Monday, November 14, 2011

Progressives and Race

I've written on this topic several times, and here, in NRO, comes someone more expert than I to discuss the connections between the Progressive movement and racial segregation in the in 19th and 20th century Sadly, two of the most prominent Progressives in this article were leading lights in the emerging Economics profession. However, the prize for most outlandish proposal goes to the sociologist who promoted forced labor camps for blacks. Yes, let's have more national discussions on race, and establish once and for all who established Jim Crow laws, disfranchisement, and educational segregation.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What is Poor?

Co-author Brad Hansen sent this link to the blog Pyromaniacs, which combines the statistics of a BBC video hosted by Hans Rosling, the blogger's own analysis of the U.S. data in terms of the complaints of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and Chrisitian theology.

Brad asked if I had any further thoughts, and the blog suggests several. One thing that I think we ought to consider at the start is that the terms "income" and "wealth" are often used interchangeably, and they are not. (Part of the problem is that "poor" is popularly used as the opposite of both "wealthy" and "high income.") I believe that I recall reading recent data that income in the U.S. has become less equal but wealth has not. How could that be? There are several factors, including greater life-cycle disparities in income that don't translate into wealth disparities, problems with valuation of assets (wealth, such as home values or even wealth intangibles like the social wealth of living in a safe neighborhood), increasing differential returns from education, income statistics that don't capture all aspects of government income redistribution etc.. I'll try to check this out further, and maybe post some other thoughts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

David Brooks on Inequality

I have mixed reactions to David Brooks, but his article today on "inequality" was thought-provoking. Even here, we can see the cultural divides between Manhattan/Chevy Chase and "flyover country". Brooks asserts that's it's not acceptable to wear clothing with religious messages. I think if Brooks walked around Tennessee or Texas or Iowa more he might see that a lot of people have t-shirts with explicitly religious or, more neutrally, "I love First Church" type messages. Nevertheless, although the article is humorous, I think it raises interesting questions for Christians. It would make a good single-meeting Bible study resource. (Thanks to for the tip on the article).