Sunday, June 28, 2015

Krugman: ‘America Is A Much Less Racist Nation Than It Used To Be...’


Yet racial hatred is still a potent force in our society, as we’ve just been reminded to our horror. And I’m sorry to say this, but the racial divide is still a defining feature of our political economy, the reason America is unique among advanced nations in its harsh treatment of the less fortunate and its willingness to tolerate unnecessary suffering among its citizens.

Krugman goes on to analyze and describe the nature of the undeniable racism still present in the fabric of America's society and economy. He employs the work of political scientist Larry Bartels and economists Alberto Alesina, Edward Glaeser, and Bruce Sacerdote. Krugman compares Bartels's ‘What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter with Kansas? with Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? and concludes this:
Mr. Frank argued that working-class whites were being induced to vote against their own interests by the right’s exploitation of cultural issues. But Mr. Bartels showed that the working-class turn against Democrats wasn’t a national phenomenon — it was entirely restricted to the South, where whites turned overwhelmingly Republican after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Richard Nixon’s adoption of the so-called Southern strategy. [Bolds mine. - SB]
Then, regarding Alesina, Glaeser and Sacerdote's “Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-style Welfare State? [.pdf]”, Krugman concludes:
... Its authors — who are not, by the way, especially liberal — explored a number of hypotheses, but eventually concluded that race is central, because in America programs that help the needy are all too often seen as programs that help Those People: ...

Now, that paper was published in 2001, and you might wonder if things have changed since then. Unfortunately, the answer is that they haven’t, as you can see by looking at how states are implementing — or refusing to implement — Obamacare.

Please read the rest. Unfortunately, Krugman is as pessimistic as I am about the prospects for a genuine reconciliation between races in America; here's how he says it:
Every once in a while you hear a chorus of voices declaring that race is no longer a problem in America. That’s wishful thinking; we are still haunted by our nation’s original sin.


  1. Somehow --- none of this surprises me. How sad.

    1. c, slavery is "our nation's original sin," indeed. For a couple of decades now I've believed that this one fatal error in our founders' formulation of the structure of our nation's government is also the one thing that will, sooner or later, result in our nation's demise. For Southern white radicals, slavery was never satisfactorily instituted; for the rest of us, slavery was never successfully ended. We are damned because we do and damned because we don't. We are damned; there's no way around it. [/sigh]



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