Danny Cardwell's picture

    The Social Silences SHHH!

     Last week I wore an Italian suit made in China. Let me say that again: I wore an Italian suit made in China. The designer's name was prominently displayed on a hanging placard attached to the left jacket sleeve, a smaller one on the vest, and a tag inside the pants. After a week with my tailor it was time to debut my newest set of threads. While I was pinning my handkerchief inside the breast pocket I noticed a made in China label. Then it hit me: the United States is powerless to affect the manufacturing decisions that allowed me to save a few hundred dollars buying this suit instead of some of the more expensive suits I passed on. In theory, we can impose tariffs or stop trade deals that have an adverse effect on American workers, but the reality is more and more companies around the globe are playing the game.


    Trade deals outside of the United States impact American consumption in ways I never thought about until I had my sartorial bubble burst. This is an aspect of globalization that I've never heard mentioned by Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders. The rhetoric Donald Trump used on the campaign trail was very powerful, but it's also powerless. How can we crack down on China without mentioning the European businesses that use cheap, often exploited, Chinese and Indian labor markets to produce some of goods they sell here? We can be as protectionist in our trade philosophies and policies as we want, but global commerce is going to happen with or without our consent. This isn't an argument for TPP or against it, but we have to be honest about the situation we're in. Conservatives worship at the alter of free market capitalism, but the truth is: America worships at the alter of free market consumption.


    Large scale manufacturing and textile jobs are gone. No one can bring them back. We have to quit letting politicians on the right and the left lie to desperate people about this fact. Wall Street and the investment class have spoken. The market feeds on escalating productivity and declining wages. No serious person believes that markets were waiting on a Trump administration to put patriotism before profits. We have to find a way to get people to take the medicine they need and not the candy they want. Economic populism that isn't grounded in economic reality does more harm than good. You can get people to pick up their pitchforks, but after they walk around aimlessly for a few days and nothing has changed all you've done is waste their time.


    If you want to see America's future all you have to do is drive through any predominantly black neighborhood. Look at who's producing the goods and providing the services. When a community or country stops producing and only consumes misery follows. Globalization has been to America what integration was to black people: a net loss. At the top some have done extraordinarily well, but for the masses the experiment has left them worse off. I recognize the "anger" many working class whites are experiencing as fear; fear related to being powerless to control your economic future. I'm not playing a linguistic game. Anger is just one of the many vehicles for fear. The truth is almost always a harder sell.


    No one wants to hear that we have to adjust to a new normal. How do you convince a Dixiecrat that globalization turned their life to crap and not Juan and Maria or Jamal and Keisha? We will always have the harder job of explaining nuance to a public that would rather hear sound bites. The middle class isn't disappearing because of women, or blacks, or immigrants. Wealthy white men willfully made decisions that have hurt the average American's ability to take care of their family. A lot of people get uncomfortable if you talk about this reality in specific terms. We're taught to speak in vague terms that don't point any fingers at those above us on the socioeconomic scale, but to my knowledge none of the economic policies that have hurt the middle class or working class whites were written by, voted on, or signed into law by poor people. I'm certain working class Americans didn't lobby congress on behalf of management and ownership.


    Since the election I've read a dozen articles by "experts" who, after the fact, have offered some rather brilliant insights into how Donald Trump won. I personally don't care about these articles. I also don't care about the articles progressives have been writing to explain how the articles and blogs they wrote in the months leading up to the election were right, but the people choose wrong. No one underestimated the "anger" in "rural" America, and we knew turnout was going to be important- in an unrelated story: water is still wet. Those articles, for the most part, don't have any power. I'm concerned with the articles suggesting the Democratic party needs to move away from issues specific to people of color; these articles have the potential to further weaken trust between blacks in the south and the whites in the north.


    Working class whites have always fared better than the majority of working people of any color. Look at how much higher black unemployment is than white unemployment. I'm not sure why some on the left are trying to make us choose between our shared economic struggles and problems specific to members of our coalition. Identity politics are the politics of people adversely affected by their identities. For the most part we would ditch these issues in lieu of justice. I die a bit when someone who hasn't worked multiple jobs making less money than their uneducated white coworkers suggest that trade will make all of our lives better. It becomes painfully obvious how much work we need to do in order to strengthen our weak alliance. In essences, the northern progressives who write these articles are ready to throw in the towel on social justice for the sake of winning the next election.


