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Author Topic: Reparations?  (Read 9808 times)

philibusters

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2007, 01:21:29 AM »
Not sure what you are confused by, if was my post in response to you, then the main point, was that pinpointing the values to base a redistrubution of resources on is very hard, and even if you could achieve that, it would be very hard to have mechanisms to do the actual redistributing.
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Festus

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #31 on: March 08, 2007, 01:57:02 PM »
Reparations cannot be contemplated without first assesing two things.  First who is the responsible party or parties, and secondly what is the amount of damages.

Firat the responsible party - African slaves came from Africa, where they were caught and sold by Africans.  The initial and de-facto responsible party becomes the Africans who caught them and sold them into slavery.  Therefore, the decendents of those persons having benefited from their estates should be the responsible party.

Second the amount of damages. - We must compute the difference in economic status of the decendeants of those original slaves. I.E. how much better or worse off are they than they would be if they had been left alone and never aprehended and sold into slavery.  Using rough numbers, the Per Capita GDP of the US is $43,500 for 2006.  The per capita GDP for the African continent was $1,968 for 2003.  PLease excuse the disparity in years, but it was the quickest data I could get my hands on. 

Based on the above facts, I see a reasonable amount of damages computed at the difference of the 2 GDP's assesed for every year of the person's life shold be paid be the decendents of the original slaves to the decendants of their original captors as payment for their unexpected and wholly unearned economic benefit from their residence in the US.  IF this was deemed unacceptable, any person so choosing could be repatriated to their ancestors country of origin after they had paid in to the fund an appropriate amount to account for the superior education, health care, nutrition, and freedom from persecution that they have enjoyed in the US that they would not have enjoyed in their ancestor's country of origin.

As ridiculous as this sounds, it is no more ridiculous than the idea that people who have never owned a slave should pay reparations to people who have never been one. Notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of the families in the US in 1860 did not own slaves, and that fact that the vast majority of those who did were economically ruined during the reconstruction era.  In effect the vast majority of the treasure acumulated by most of the slave owners has been redistributed already by the the government which freed those slaves.

I think the average african slave was probably much worse off than his captor, but the average descendant of that slave is much better off than the average descendant of his captor.  But if you're not happy with your position here in the US, feel free to go to Africa, forget how to read, get AIDS, and watch your family get chopped to pieces with a machete in some racial dispute in one of the most racially violent countries in the world.

I really wish that some people who wine about how their great-great-great-grandaddy was a slave could go to Africa and see the misery they would be living in if he hadn't been.  Slavery was (and is) a horrible crime against nature.  There is no excuse for what was done, but it must be remebered who it was that did it, and it must be acknowledged that at least in the case of the slaves brought ot the United States, their descendants are infinitely better off than they would have been otherwise.

Some folks just don't know how good they've got it.

vidhartha

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #32 on: March 08, 2007, 02:56:47 PM »
Reparations cannot be contemplated without first assesing two things.  First who is the responsible party or parties, and secondly what is the amount of damages.

Firat the responsible party - African slaves came from Africa, where they were caught and sold by Africans.  The initial and de-facto responsible party becomes the Africans who caught them and sold them into slavery.  Therefore, the decendents of those persons having benefited from their estates should be the responsible party.

Second the amount of damages. - We must compute the difference in economic status of the decendeants of those original slaves. I.E. how much better or worse off are they than they would be if they had been left alone and never aprehended and sold into slavery.  Using rough numbers, the Per Capita GDP of the US is $43,500 for 2006.  The per capita GDP for the African continent was $1,968 for 2003.  PLease excuse the disparity in years, but it was the quickest data I could get my hands on. 

Based on the above facts, I see a reasonable amount of damages computed at the difference of the 2 GDP's assesed for every year of the person's life shold be paid be the decendents of the original slaves to the decendants of their original captors as payment for their unexpected and wholly unearned economic benefit from their residence in the US.  IF this was deemed unacceptable, any person so choosing could be repatriated to their ancestors country of origin after they had paid in to the fund an appropriate amount to account for the superior education, health care, nutrition, and freedom from persecution that they have enjoyed in the US that they would not have enjoyed in their ancestor's country of origin.

