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Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality

Black Wealth/White Wealth represents an attempt to understand one of America's most persistent dilemmas: racial inequality. We approach this topic with much trepidation. However, we feel that the analysis presented here will foster new approaches to this …

The Clinton legacy for America's poor

This paper examines the impact of Clinton era social policy changes on the poor. It explores shifts in incentives, behavior, and incomes and discusses the role Clinton did or did not play in influencing the policy mix and the nature of the political debate surrounding poverty. Policy changes included a radical shift in welfare policy, a sizable expansion in supports for low income workers with children, new child support enforcement measures, more restricted support for immigrants, and altered housing policies. Partly as a result of these policies, but ...

Book: Blame It On the WTO: A Human Rights Critique

by Sarah Joseph 365 pages Oxford University Press, Oxford When the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in 1995, few human rights lawyers at the time realized the significance of this event for their discipline. In part, this may have been because the creation of the WTO followed more than a decade of neoliberal policies characterized by deregulation and the removal of barriers to trade and investment in many regions. Although it strengthened the system originally established under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, the WTO was not seen to represent a seismic shift: it was the final stage of a gradual evolution, rather than the beginning of something radically new... The relative indifference of human rights lawyers also stemmed from a lack of understanding of the consequences of this ambitious overhaul of the global trade system. The WTO was deliberately placed outside the remit of the United Nations. With its establishment, the international trade system included for the first time a dispute settlement mechanism of a quasi-judicial nature, binding upon the WTO Members, and which could allow economic sanctions to be imposed on States that failed to comply with the disciplines imposed on them. Indeed, in retrospect, it is this aspect of the WTO Agreement that appears both the most novel and that has the most far-reaching consequences. Most notably, it created an imbalance between the commitments of States under the WTO framework and their other international obligations, including those under human rights treaties: should conflicts emerge between the two sets of obligations, States may be tempted systematically to prioritize their duties under the WTO, because of the sanctions attached to non-compliance, leaving aside the comparatively ‘softer’ commitments made under human rights treaties. As this important book by Sarah Joseph shows, things are now changing. The problems arising from the fragmentation of international law are increasingly being acknowledged, and solutions are being explored to overcome them. Due to the ‘special nature’ of human rights treaties, which are irreducible to exchanges of undertakings between States, merely to state that these treaties are paramount, will not suffice. We need to work towards practical ways of avoiding conflicts whenever possible, and of solving conflicts when they emerge, in ways that do not lead to the sacrifice of human rights on the altar of increased trade, even for the sake of economic growth.

A Just World Under Law: A View From the South by BS Chimni

This is an important work - very much worth reading. Here are two quotes from it.: "Transnational capital sees a borderless world economy as its field of operation leading to the globalization of national production and financial systems. Its third world component plays the role of a junior partner with the crucial task of legitimizing the vision of global capital in its own world. There is also support for this vision in a growing global middle class that hopes to benefit from the ongoing globalization process." ... then he goes on to discuss a number of core concepts which need discussion - "The unified global economic space is being established through a range of international law instruments that include international trade law as embodied in World Trade Organization ("WTO") texts and international monetary law as prescribed by international financial institutions. The key development here is the prescription of minimum uniform global standards. That is to say, irrespective of the sovereign territory on which transnational capital operates it is increasingly governed by the same set of norms or norms that possess family resemblance. For example, every WTO member state has to abide by the norms governing intellectual property rights as embodied in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS"). Some states merely get a longer transition period in which to implement them. The examples can easily be multiplied. The emergence of a unified global economic space may also be conceptualized in terms of the growing internationalization of property rights through the medium of international law. Indeed, the phenomenon of internationalization of property rights is crucial to the creation of a unified global economic space. "

Federal Legislation Seeks to Stop States from Denying or Revoking Licenses Due to Unpaid Student Debt

Student loan debt is a reality for Americans of all ages. The total student loan debt in America is about $1.3 trillion, a figure that has doubled in the last decade. Student loan debt is the second-highest category of debt in America, second only to mortgage-related debt.[1] At the same time, student loan default rates have steadily increased over the last several decades, and “nearly 40 percent of borrowers are expected to default on their student loans by 2023.”[2] Projections like these have driven state and federal governments to be more focused than ever on collecting outstanding student loan debt. Following the lead of the federal Department of Education, some state governments have turned to solutions that exacerbate the problem. Currently, 20 states have laws on the books that allow states to deny applications for or revoke professional and occupational licensure from those who are in default on their student loan debt.[3] The policy of licensure action on those individuals in default on their student loans traces back to a 1990 document from the federal Department of Education titled “Reducing Student Loan Defaults: A Plan for Action.”[4] As the number of student loan defaults steadily increased, the Department of Education recommended (among other solutions) that states “enact legislation to deny professional licenses and state jobs to defaulters until they make adequate repayment arrangements.” Revoking or denying licenses as an incentive to pay back student loans can be self-defeating. It is much more daunting to pay back a loan if one is barred by the state from gainful employment in their field. Without a driver’s license, potential workers, college graduate or not (two-thirds of borrowers who default on student loans did not finish their degree[5]), are often lack reliable transportation to and from work, especially in areas with little to no public transit. And with little support from the state or federal governments until the loans are in repayment, these policies can force people into an unwinnable situation.

Higher social class predicts increased unethical behavior (PNAS)

Seven studies using experimental and naturalistic methods reveal that upper-class individuals behave more unethically than lower-class individuals. In studies 1 and 2, upper-class individuals were more likely to break the law while driving, relative to lower-class individuals. In follow-up laboratory studies, upper-class individuals were more likely to exhibit unethical decision-making tendencies (study 3), take valued goods from others (study 4), lie in a negotiation (study 5), cheat to increase their chances of winning a prize (study 6), and endorse unethical behavior at work (study 7) than were lower-class individuals. Mediator and moderator data demonstrated that upper-class individuals’ unethical tendencies are accounted for, in part, by their more favorable attitudes toward greed.