who are impatient and possibly also more tolerant of risk. They're also the kind of people who don't fit into the more traditional pathway to a financially sustainable life: the idea of getting a degree, even from a public institution, hunting for a good junior position and working your way into a decent living offers a level of safety they do not value and requires patience of which they have little.

    It doesn't make your comment senseless. Anyone can understand the point that you can hardly fall below the rock bottom. If your life is like jail, without the communal showers, what do you stand to lose from... well... breaking bad?

    Another point to be made that some people might have missed on both the right and the left is that there is a difference between finger-pointing and arguing at least some of the plight people face is self-inflicted. We don't know what is going on in your life, or what went on in the past, and there is enough hardship in life for anyone to feel like giving up. The reason that talking about personal responsibility doesn't need to turn into arrogant moral condemnation is fairly simple: if I say that you could have done better, it does not mean that if I was in your shoes I would have done better. In fact, even if you ignored how to do better and I did know, the history of people who took up a gym membership in January tells me it doesn't mean I could have made it work better. However, there is some solace in these remarks because having something to do with how things turn out means you can do something to make the outcome better in the future.

    A big part of our disagreement has to do with how much we believe people can do on their own. I believe many people on the left underestimate how strong and able human beings can be.

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