Must Read: Darrick Hamilton on Economists’ Moral Burden
Economists need to stop pretending what they do rates as a neutral science and start recognizing the moral imperative for economic justice. The massive racial inequalities that exist in the United States, they also need to recognize, reflect systemic problems that demand systemic solutions, not individual choices.
Darrick Hamilton delivered this message to the National Economic Association in a recent address to the group. Hamilton, an economics professor at the New School and the Association’s current president [and associate director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity], wants his fellow economists to understand they can be both academically rigorous and rooted in the moral crisis of our time.
Economist Darrick Hamilton is imploring his peers to consider economic justice a moral issue. Hamilton’s must-read speech offers insight into how mainstream economists might begin to shift their focus toward the trailblazing “stratification economics” framework that Hamilton and Sandy Darity at Duke University, among others, have helped develop.
Undergraduate economics classes, at least the ones I sat in, do not teach morals. Instead, economists convey an aura of science that positions people as always rigorously rational actors and markets, to quote Hamilton, as “somehow natural, transparent, ‘efficient,’ and inevitable.”
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