Economics and Martin Luther King

Due to timing and chance, the Harrisonburg street renaming debate has been even more revealing than most. In this materially rich sovereign country with its own currency, we have a system and resources that give us the ability to let all people within our borders live in dignity and security. Yet we cling to an austerity ideology and make the political choice to run our system in a way that guarantees a pool of losers and insecurity and anxiety from the bottom to the top of our society. Why? The street naming brought forward the rhetoric of these political choices and revealed the feelings at its root: pure antipathy toward our fellow human beings, at the bottom maybe fueled by a personal hurt from being forced to compete within, and having failed (or being guilty of having succeeded) within, an inhuman system of hierarchy and domination.

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was able to paint a picture of a viable alternative. By employment, we mean a place in society that a person can occupy to live in dignity and security. Unemployment and labor under adverse conditions entail violence, even terrorism, and the destruction of human life at all levels. Following are some economic ideas that the messages of Dr. King seem to affirm.

Networks of full employment

An African American Economist from the Cantrell street opening time-period and from near this region on full employment: Sadie T. M. Alexander.

Media coverage of a full employment program put forward by Sandy Darity.

Academic paper by same, with UMKC sources.

How can full employment be possible? And isn't the economy recovering?

A non-academic outline by Warren Mosler:

But the papers say the US is about to run out of money in October 2013?

This is FALSE.
The US economy is not out of the woods, but rather going through a fundamental transformation : 97 % of new jobs created are part time.

What is the alternative to full employment?

* Why pay attention to white men? They are an indicator of a breakdown in the logic of their lives, a validation of the reach of Dr. King's vision that made him such a threat to systems of hierarchy and domination. White men committing suicide are realizing something that is a daily reality for their black brothers. A leader like Dr. King had the potential to touch conscience which had the potential to establish solidarity across the color line (as well as gender and other lines of demarcating (social) 'place' and 'other') for a system based on peace, freedom, and justice rather than artificial hierarchies of supremacy.


Jim Peach and William M. Dugger: An Intellectual History of Abundance


An American world view connected to King and Dubois, likely founded on a Chinese world view: problem-solving philosophy.

An African world view: Hunger for Culture.