Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon

Comparing Capitalism & ParEcon Regarding Race

What is the relation between economics and racial relations? This page compares capitalism and parecon vis a vis race relations.

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“An American Slave Market”
by Taylor


“Street in Tahiti”
by Paul Gauguin

Introducing Capitalist
Race Relations

In a capitalist economy, there is no intrinsic inviolable economic reason there should be race division. If racism doesn’t exist, capitalism does not necessarily create it (though it could) — just as it doesn’t create a group conflict and hierarchy between people over and under five feet tall, say, or with light or dark hair, and so on. If there is no extra-economic hierarchy — or at least mutual cultural hostility, capitalism is unlikely to impose one. But, if racism (or other cultural animosities) does exist, then a capitalist economy is highly likely to abide its dictates and even aggravate it.

Mainly, employers will exploit race hierarchies, and certainly not violate them — reproducing them in the work place rather than creating workplaces that have upside down authority relations. You don’t hire black bosses for white workers, but vice versa, if society has severe racism of the U.S. sort in its culture. Likewise, payments to employees and their allocation in all kinds of work will reflect greater and lesser bargaining power for different cultural communities, thus reinforcing their relations with material payments that parallel hostilities. And the same holds for dumping pollution in neighborhoods, prices of and access to various comodities and public goods, and so on.

Introducing ParEcon
Race Relations

In a parecon, the economy has no intrinsic dynamics vis a vis race. However, it also violates racism at every turn by providing no means by which a dominant racial group can be anything other than equal with every other racial group. There are no material benefits, power benefits, or other benefits that one community can have at the economic expense of another, in a parecon.

Additionally, however, a parecon needs from other spheres of social life people who are able to interact equally and with initiative in the economy. There is therefore not only no inclination for a parecon to abet racism becuase it has no hierarchies, and a parecon not only provides material and social conditions that are contrary to racism, giving people equitable prospects, etc., a parecon needs from society’s culture dynamics that are participatory and democratic in their implications for people’s attitudes and inclinations.

Evaluating Capitalist Race Relations

While capitalism does have a tendency to want to hire people who can do jobs regardless of irrelevant attributes, it also has a far more powerful tendency to maintain and defend and when possible exacerbate corporate divisions of labor, hierarchies of decision-making influence, and hierarchies of pay and abiding and aggravating racial hierarchies proves to do this, whereas violating them risks this. Thus, capitalism is historically, predictably, quite poor regarding race relations, improving only under extreme political and social pressure.


Evaluating ParEcon Race Relations

A parecon is about as anti-racist in its intrinsic structural and interpersonal implications as an economy can be without going on to actually dictate cultural norms, which, of course, an economy ought not do.



 Next Entry: Comparing Regarding Gender


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