    We need to accept the fact that a majority of white America chose Trump's flash and rhetoric over any substance we thought we had; maybe we are too cerebral for our own good? I get lectured to by progressives who don't spend any time with self identified rednecks. Some of these people actually believe they know what my neighbors, with the Trump signs in their yards, want without ever talking to them. I don't know whether to chalk this up to the "elitism" that seems wedded to the academy or northern residential privilege. Trump can't make coal cheaper than natural gas, so mining jobs will continue to decline, I'm doubtful he can make any substantial changes to any of our existing trade agreements, and If he put a 'huuuge' tariff on imports he will cause more harm than good. He hasn't offered any substantive remedy to help fix our healthcare system. We know we are stuck with what we have or some lesser version of it, but many of his supporters will find out later. When they do we need to have some serious and digestible answers for them. We don't need to kick vulnerable people out of our tent to try and bring them back.






    TPP was to rebalance Asia Pacific trade after China's dominance the last 2 decades. We never made it to the nuance of that one - certainly no American wants to discuss the plight of Asian poor in an election year, and foreign policy seems to have reduced to Syria overflights = war with Russia. What else was big in your neck of the woods? Guess "new energy" didn't stick and we know folks don't like seing women wear the pants.

    PeraclesPlease: I just read your last two posts and you have been on fire. I appreciate the thought you put into your writing. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. We are in a tough spot. I think you are 100% correct: obstruction for the sake of obstruction is a losing fight. We have to find a way to reach the folks we are losing to apathy.

    You've written an extremely coherent analysis here, and you'd lose in a heartbeat if you tried to say it to the populace. How to flip all this insight on its head and package it in a way redneck America can take it and move forward?

    1 item to bear in mind is how spotty globalization is. If we discuss India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, any of the 'stans, the success stories of those doing offshore work in conputers or textiles is dwarfed bo those just hanging on. Africa? fugettaboutit, still a no-go as offshore or trade destination.

    How *do* we grow a sustainable global economy, when all the improvements are to produce more without people? It's truly faith-based to assume lost good jobs will eventually be replaced by good jobs elsewhere - believable in 1996, not 20 years later. That's why "establishment" has such a bad name, but the new gen is clueless too. At least Obama brought down joblessness, even with more McJobs. Is that as good as it gets?

    Perhaps we need our own mini-Davos.

    I agree that we need to pull together in our tent and do that in the language of shared interests and not just rely upon vague appeals to a common good, in other words, a Coalition.

    I don't think it is a problem of being too cerebral for our own good. If this election was a triumph for anti-intellectuals, ceding more ground to them will not make things better. One way to change things may be to make living in alternate histories more difficult. Trump cashed in on his version. Putting up a competing story of what might have been will not make much of a dent in those who like his story.

    But reality doesn't care much about coulda, woulda, or shoulda. This election will reverse many advances made in the last fifty years to form a society driven more by the energy of equality than the machine of privilege. The GOP has finally gained the power it claimed it needed to work its magic. Their ability to blame others for their limitations is not a god like power. It has always been bought at a price. We are in a new territory where they have bought a one way ticket this time around.

    Trump has promised a chicken in every pot (to those of whom he considers a member of the Republic). They are not all going to get one. Those are the people that need something more than a simple message to win them over.

    Great post, Danny.

    I agree with you about protectionism being useless here, when all the other nations can just trade with each other and leave us out. Globalization didn't take away jobs because Americans don't buy American. We lost jobs because other countries are selling the exports we used to export, cheaper.

    Backing out of TPP will probably just mean that China becomes more influential, more quickly, in Eastern Asia. But I've reconciled myself, almost, to the fact that Trump's presidency will strengthen China and other rival powers. Okay, I'm not reconciled to that, but I can't do anything about it.

    Danny - you ask "How can we crack down on China without mentioning the European businesses that use cheap, often exploited, Chinese and Indian labor markets to produce some of goods they sell here?"  Here are 2 answers:

    1) We apply various tariff schedules on imported goods  based on where they are actually manufactured.  Versace shoes that are mass-produced in a sweatshop in Hanoi, by sub-$1 hour workers, will face a much higher tariff than Versace shoes produced by highly-skilled and paid artisans in workshops in Milan. 

    2) We apply a sufficiently high tariff to all imported goods to ensure that the very cheapest ones will still be priced at a level that permit efficient American producers to operate at a profit.

    Both methods would lead to increased manufacturing in the U.S. since 1) Americans would see the price of domestic goods drop relative to imports and 2) American workers would see a net increase in their real income and thereby would consume more which would lead to an increase in demand.