As ridiculous as this sounds, it is no more ridiculous than the idea that people who have never owned a slave should pay reparations to people who have never been one. Notwithstanding the fact that the vast majority of the families in the US in 1860 did not own slaves, and that fact that the vast majority of those who did were economically ruined during the reconstruction era.  In effect the vast majority of the treasure acumulated by most of the slave owners has been redistributed already by the the government which freed those slaves.

I think the average african slave was probably much worse off than his captor, but the average descendant of that slave is much better off than the average descendant of his captor.  But if you're not happy with your position here in the US, feel free to go to Africa, forget how to read, get AIDS, and watch your family get chopped to pieces with a machete in some racial dispute in one of the most racially violent countries in the world.

I really wish that some people who wine about how their great-great-great-grandaddy was a slave could go to Africa and see the misery they would be living in if he hadn't been.  Slavery was (and is) a horrible crime against nature.  There is no excuse for what was done, but it must be remebered who it was that did it, and it must be acknowledged that at least in the case of the slaves brought ot the United States, their descendants are infinitely better off than they would have been otherwise.

Some folks just don't know how good they've got it.

this is all based on the fact that things would be the same now in Africa if we hadn't taken 2 million of their population right?  thats one BIG assumption...
UMich c/o 2012

Festus

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #33 on: March 09, 2007, 11:05:23 AM »
True,  That doesn't take into account the difference that 2 million extra mouths would have made in the various famines, or the strain that two million more people would have put on their oh so robust health care infrastructure.  I'm sure that two million more able bodied men wouldn't have effected the HIV situation either.  Of course adding two million more able bodied men to the losing side wouldn't prolong the inter tribal warfare that resulted in most of the captives that were sold into slavery. 

Yeah,  You really got me on that one.

philibusters

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2007, 09:01:18 PM »
Actually the standard of living in a lot of parts of Africa was higher before contact with Europeans than now.  A few reasons:

1.  Population was low, new technology allowed and gave incentives to have more babies than social systems would like.

2.  THE HUGE ONE- Politics and power were fairly stable before European contact, perfectly stable of course not, but fairly stable.  Almost all the famines you see today take place in countries with civil wars, Sudan and Somalia for example are the two recent biggies and both famines are attributeable almost solely to civil wars, rainfall was normal for both those countries, however, civil war involves huge armies, doing nothing productive who live off of raiding and pillaging others, it means abducting boys to become soliders and women getting raped, it means boys go off to war and their labor is lost, it means there is no incentive to plant crops cause if you have any success soldiers will come and take away your food, its better to just get in some doses from western huminiatrian organizations cause its harder to be robbed if you can quickly dispose of valuables (eating it).  Why is the political situation so abysmal, probably dates back to 50 years ago, when Europeans pretty much as a whole cut their loses in Africa and ran.  Economic systems had changed, colonies drained more than they gave, and it would be much more effective to free trade with Africa than to have to administer and deal with problems in Africa which is expensive.  To be honest, Europeans, the little they were willing to do to work with Africans to make the transition smooth, Africans wanted independence now, once the fever got a hold of them they didn't want anything to do with Europeans and pushed what little help Europeans were willing to give away (which in hindsight probably was a mistake).  And what you got were political voids, power voids, and what has happened is the predictable free for all, you might get a good regime, following by a bad regime, there were no political or social institutions to temper the regimes (which may mean tempering good regimes, but the all key is that institutions such as in the U.S. also temper bad regimes) and Africa as is was the result... a continent that despite being in the 21st century probably has a lower standard of living than they did 600 years ago.

Time stabilizes power voids, given time, new institutions will develop  (the pre-European institutions were destroyed-Think of the book by Achebe Things Fall Apart, assigned in lots of high schools and colleges were an African village is torn apart from European contact and traditions, cultures, and institutions were destroyed), the people who exercise power will be tempered in how they act by culture and institutions, and with stability they will eventually compete on an equal basis with the rest of the world and all the crap about African Americans being better off than Africans will sound silly.
2008 graduate of William and Mary Law School

attic4fp

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2007, 09:21:00 PM »
I'd like to get back to the original questions.  My answer to it is:

No, not in and of itself.  But it's part of the greater process by which the movement for reperations may be derailed, further marginalzied, etc.

