At the Blog
This week at the blog, we were reminded that all good things must come to an end, as we concluded symposia on price stability beyond the Fed (aka, INFLATION!) and Gabriel Winant’s The Next Shift.
On Monday, David Stein addressed the soaring price of rent. As he points out, rental costs are particularly important, since shelter makes up such a large portion of household budgets, yet raising rates will only increase the cost of new home construction, deepening landlord power over a limited supply of housing. A progressive anti-inflation policy, he argues, must focus on rent control in the short-term, while in the medium-to-long-term, the primary goal should be to invest in the housing supply, via social housing and zoning regulation to increase the availability of affordable housing.
On Tuesday, Rohan Grey sounded the final notes in the symposium by highlighting the importance of financial regulation in managing prices during fiscal expansion. As he writes, “Looking to the future, if we are serious about pursuing a large-scale transition towards a more just economy, we will need an answer to how to maintain relatively stable prices while engaging in sustained fiscal stimulus. At this juncture, aggressive and proactive regulation of non-essential and unproductive private financial activity will become even more critical. Decisions about how to extend liquidity support, to whom, and under what conditions necessarily implies value decisions – i.e. picking winners or losers – in much the same way as traditional fiscal and budgetary policy.”
And on Thursday, Michelle Wilde Anderson brought our symposium on The Next Shift to a close, by discussing the transformation of Braddock, PA from a once mighty steel town to a poor, broke town. As she movingly concludes, “In 2010, Levi’s Jeans filmed an ad in Braddock portraying the town in the smoky hues of Rust Belt resilience. After a montage of residents working to repair a wounded landscape, the ad closes with a child narrator’s voice saying: ‘Maybe the world breaks on purpose so we can have work to do.’ As someone who cares about the Braddocks of the country, I think those lines are wrong. Too many people got hurt along the way of Braddock’s decline to wipe away its hardships with a few purpose-driven lives today. But I think a slight edit could redeem the script. For every loss in Braddock, people elsewhere collected their wins. Inequality expanded within hospitals, within regions, and among regions. ‘Maybe the world breaks on purpose,’ the revised ad might say. ‘We have work to do.’ Part of that work, Winant reminds us, is improving wages, conditions, and educational opportunities for health care workers.”
In LPE Land
On Friday, April 1, the University of Florida Levin College of Law presents Abolition Across Criminal Justice, Immigration, and National Security. The conference’s goal is to contribute to the growing public conversation on abolition by exploring the importance of taking an intersectional approach to the abolitionist project and underscoring the close relationship that exists by necessity between abolitionist movements across interrelated legal domains. Featuring a keynote by Amna Akbar!
On Tuesday, April 5, join us for the final event in our “Political Economy of Care” series: Healthcare as Freedom, Healthcare as Control. Nic John Ramos, Jasmine Harris, Jamelia Morgan, & Karen Tani will discuss how healthcare evolved as a vehicle to manage poverty and to produce more governable and “productive” subjects within poor communities of color; examine how social constructions of race, disability, and gender dictate how our medical and legal systems interact with those subjects; and finally, ask what these lessons mean for health justice mobilizing today.