    Dr. Cleveland writes: "I agree with you about protectionism being useless here, when all the other nations can just trade with each other and leave us out. Globalization didn't take away jobs because Americans don't buy American. We lost jobs because other countries are selling the exports we used to export, cheaper."

    It is true, to some extent, that other countries can just trade with each other and leave us out.  In fact though being left out would on balance be better for the American working-class.  It would eliminate our massive trade deficit which fuels employment overseas and underemployment here.  Many problems would ensue if America were to become an autarky but working Americans and our lower middle-class would benefit economically. 

    Moreover, it would be much tougher for other countries to leave us out than for us to leave them out.  Much of what America generates for export isn't generated elsewhere - or if it is the alternatives tend to be inferior.  Movies are made everywhere but Hollywood films still have unmatched cachet and production values.  American technology firms are the world's leaders. 

    Tariffs do increase government income and increases the amount US based corporations can charge for their items. Tariffs increase prices consumer pay for goods. Sine incomes for workers don't increase in proportion to the tariffs imposed, consumers have less disposable income. In addition, US businesses may be able to produce crap products inferior to foreign products due to the lack of competition from companies outside the US.

    This is a simplistic analysis and it is often incorrect. Hollywood films and other American media is not a high dollar export commodity. This is a myth that goes around, that the only thing America makes and exports is Hollywood films.  Yet it doesn't rank in the top 10 with any of our major trading partners. Look at the lists in the link. It would be fairly easy for other countries to get the goods we export from non US countries.

    You claim that, " Americans would see the price of domestic goods drop relative to imports." That is misleading and inaccurate. What Americans would see is a large increase in most of the consumer goods they buy. That would be the immediate result. Over time, and this might take a long time, American companies will build some domestic factories that sell those goods at that same higher price. The American consumer would see a substantial reduction in numbers of goods they could afford to buy. That lack of demand would be a disincentive to American producers investing in building factories here.

    At the same time other countries will also create tariffs, at least against American goods. That will cause American factories that produce goods for export to retrench. We'll see lay offs and an increase in unemployment.

    It's possible after years of painstaking negotiations with each individual country we want to trade with that a new balance might be achieved. By allowing certain items to be imported duty free in exchange for other items being exported duty free. But the immediate result and even for several years most Americans would be worse off with the tariffs causing higher prices in most consumer goods.

    Trump has said a sign of his success is when Apple creates a factory in America to sell IPODs. That wouldn't be a sign of success. Here's what would really happen. It's possible to create a tariff so high that Apple might decide to invest in building a factory in the US. The price of an Ipod would sky rocket.  Enough that poorer consumers would be priced out of the market. But even if Apple built a factory in America they wouldn't shut down their factories in China. Ipods are sold world wide. They would build a factory just large enough to make Ipods for America. Americans would have to buy the expensive Ipods while the rest of the world bought the cheap Ipods made in China. There would be no extra jobs in America for exported Ipods.

    That Ipod factory would be the most modern on the planet with every robotic advance technology made available. The number of jobs created would be as low as possible. The pay in the factory would be based on the size of the tariff. Given we have a minimum wage the tariff would have to be at least high enough to allow Apple to pay $7.50 an hour and also to recoup their investment in building a factory.  If the government wanted Apple to pay it's workers $15 or $20 it would have to create tariffs high enough to cover those costs. All those costs would be borne by the consumers in the ever  increasing price for an Ipod.

    This same scenario would be followed with every item that America mostly imports. A large increase in costs in consumer items. A loss of jobs in export industries. A slow and likely small increase in employment years later. With the government effectively controlling the wages paid in the new factories by adjusting the size of the tariff.

    The concern that Americans would see massive price hikes if tariffs, high enough to incentivize manufacturers to return to America, were imposed is overblown.  There are significant expenses - the biggest being greater transportation costs - that result from off-shoring.  These would be greatly reduced if we brought the trade deficit down to 0 or close to it.  In any case, we were making computers here until at least the late-2000s and Americans could afford to buy these computers in large quantities. 

    Many multinational manufacturers - like Apple - have a great deal of pricing power since they are dominant players.  They price goods for our market at a high enough level to generate sufficient revenue to cover expenses and leave them with an income if they manufactured here.  But they don't so they can pocket massive profits instead.  We know this to be true because the American operations of companies that are relocating or threatening to relocate - like Carrier and Ford - remain profitable.  It's just just not as wildly profitable for shareholders and top managers to pay American workers $20/hour plus healthcare as it is to pay Mexican laborers $5/hour, Chinese workers $1-$2/hour, or Vietnamese workers less than $1/hour. 

