Aretae posts a nice list of solutions to the problem of "race disparity."

Of course, I’m far from convince that the "problem" of race disparity can be "solved," but I largely agree with his list. Two points on which I’d like to quibble:

1) He leaves off immigration. Race disparities – by which we actually mean that blacks under-perform compared to whites – are only going to be "solved" if we can find away to productively employ large numbers of unproductive, unintelligent blacks. Assuming that this is possible, importing millions of unproductive, unintelligent Hispanics is not going to make this task any easier.

2) I’ve never been as convinced as other libertarians that the drug war is to blame for so much of black underachievement. To hear some libertarians tell it, if the drug war ended, blacks in housing projects would begin starting technology companies. For example, the article that Aretae linked to is sub-titled, "Changing the policy that has broken up families and put thousands of men in prison would have a far more positive impact on the black community than any number of symbolic marches." While this is possible true, I doubt that if the penalties for crack were less severe, the average black guy currently in prison would turn into Heathcliff Huxtable. This issue comes down to causality and speculation. We know that blacks disproportionately go to prison for drug-related crimes (much like other crimes only more so). My guess is that if the war on drugs ended we would not see the problems of racial disparity lessen.


9 Responses to Race

  1. theobsidianfiles says:

    Let’s try and tease the many interesting points you made above out and see what happens, OK?

    First, let’s tackle the drug war-what do you suggest be done?


  2. aretae says:

    Drug war — of course one step doesn’t solve things.

    Here’s the line — a 2 parent family, no kids no jail and in school until 18, and you have ZERO (+/- 6%) poverty.

    Drug war is #1 issue on putting black folks in jail, and therefore on 2 parent families.
    Minimum wage + Licensing regulations are #s 1,2 on keeping black folks unemployed.
    I think AFDC/etc. is #2 on killing 2 parent families.

    I’m not impressed by immigration as an issue, because of population distribution. It clearly has some effect, but I’m not sure how much. I’d claim that illegal immigration is a working solution to the minimum wage problem that is screwing black folks.

    So…drug war would solve? No. But it’d solve 1.5 of the 4 big issues.

    • Foseti says:


      Your analysis of the drug war seems to assume that there is nothing particularly unique about the people that currently go to prison – i.e. if it weren’t for the criminalization of drugs, these people would have similar life-outcomes with the people that currently don’t go to jail. That assumption – while plausible – doesn’t seem highly likely to me. My guess is that many of them would find other ways to commit crimes or waste their lives.

      I really don’t see how you can say that immigration doesn’t matter. I agree with you about minimum wages. You’re basically arguing that we’re artificially raising wages and therefore restricting the amount of labor supplied. That’s true. Similarly importing tons of similarly unskilled laborers raises the supply. I don’t see how you can rely on basic supply and demand only when it suits you.

  3. theobsidianfiles says:

    I’m having trouble as to why you think that minimum wage laws is hurting anyone, much less Black folks. Please explain how doing away with them can make things better for Blacks? Thanks!


  4. theobsidianfiles says:

    What I don’t get is why you’re so very concerned if Black folk who would have been involved in the drugs trade would in some other way “waste their lives”? Why do you care so much about this, please explain?



    • Foseti says:

      I think it’s obviously a concern if they commit other crimes.

      If we’re not talking about crime, it would still be nice if they were self-sufficient (i.e. not relying on forced redistribution of wealth). That’s a pretty low base-line. Beyond that, it would be fantastic if they kept the parts of the cities that they live in from turning into wastelands.

      Is that asking too much?

  5. theobsidianfiles says:

    Well, actually you are, if you think paying taxes to assist those who’ve fallen on hard times is indeed asking for too much. Moreover, if you’re so very concerned about a forced redistribution of wealth, you can begin with a series of posts detailing why you think Social Security and Medicaid should be ended forthwith, followed up with a series of posts outlining why the private sectors of Wall St. & the automotive industries should be allowed to fail and should receive no govt support of any kind. Hands down these are among the biggest taxpayer expenditures around. Welfare is quite small in comparison, thanks in large part to Welfare Reform passed under Bill Clinton.

    As for crime, most inner city crimes are either directly or indirectly related to the drugs trade, and studies done that have focused on targeting high drug areas have shown that crime accross the board goes down. Yet another argument for the legalization of drugs it seems.

    Now, if you could please outline why you think doing away with minimum wage laws will actually help Black folks…


    • Foseti says:

      I oppose all forms of forced government assistance as long as our political system remains democratic. As I’ve said before, these programs are not aimed at helping people – something that they demonstrably do not do. Instead, they are aimed at creating voters for bigger government. Under a different political system, I might support some benefits to people “who’ve fall on hard times” – though permanent welfare is different.

      I thought bailing out the banks was criminal. But again, the point was to ensure that we all consider ourselves wards of the state .

      Minimum wage laws punish the least skilled workers in an economy. For example, some people do not yet have the skills to justify hiring them at $7/hour. I personally believe that the best way for some people to acquire these skills is through working. However, if the minimum wage is set at $7/hour, no one will hire them. It so happens that many blacks are among the least skilled workers in our society. Therefore setting a minimum wage will hurt them. Doing away with a minimum wage would help them in that they would be employable and could begin building the necessary skills to work at higher paying jobs.

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