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The Soft Bigotry of Low Regulation: Race and Deregulation since 1980

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Abstract:

THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW REGULATION excavates the link among race, deregulation, consumer finance, and wealth disparity. For more than a generation, “accountability creep” has been a hallmark of the personal experience in post-civil rights America—from calls for standardized testing in education and welfare-to-work programs to inconsistent drug laws and penalties, federalization of three strikes laws putting more cops on the beat and the concomitant rise of the prison industrial complex in the criminal justice system. Regulating personal behavior has been especially so in the lives of people of color. Yet in every aspect of consumer finance, the private sector has lobbied for, and generally been rewarded with, reduced oversight. In other words, the erection of the regulatory state for individuals has occurred while the regulatory bar was being lowered for financial institutions—as neoliberals explain away the nation’s declining economic achievement internationally to having too high expectations of regulatory standards at home.

Foregrounding the death of standards in consumer financial protection policies, my paper will explore the impact of consumer financial deregulation since 1980 in housing, transportation, student financial aid, and employment on the sharp increase in racial and gender inequality in the United States beginning in the 1970s, what policy makers have done to aggravate and remedy this disparity, and what has proven to be the impact of this gap. The paper closes by considering the geo-political implications of the erosion of consumer financial protections, including its sudden emergence as recruiting fodder for Osama Bin Laden. THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW REGULATION accomplishes the above by drawing upon the interdisciplinary insights of economists, sociologists, urban policy scholars, and legal theorists. In these ways, my paper advances the 2010 ASALH convention theme of interrogating “the recent changes in the global economy [by] offering comparative and/or interdisciplinary analyses of the impact of the larger political economy on African American economic life in the past and currently.”

Title: The Soft Bigotry of Low Regulation: Race and Deregulation since 1980
Author: Devin Fergus
Affiliation: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars / Hunter College, CUNY
E-mail: devin.fergus@wilsoncenter.org / fergus.devin@gmail.com
Phone: 202.691-5378 / 615.414.7638
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Association:
Name: 95th Annual Convention
URL:
http://www.asalh.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435291_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Fergus, Devin. "The Soft Bigotry of Low Regulation: Race and Deregulation since 1980" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina, Sep 29, 2010 <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435291_index.html>

APA Citation:

Fergus, D. , 2010-09-29 "The Soft Bigotry of Low Regulation: Race and Deregulation since 1980" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 95th Annual Convention, Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, North Carolina <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p435291_index.html

Publication Type: Individual Paper
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW REGULATION excavates the link among race, deregulation, consumer finance, and wealth disparity. For more than a generation, “accountability creep” has been a hallmark of the personal experience in post-civil rights America—from calls for standardized testing in education and welfare-to-work programs to inconsistent drug laws and penalties, federalization of three strikes laws putting more cops on the beat and the concomitant rise of the prison industrial complex in the criminal justice system. Regulating personal behavior has been especially so in the lives of people of color. Yet in every aspect of consumer finance, the private sector has lobbied for, and generally been rewarded with, reduced oversight. In other words, the erection of the regulatory state for individuals has occurred while the regulatory bar was being lowered for financial institutions—as neoliberals explain away the nation’s declining economic achievement internationally to having too high expectations of regulatory standards at home.

Foregrounding the death of standards in consumer financial protection policies, my paper will explore the impact of consumer financial deregulation since 1980 in housing, transportation, student financial aid, and employment on the sharp increase in racial and gender inequality in the United States beginning in the 1970s, what policy makers have done to aggravate and remedy this disparity, and what has proven to be the impact of this gap. The paper closes by considering the geo-political implications of the erosion of consumer financial protections, including its sudden emergence as recruiting fodder for Osama Bin Laden. THE SOFT BIGOTRY OF LOW REGULATION accomplishes the above by drawing upon the interdisciplinary insights of economists, sociologists, urban policy scholars, and legal theorists. In these ways, my paper advances the 2010 ASALH convention theme of interrogating “the recent changes in the global economy [by] offering comparative and/or interdisciplinary analyses of the impact of the larger political economy on African American economic life in the past and currently.”

Title: The Soft Bigotry of Low Regulation: Race and Deregulation since 1980
Author: Devin Fergus
Affiliation: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars / Hunter College, CUNY
E-mail: devin.fergus@wilsoncenter.org / fergus.devin@gmail.com
Phone: 202.691-5378 / 615.414.7638


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