    It would not take companies that long to relocate here.  We saw our once mighty domestic manufacturing base hollowed out in less than 25 years.  The real rush for the borders began in the early-2000s.  We can absolutely turn this around.  But yes for a time, prices of many imported goods would rise due to the imposition of tariffs.  The collected revenues, however, would serve as part of the tax base and therefore allow for a cut in taxes - hopefully on low-income earners.  In fact, the nation as a whole would win because the tariffs would force manufacturers to cut their profit margins slightly to offset the reduction in demand caused by the higher price at the cash register.  In the end the American consumer would be getting back nearly the entirety of the tariffs they pay through tax reduction but would see prices rise less than the amount of the tariff.

    The argument that manufacturers will raise prices by a greater amount than the resulting increases in labor costs if they return to the U.S. is incorrect.  An increase in the cost of any one input does not lead to an equally sizable increase in the cost of the finished product.  Producers reduce their profit margin somewhat to account for reduced demand as pointed out earlier.  Also, transportation costs and other expenses associated with importing goods will be reduced so TCO will not rise by an amount equal to 100% of the increase in labor costs.

    Regarding concerns about mechanization and robotization, these are real.  American workers have been hit by a double-whammy off-shoring coupled with greater efficiencies at home.  Obviously, at a time when jobs are going to be lost based on robotization and mechanization, the last thing we should be doing is incentivizing companies to relocate operations overseas.

    Since the early-1800s or even before, mechanization has led to redundancy and high unemployment in certain industries - hence the Luddites.  In the end, a better standard of living for all resulted but only when governments imposed progressive tax policies, ended child labor, stopped slavery, enacted minimum wage laws, passed a 40-hour work week, etc.  This is the proper response to redundancy caused by technological advances.  Intelligent use of tax policy to incentivize companies not to discharge workers but to keep them on until retirement age, an earlier retirement age, shorter work weeks.  These are all ways to keep employment high when the total number of hours needed by employers may be stagnant or dropping.

    I ask those who dispute this analysis, what do you propose instead to bring good decent-paying jobs back to America and stanch the outflow of American currency?

    Can you point to a situation where raising tariffs had the beneficial results you describe over the long term?

    In the mid-1800s, the South opposed tariffs because it had the cheapest workforce in the world.  What southern planters feared more than anything else, besides slave revolts and emancipation, was tariffs being enacted by governments trying to protect their agricultural industries and workers from being undercut by slave-produced rice, tobacco, and cotton.  The North supported tariffs b/c northern workers were sometimes/often better-paid than their counterparts in other countries.  Thus, manufactured goods could sometimes be produced more cheaply overseas.  The tariffs that protected Northern industry in the 1800s is one, certainly not the only, reason the American economy exploded after the Civil War.

    Tariffs benefit countries with higher labor costs but also those with less efficient industries.  I think we can all agree that the wages paid workers overseas in most of Latin America and southeast Asia - could not sustain an American family.  To prevent corporations from abandoning $20/hour employees in favor of $1/hour piece workers, tariffs, or some other former of trade protection, are essential.   When competing with countries where the standard of living is on a par with ours, tariffs are far less necessary.  Where we have a competitive advantage, they will cost us jobs if/when countries retaliate.

    Tariffs can be a problem to the extent they protect ossified domestic oligopolies like the big three automakers in the 1960s-70s or big sugar (as Mike describes it) in the early 1900s.  This is where a robust antitrust division of the Justice Department must play its part.  To the extent companies are not innovating because they face little or no domestic competition, the solution is to break them up into competitors not to introduce foreign competition that has enormous cost advantages due to cheap labor and less, little, or no regulation.

    Mike points out that in the early 1900s, liberals opposed tariffs and conservatives supported them.  When the Smoot-Hawley tariffs were enacted in 1930 by Republicans in an ill-fated attempt to stimulate American industry, the U.S. was a net exporter.  Retaliation by our trading partners thus led to a net loss of jobs since more workers in export-producing firms lost jobs than were hired by firms who were manufacturing to replace now more expensive imports.

    While conservatives may have been more protectionist in the early part of the last century, from the 1930s through the 70s, there was a general consensus that rigid ideological formulations were to be avoided when making economic policies.  Instead all the tools in the toolbox should be considered when confronting changing economic circumstances.  Thus, Eisenhower built the interstate highways, Kennedy lowered the top marginal tax rate, and Nixon imposed price controls.

