A Nightmare of Work and Care

A Nightmare of Work and Care

At least since welfare reform, then, we have coexisted with a particularly monstrous work-life imbalance for low-income parents in which economic security, much less economic mobility for their children, remains forever out of reach. Americans have learned to live with punitive workfare as their only form of safety net assistance (or without it, as is the case for too many poor people ineligible even for subsistence benefits). Far from removing the crisis in care and work from polarized public debate, however, the pandemic has shown all too clearly that workfare ideology will not remain confined to the ever-shrinking welfare context, but has a life of its own.

Introducing Guest Editors Angela Harris and Noah Zatz

Introducing Guest Editors Angela Harris and Noah Zatz

Here at the Blog we’re trying out a new idea: inviting a rotating pair of “Guest Editors” to help steer our editorial process. Guest Editors will join our editorial board (scroll down) for six months at a time. Our first Guest Editors are Angela Harris, Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Davis, and Noah Zatz, Professor of Law at UCLA. In this post they introduce their goals.

Exploitation Entrepreneurialism

Exploitation Entrepreneurialism

NB: This post is part of a series in our Race for Profit symposium. Read all posts here. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s Race for Profit is an essential read not just for anyone interested in racism, housing segregation and post-Civil Rights era racial politics, but for anyone interested in understanding the American economy. It is impossible to understand contracts, property…

Addressing Race and Gender Inequities at the Root of Housing Injustice

Addressing Race and Gender Inequities at the Root of Housing Injustice

NB: This post is part of a series in our Race for Profit symposium. Read all posts here. As Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor demonstrates in Race for Profit, housing exclusion, instability, and segregation are all racialized in nature, and sewn into the very fabric of American institutions, policies, and value systems. During the height of redlining in the mid-20th century,…

Predatory Inclusion: A Long View of the Race for Profit

Predatory Inclusion: A Long View of the Race for Profit

NB: This post is part of a series in our Race for Profit symposium. Read all posts here. The ascending slope of our current housing crisis is a good vantage point from which to think about Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s new history of the federal response to an earlier point of crisis: she gives us reason to reconsider the role…

Service Workers or Servile Workers? Migrant Reproductive Labor and Contemporary Global Racial Capitalism

Service Workers or Servile Workers? Migrant Reproductive Labor and Contemporary Global Racial Capitalism

Click here to read all posts in our Care Work series.  Grassroots migrant worker activists, particularly those working as domestic workers or care workers, have characterized their labor experiences as “servitude,” “modern-day slavery,” and “bondage.” They use these terms to describe both their workplace conditions and the power dynamics that exist in their relationships with…

Teaching Penal Abolition

Teaching Penal Abolition

In April, the New York Times ran a profile on abolitionist visionary and scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore, and the Harvard Law Review published an entire issue on prison abolition. This fall, the University of Texas Law School Human Rights Center is hosting a conference on abolition. The new journalistic outlet The Appeal runs abolitionist pieces…

The Impact and Malleability of Money Design

The Impact and Malleability of Money Design

Mehrsa Baradaran’s book teaches us that money has a color, an arresting proposition to fans and foes of capitalism alike.   As she points out, economic orthodoxy posits that the transactional medium is itself a formal instrument:  money expresses but does not affect the value of the substances it measures.  Critics of that orthodoxy agree even…

Black Proprietorship and Crises of Value

Black Proprietorship and Crises of Value

By shedding historical light on the development and practices of black banking, Mehrsa Baradaran’s excellent and thought-provoking The Color of Money demystifies some fundamental free market myths and strongly cautions against the widespread faith, among policymakers and activists alike, in banking as a means of overcoming long-entrenched and worsening racial disparities in wealth. In this…

Symposium: The Color of Money & Racial Capitalism

Symposium: The Color of Money & Racial Capitalism

When I started research on the project that became The Color of Money, I wanted to write a book about racial disparities in access to credit. When I started digging into the history, I started to realize that there was a much bigger story here, one that undermined one of the most basic neoliberal myths…

The Constitution and Democratic Insurgency

The Constitution and Democratic Insurgency

One of today’s most urgent questions is how to combine an analysis of capitalism with an analysis of democracy.  The rolling socio-economic crises of the last decade, highlighted by the global financial meltdown, have laid bare the extent to which American society is marked by fundamental and irreconcilable conflicts between those enjoying economic power and…

Racism is at the Heart of the Platform Economy

Racism is at the Heart of the Platform Economy

This post argues that race and racism are segmenting the new “on demand” labor markets, in ways that facilitate the transition to this new sector of the economy.  Scholars of racial capitalism have argued that modern capitalism could never have gotten off the ground without the violence of slave labor in the cotton economy. Violent…