I think one obstacle to the call for reperations is the rise of some percentage of the African-American population into the Upper-Middle Professional classes and especially into positions of mainstream political power.  The call for reperations (putting aside, for the moment, the debate over whether that call is just) is destablizing.  How could it not be? It is socially destablizing to whites because it makes them feel guilty and demands that they change the status quo.  If seriously considered or implemented, such a massive transfer of wealth would be economically and poltically destablizing (again, for the moment I won't address whether or not that is good).

The more African-Americans end up in positions of power (politics, the professions, the upper-middle class in general), the greater incentive some African-American leaders (now in main-stream, white-sanctioned positions of power) have to eschew such destablizing rehtoric/policy proposals.

When the status-quo is good to you, you're gonna be good to the status-quo.  Thus, the better things get for even a small portion of the African-American community, the less we'll see demands for reperations made by powerful black leaders on behalf of the entire community.

So, to answer the question, I think AA facilitates a process that leads the black community (as represented by its "mainstream" leaders) to stop calling for reperations.

Oh, and God bless Thaddeus Stevens.  That man was a wonderful American.

attic4fp

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #36 on: March 31, 2007, 09:25:00 PM »
For those who write off reparations as a ridiculous suggestion, how would you answer the following question:

In 1944, Congress passed a bill giving $100,000 to your grandmother as an award for being wonderful.  FDR vetoed it, but it passed over his veto because everyone loved your grandmother so much.  Then the local government officials in charge of paying your grandmother refused to do so.  FDR and later Truman, who were against the gift in the first place, didn't force them to do so.
Now, it's 2007
Does the government:

A) not owe your grandmother or her family any money?
B) owe your grandmother or her family money?

philibusters

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2007, 09:40:19 PM »
For those who write off reparations as a ridiculous suggestion, how would you answer the following question:

In 1944, Congress passed a bill giving $100,000 to your grandmother as an award for being wonderful.  FDR vetoed it, but it passed over his veto because everyone loved your grandmother so much.  Then the local government officials in charge of paying your grandmother refused to do so.  FDR and later Truman, who were against the gift in the first place, didn't force them to do so.
Now, it's 2007
Does the government:

A) not owe your grandmother or her family any money?
B) owe your grandmother or her family money?

That hypo loses its effect cause it sounds fake, maybe add a couple facts, like they owe her 100,000 dollars because they seized a family estate and home to build a dam, but never paid the money.  The damn is still in use, your grandmother never got any money and to complicate things and make the analogy more similar, your grandmother has since died, your family relocated, and you are now 35 with a wife and kids.  And to make the analogy even more similar to reparations the 100 gran would have to be split with 22 other people, so really you'd get 4,900. 

That might be similar to reparations, 5 gran is a lot of money and people will say and complain and argue for it, but they probably won't do too much, after all its only 5 gran and is it worth disrupting your life with your wife and kids (you are middle class too, so you don't absolutley need the money) for 5 gran.
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attic4fp

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #38 on: April 01, 2007, 02:04:09 AM »
absolutely. it is certainly more complicated. your analogy may be closer to the true situation.  i'm not necesarily suggesting reperations are a wonderful idea, either.  just a hypothetical for those (incl some posters in this thread) who view reperations as a crazy, extremist idea unworthy of serious contemplation.  i was trying to keep it simple.

LegalMatters

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Re: Reparations?
« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2007, 11:24:09 AM »
I'll find the information and post it here but I distinctly recall the Israeli government sued the Egyptian government for reparations of slavery (provable beyond the Bible) from hundreds of years ago. The lawsuit was either thrown out or the Israelis lost, I can't remember which, exactly.

I'm not a 1L yet but I can see the logistical nightmare of reparations. There's the aspect of paying reparations to African-Americans living in the United States but what about their now distant families in African nations who lost those family members? Wouldn't they also have a legal claim for reparations for the loss of a provider?