    Reagan was the first true free marketer in the White House since Hoover.  He supported lifting government fetters, including tariffs, off big business whenever and wherever possible.  Bill Clinton continued this trend in the teeth of opposition from organized labor.

    Finally, PP notes that despite Obama's free-trading ways, we saw decreasing budget deficits during his administration.  While true and somewhat relevant, the more important figure (when considering trade policy) is the trade deficit which remains at stubbornly high levels despite the fact that we are now (I believe) a net energy exporter.


    U.S. Balance of Trade


    Ill try to plow through this in the evening.

    Oh God, no one cares about the trade deficit. They care about jobs, wages, security, something tangible.
    "Trade deficit" is a wonk term. As Cheney said, "deficits don't matter"

    Just to correct your history, Hal, the South's opposition to tariffs had little to do with wages. Tariffs were much higher for manufactured goods than raw materials. Southern states opposed high tariffs (before and after the Civil War) because their industries were primarily agricultural. So Southerners got screwed--higher prices for manufactured goods from the north without much benefit for their own industries.

    Anti-trust action won't solve the problems of tariffs. You mention the Big 3 auto manufacturers. Well, there were 3 of them, so in theory, there was competition, enough to satisfy the Justice Dept. But they still stagnated.

    Stagnation isn't the biggest problem though. It's corruption. As I mentioned to Peter, tariffs are honeypots for corporations seeking to increase profits. Which industries do you think Congress will protect? Small manufacturers in the heartland? No way. It will be the industries with the greatest clout in Washington, as it was since the dawn of the Republic.

    And most consumer PC & laptop production is done in China, only a large amount of business PCs are *assembled* in the US, but even there, the components are made in China.

    In the 1900s, the campaign to reduce tariffs was a huge progressive issue--much bigger than income taxes or corporate regulations or labor laws or women's suffrage or anything we now associate with progressivism. Conservatives loved tariffs; the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was created to protect tariffs from progressive reformers.

    Why was that?

    Because tariffs are good for corporations and bad for small business and consumers. Corporations spent heavily to lobby senators and congressmen to design tariffs that benefited their businesses. Industry insiders often wrote the tariff bills themselves.

    Small businesses couldn't afford to lobby the federal government, and the tariff bills often worked against them. For example, the Sugar Trust paid off senators to increase the tariff on partially processed sugar in order to put the small guys who lacked technology to process raw sugars out of business. As a result, tariffs tended to encourage mergers and reduce competition.

    As a result, the big trusts could raise prices without risk from competition--foreign or domestic. Consumers paid through the nose, which particularly hurt poor people with limited disposable income. Corporations made out like bandits.

    In short, modern-day progressives should watch out what they wish for.

    It might be more accurate to describe Trump's plan as being directed punative levys on US corporations that offshore jobs. The old style tarriffs you describe still exist, the tarriff on Brazilian ethanol to protect the less efficent  US corn ethanol industry is an example.

    I don't think anyone in the new administration has been talking about a new tarriff regime in fact Trump mentioned new trade agreements after he kills the TPP.

    I'm not sure it's possible to describe Trump's plan accurately, since we don't really know what he's planning.

    In theory, a just, all-powerful philosopher-king could use tariffs and punitive levies to protect patriotic American corporations from unfair international competition. But real-life politicians are very, very fallible. Since the dawn of the Republic, senators and congresspeople have horse-traded with one another to protect the interests of favored industries. The Brazilian ethanol tariff you mentioned expired in 2012, but yes, it was an excellent example of this. Any government plan that affects the profits of big corporations is a honey-trap for crony capitalism. 

    So no matter how pure the motives of Mr. Trump (and we have plenty of reason to be skeptical), any tariff or levy scheme will eventually fall prey to special interests who will manipulate the scheme to maximize profit.


    There is a current tariff on Brazilian ethanol?

    You really believe Trump will kill the TPP, like when he drained the swamp of lobbyists and wall streeters!  Awesome. 

    Funny, but I thought improving job rate and wages and lowering the deficit is what Obama's been doing. If that's so important, wonder why we voted down his 3rd term. Of course takes quite low unemployment for wages to start rising, especially in a scared conservative market.

    I understand the need for some people to diminish whatever Trump may do but Danny's foolish cnsumer choice has little relation to killing the TPP, renegotating NAFTA and forcing US corporations to return high paying jobs to the working class. Right now the Canadian pipeline company that wasn't allowed to build the tarsands pipeline is suing the USG for $15 billion under provisions of Clinton's NAFTA and the TPP was described as NAFTA on steroids.

