Published in Nov 2017

Capitalism has always required a highly unequal social order

Capitalism has always required a highly unequal social order. Historically, it’s been a lot messier preserving that. From the very hands-on beginnings of stealing black people from Africa and shackling them in chains to compel their free labor, to Jim Crow and the slightly more remotely-operated and “sophisticated” engineering of black disadvantage via redlining, the elites have consistently had to intercede and tweak the system as black people fought for and won modest, incremental gains toward some access to stability. And although policy now has a sheen of being not explicitly discriminatory, each permutation of the social order since the plantation has proved over and over again one very salient thing: an essential feature of the social order is a permanent underclass. There must be people at the very bottom of society for capitalism to maximally function.


By Yvette Carnell