    Trump's killing the TPP will at least delay the tightening of the grip of the Vampire Squid on the US and other affected countries and that is why most of that class were openly supporting Clinton. Obama was going to lame duckwalk the TPP through congress with republican support  until Trump won and brought his party elite to heel without even appearing to weild power.

    The only tarrif Trump has announced is a 35% levy on products produced by US corporations who offshored production displacing US workers. These are high paying jobs and confronting the planned Ford move to Mexico will be the first test of this agenda. There are other high wage manufacturers who will be targeted such as Caterpillar. There isn't much to be gained by trying to return low wage assembly jobs or producing cheap consumer junk, leave that to the Chinese.


    Ford was keeping the high paying jobs in the United States. The plant in Mexico was for cheaper cars. The cheaper cars were going to Mexico where they would be built by cheaper labor. 


    Trump's tariff threat was all hat and no cattle.


    Your sources seem to be confusing you which may be their intent, National Propaganda Radio should be tuned out.

    Ford workers in the US earn about $60 per hour in wages and benefits no matter what vehicle they build or its value. Mexican Ford workers earn about $8 per hour in wages and benefits so the Ford move to Mexico is designed to increase their already substantial profits by cutting labor costs. Ford claims this won't cost jobs in the US but that is just a lie. Ford can build all the cars it wants to in Mexico and sell them anywhere in the world except the US without Trump or the UAW making a fuss although it would be better for the country if they built more vehicles here.

    I provide sources so that there can be open debate, rather than stating opinion without supportive data in a cowardly fashion. Trump said that Ford was moving a plant to Mexico. He said that he prevented the move. That was a lie. Ford was never moving the US plant. A plant is going to be built in Mexico. You accepted Trump's lie as truth.

    Ford is moving cheap, small car production overseas where there is cheaper labor. Ford says it plans to open two new facilities in Dearborn, creating more US jobs. 


    We shall see if this occurs,

    What we can say is that Trump did not prevent the building of a Ford plant in Mexico.

    US jobs at Ford increased 15% since 2008.


    " integration was to black people: a net loss. At the top some have done extraordinarily well, but for the masses the experiment has left them worse off. "

    This is an interesting observation.  Could you expand on it, please?

    I went back up and I couldn't figure out to whom your question is addressed. 

    The quote was from Danny Cardwell's essay that began this thread, and the question was addressed to him.

    You flit in and out with comments. But we all know your candidate, the president-elect is a racist. You never address that issue. 

    This reminds me of the time Lurker was tallying how many Syrians had been killed, using numbers from some right wing fake news site, and continued on to make it a partisan attack on Obama 'weakness'.

    My comment then was it's just partisan baiting, and I was pretty sure he could care less.

    NCD and rmrd, please refrain from personal attacks and focus on the topic rather than your fellow bloggers' alleged political allegiances. Thank you.

    Assimilation and gaining prominence in society caused a lot of really good people to forgo building in their own community. Before the experiment we call Integration black dollars circulated in the community before they left. For people at the top integration wirked, but it destroyed a lot of people trying to assimilate into a society that viewed them as other.

    Black communities were targeted for their independence. There were attacks on independent black communities in Rosewood, Florida, Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Wilmington, North Carolina. Black assimilation is difficult, but being financially independent was not acceptable either.

    Maggie Anderson wrote of her family's effort to buy only from black vendors over the course of a year in "Our Black Year: One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy".


    Why didn't it work that way for the Jews or the Italians?

    Mr. Cardwell,

    Are you proposing an alternate history where separate but equal policies somehow strengthened certain communities enough to gain more benefits for black people than the steps taken to permit greater access to higher education and equal opportunity as a matter of the fair application of law that has led to greater diversity in the workplace throughout the nation?

    Integration came with rules. The idea of an acceptable way to be black in public is one of the most insidious and psychologically challenging. While African Americans were fighting for social advancement, many other minority groups sat on the sidelines. The moment affirmative action was passed the minority groups who sat out the fight were, in many cases placed at the front of the line. Black people had more economic power when we were building our own institutions instead of joining institutions in a subservient role. 

    For those at the top of the corporate ladDer things are fine, but that's not the reality for a majority of blacks in America. 

    I understand how changes in status put the onus on black communities and persons to negotiate or not the work of integration. But I do not have a clear view of the alternative path you think could have been taken.

    If that alternative was a path not chosen, maybe it is vital to understand that idea at this point in time when the country has elected to run backwards for a spell.

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